By Eileen Persike
There’s more than one way to view art.
“There is a visual impact and you see it and, wow,” ArtStart Program Director Laura Ehmann explained. “And there’s the more subtle; this is a more subtle exhibition but the context of it is really interesting.”
In Light We Trust, is the name of the exhibit which runs through May 28, and it features alternative process photography by four Wisconsin photographers. Mostly using alternatives to digital photography, the photographs give artistic examples of how analog photography can be used today.
“We can barely remember pre-digital, and some of these processes were invented in 1842.” -Laura Ehmann
“We can barely remember pre-digital, and some of these processes were invented in 1842,” Ehmann said. “I always think of the civil war when photography really came into its own with those images you can’t forget. Some of these techniques were used even before that time.”
Each of the processes the photographers used is explained in the galleries. One of the larger and more colorful displays demonstrates cyanotypes, most recognizable in the form of blueprints. This process, according to information provided by Ehmann, was first devised by Sir John Herschel in 1842 when he discovered that ferric (iron) salts could be made to react to light and when combined with other salts, create a blue-and-white image. Photographer Vicki Reed’s What We Leave Behind series uses this process to tell a story of her aging parents, and includes a life size portrait of them “taken” on light sensitive fabric.
Cameraless photography and photograms, lumen prints, pinhole photography and cliché verre are just some of the methods employed by the four photographers’ works on display. Along with artist Vicki Reed, the Wisconsin artists are F. Martin Morante, who stated “My photography is how I would describe the world if I had to write about it.” For Carissa Heinrichs, alternative photography “offers nostalgic qualities while pushing the boundaries with modern subject matter.” Hal Rammel’s work has “centered on combining hand-painted negatives (cliché verre), multiple exposures and pinhole photography.”
“These photographs require some time to look at and think about,” Ehmann commented. “We’re not just art; education is a big part of what we do here.”
The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit artstartrhinelander.org for more information.