The old-fashioned telephone poles and power lines are crisscrossing the landscape, but they are arrested in their headlong racing. They even seem to be recoiling at the midsection as they are caught and folded into the square shape and hashtag name of an Instagram image.
An old lady’s New York been-there-seen-all-that face well remembers the urban nightmare of Bryant Park in Manhattan’s midtown, where needles and drug dealers were once more numerous than the current topiary shrubs and fancy Fermob bistro chairs. Onto one of them she now hoists her impressively weary legs.
Catching us humans and the environment we inhabit in the In-Between-Moment appears to be the thematic heart of the new work of both photographer Hank Paper and print and collage maker Liz Antle-O’Donnell.
Their shows, respectively titled “Hello, I Must Be Going: American Pastoral” and “Momentary Landscapes,” just opened at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville. The exhibition runs through July 5.
At Sunday afternoon’s opening reception Paper described himself as primarily a “street shooter,” a photographer interested in capturing candid moments. His second love is landscape.
“This time I combined them,” he said.
Paper’s prints, rectangular and brightly lit, seem to have arrived on the walls like shiny bright postcards.
Their exceptionally intense and almost clinical light belies Paper’s intention that many of the images capture liminal moments. “The Gift” (above) could be a protestor handing off an orange to the gas-masked cop, or some kind of peace offering.
Paper described this image as one of his favorites, as it features much of visual interest, like the colorful clothes line that bifurcates the surface of the composition. What pleases Paper most, however, is the girl to the back of the image, caught in between two doors of a barn and running. Where is she going? And what is she doing? Is it innocence or innocence’s opposite at play? Your interpretation is as good as his own, Paper said.
Antle-O’Donnell’s work depicts urban and natural environments in what she describes as “a kind of harmonious struggle.” She likes the sculptural aspect of her work, working on found glass panes, or taking pieces of sycamore bark, glueing them on a linoleum block, and then attaching to it, for example, an image of a telephone pole.
In both their offerings, the artists mysteriously note the changing world, in which threat is muted and no one and nothing appears to be paying a price for the inevitable.