Karen Peterson’s photo montage “Running Through Dream” is drenched in memory. And yet, it is a fresh and quiet. Peterson has portrayed a black dog running through a sunlit forest. To achieve the dreamlike quality, Peterson has employed blur for both subject and background. The technique suggests sun filtering through trees and a joyous animal on an afternoon romp. But there’s more to this image than that simple description.
The mixed-media work has an added layer, another image that is hand-stitched and blurs in turn with the background. Something about it made me stop and quietly contemplate the beauty of what the photographer seemed to create – a reverie.
No wonder juror Margy Dudley awarded the photograph Best of Show. It expresses the essence of what photography can do – capture a moment in time, or in this case, a memory. Peterson’s well-written statement supports the elegiac quality of her image.
“Traditions” is the title of the DAC’s now annual exhibition of photography. Because of juror’s preferences, it’s different each year. Dudley is an accomplished photographer who often portrays a surreal vision of the world. So, it’s no wonder that in addition to spectacular conventional landscapes, portraits and still-life photographs, Dudley has included forays into visual imagination – like Peterson’s dog or her two other submissions: “A Conversation between Green and Yellow” and “The Mouse and the Protea.”
Peterson’s interest in the tradition of still life reflects photography’s ability to capture transience. And the most interesting works in the exhibit exude this quality.
Others that invite quiet contemplation include: Grace Turman Davien’s mysterious “Family Secrets,” Doug Gonzalez’s exquisite black-and-white print “A Palpable Dream,” Lisa Mackey’s disturbing “Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic,” Carol Schmudde’s “found poems” and Gerald Wells’ boldly-imagined, socially-savvy, computer-driven fantasies.
The exhibit has 71 works, runs through March 31 and should not be missed.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.