phainomena: James DuSel at Minas Gallery on March 12

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phainomena: James DuSel
March 12 – May 29, 2011
Reception: Saturday, March 12, 6 – 9 pm
Gallery hours 11 – 6. Closed Tuesdays

Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes it visible. – Paul Klee

For most of us, nothing is so easy as seeing, and yet we do it so infrequently. We tend to go about our daily business blindered like draft horses by our thoughts, concerns, hopes and fears, rarely seeing the world around us. Photography can remove those blinders, helping us to see with fresh eyes, like children seeing the world for the first time.

In today’s digital world, George Eastman’s slogan, “You push the button, we do the rest”, is more true than ever. The very ease of it all lulls us into a complacency that hinders true seeing. That high-technology engendered complacency imposes yet another set of blinders.

I find that making photography more difficult makes seeing easier. Using a Leica, Rolleiflex, and a Linhof from the early 1930s, along with darkroom procedures of the same vintage, makes me more alive to hidden geometries, the curve of a shadow, the intensity of light. Even my BEWI exposure meter, manufactured in 1931, demands that I fully engage myself in the process; it uses my eye to measure the light, not a photocell. Thus I become part of my equipment, and my equipment becomes part of me.

As the film maker Dziga Vertov said, “I am kino-eye, I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, show you the world as only I can see it”.

I become perhaps more part of my pictures than I would wish to be. My successes are more mine, but my failures are more mine, also.

About the Gallery: Minás Gallery opened in 1992. It is one of just a few Baltimore galleries specializing in solo exhibitions. In addition to fine art, the gallery also presents readings and performances. It hosts the longest ongoing series of poetry readings in Baltimore. The New York Times called the gallery & boutique the go-to place for “vintage wear, poetry readings and Baltimore based artists.”

815 W. 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

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