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Inspired by natural beauty

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Jeff Krolick's "Emigrant Lake 2-5-05 9" is one of the 22 images depicting the surreal beauty of the site in Oregon.

Staff Writer
January 18, 2006

“Emigrant Lake: Photographs by Jeff Krolick”
Jeff Krolick
Through Feb. 4
Sliver Eye Center for Photography
1015 E. Carson St.
South Side
(412) 431-1810

After a hiatus for renovations, the Silver Eye Center for Photography has reopened with new and absorbing perspectives in photography.

The gallery opened its first exhibition since renovations finished with “Emigrant Lake: Photographs by Jeff Krolick.” The exhibit, which runs though Feb. 4, is a showcase of Silver Eye’s fellowship contest winner, Krolick.

The annual contest pulled 264 submissions from Silver Eye members, from whom Krolick was selected by Lesley Martin of Aperture magazine as the best of all the entrants.

Krolick, of Ashland, Ore., centered his showcase on the surreal beauty of Emigrant Lake in his home state during the winter.

Consisting of 22 square-framed color landscapes, Krolick’s untitled works embody a reflection on the beauty of nature that takes on an abstract quality.

Most of the images feature an ensemble of entangled bushes, puddles, tall grass and weeds, resulting in a variety of expressions.

Several of the photographs present a gray-and-brown portrait of barren foliage with sparse patterns of color dispersed throughout. These resonate a muted feeling of beauty and solitude expressed by winter.

Others offer the brighter and more colorful designs that can appear in winter. Melted puddles in the middle of a field of yellow grass present very welcoming aspects of Emigrant Lake.

There is more to the exhibit than just the beauty of nature; as a photographer, Krolick is able to capture the scenery in such a way as to almost obscure it.

Vivid pockets of color enliven the muted, winter beauty of Krolick's "Emigrant Lake 1-22-05 1."

“These images are not landscapes in the traditional sense, but rather appropriations of the textures, colors and shapes of the winter season from a unique local,” Krolick said of his art.

Often, his pictures with the richest textures look like abstract painting at first sight, recalling, and maybe even invoking, the vibrant paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Along with Krolick’s entries, there are 10 works from 10 photographers who received honorable mentions for their entries in the competition.

Of particular mention is Rania Matar’s “Passages from the Koran,” a black-and-white, meticulously composed portrait of a woman holding a handwritten page of the Koran.

Another image, Jessica Todd Harper’s “Becky with Zephyr and Christopher,” is an inviting scene of a couple and their dog lounging at home taken with an almost surreal quality.

Works from two Silver Eye members are also on display in the gallery. Richard Stoner’s “Slick Water, Slack Water” features black-and-white ponds and John Chakeres’ “La Paz” consists of a collection of shots from the Mexican town of the same name.

Jeff Krolick’s photographs of Emigrant Lake function as both a celebration of nature and a source of inspiration for his more surreal imagery. Krolick’s intriguing perspective offers a unique insight into the ability of art to demonstrate that nature, too, can seem abstract.

Inspired by natural beauty
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