Addison/Ripley Fine Art: Extra Credit

December 3, 2008

The Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery is a very small and quaint showcase within Georgetown. It is also, deceivingly, a frame-shop where one can take photographs or large-scale artwork to be framed. Although the photos within the exhibit were very diverse and dynamic, the gallery itself and method of displaying the photographs was a bit off-putting. The room was crowded with other frames and photos that were propped up on the floor, there was not a lot of systematic placement of the photos on the walls, and similar pieces were often exhibited in separate rooms. The display and character of the room in which art is presented is often just as vital as the piece itself because in order for the work to be effective, the viewer must be able to grasp as much from the image as possible. Addison/Ripley was very modest and lacked cohesion in their approach to displaying their artwork.

Regardless, the gallery exhibited work from the likes of Frank Hallam Day, Kenro Izu, and Diana Walker. All of these artists have very different photographing techniques and also have a taste for different subject matter. There was not really a sense of unity between the different works of the artists, but each work could be appreciated for its own characteristics. One particularly interesting piece was Frank Hallam Day’s Hull photos, primarily #38.  From a distance, one is mislead to think that the photos were actually paintings on a canvas. In actuality, the photograph focuses on the side of a ship in water and accentuates the texture and differing colors by their linear movements horizontally. Because of the incredible color, form and texture of the ship hulls, the photographs could almost be confused with an abstract piece of artwork. For example, the rusted metal and worn paint that covers the side of the boat blends beautifully into the water worn bottom of it, which in turns almost melts into the sea. The many colors and textures within each layer of the boat are visually fascinating. 

Frank Hallam Day’s Ship Hull photos and other pieces in the exhibit like his “Blown Up” collection simply bring new meaning to unnecessarily beautiful things. A person could walk by that same ship everyday and not realize the nature of its beauty until it is the focus of a photograph. The pieces within the exhibit are governed by an understanding of realism, in the sense that they are unmodified by any other artistic techniques, but create colorful and astounding images for the viewer. It takes a moment to decipher what the viewer is looking at because of the close focus on the rustic, natural side of boat, but inevitably the audience is surprised by the simplicity and commonality of the object. Although Addison/Ripley’s fine art gallery is not very impressive in its manner of exhibit, the works that are displayed are beautiful and visually stimulating. 

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