Local art exhibits feature photography work involving nature, landscapes and portraits

‘FotoFocus’ opens Saturday at Fitton Center in Hamilton.

For the first time, the Fitton Center for Creative Arts will participate in FotoFocus by offering three new exhibitions this fall that highlight photography through portraits, landscape and nature.

“We’re so excited about the multiple exhibitions that are happening with FotoFocus this fall and the community of artists that are involved, not only the artists that are represented in our galleries, but also all over region, and how they come together to support each other, present their work, and learn from each other,” said Cathy Mayhugh, director of exhibitions at the Fitton Center.

There will be a gallery opening for the three new FotoFocus exhibitions from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today, Oct. 22 at the Fitton Center. The gallery opening will include a reception and several of the artists will be present. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the artists, talk with them and ask questions about their photography. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

“The artworks in the galleries are so diverse. The artists are really pushing process and perspective of portraiture and landscape photography. So, I think our visitors will find an exciting representation of both of those subjects. Also, guests will find some interesting features in the galleries that will let them go a little deeper if they choose to,” said Mayhugh.

She said there are a series of labels on the wall called “Know How” labels and they will give visitors more insight into the processes that the different artists used. Visitors can also access a QR code that will lead them to the artist biographies, so they can learn more about the participating artists.

Curated by Kent Krugh in collaboration with Mayhugh, “The Land & That Which Lives On It,” and “Unusual Character: Portraits & The Modern Eye” will be on view through Jan. 6, 2023 in the first and second floor galleries. “Acknowledge Reveal Disclose” in the first floor Community Gallery was curated by Michael Wilson and the works will be on display through Nov. 4. This is the first time that the Fitton Center will present a series of FotoFocus exhibitions.

“Unusual Character: Portraits & The Modern Eye” features five artists and “Acknowledge Reveal Disclose” features 21 artists. Both of the exhibitions will be featured in the first-floor galleries. “The Land & That Which Lives On It,” features nine artists and the works will be on display in the second-floor galleries.

Curator Kent Krugh said “The Land & That Which Lives On It” is a personal, informal survey of the way that contemporary photographers are doing landscape and nature photography.

“What viewers will see are landscapes, and photographs of animals and creatures, using a variety of processes and techniques,” Krugh said.

One aspect of this show is to promote the work of these artists, he said, but another one is to bring awareness to the rich diversity of life on this planet, including plant life, landscape and animal life, and hopefully, it will inspire us to be better stewards of this planet.

“Unusual Character: Portraits & The Modern Eye” is a small sampling of what photographers are doing with portraits today, and they’re being very creative. One of the artists uses tintypes, and others create collages, for example.

“One artist, Sunjoo Lee, when she travels, she collects gift wrapping paper. She has taken her female models and wrapped their skin in this wrapping paper and photographed them, so they look robotic, and it’s really kind of unnerving and cool at the same time,” Krugh said.

Another artist, Claudia Kunin, who is a part of the “Unusual Character: Portraits & The Modern Eye” exhibition investigates ghosts, and she has created a 3-D animated video with audio. Visitors can come in and use a pair of 3-D glasses that are provided with the exhibition and view a 10-minute video called, ‘Five Spooky Tales,” which is appropriate for October. There’s also a hands-on activity that’s related to Kunin’s “Five Spooky Tales” video, so families can come in and make a craft as well.

“The craft that is involved in creating these artworks is impressive. The artists are using so many different processes to reveal these images that are captured in a camera. So, for people who are interested in photography, these exhibitions will be really inspiring to them,” Mayhugh said.

The gallery openings will be accompanied by an Artist Talk on the same night in the Fitton Family Theater from 6 to 7 p.m. Special guests for the talk will include Krugh, Wilson and three of the artists who have work on display in the exhibitions — Kunin, Catherine Aboumrad and Susan Patrice.

“This gallery opening on October 22 is going to be really positive for anybody who comes in,” Krugh said.

Following the gallery opening, there will be a performance by New York’s Empire Trio, who will present “Bravissimo Broadway” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Fitton Family Theater.

How to go

What: FotoFocus Biennial Exhibitions opening reception

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today

Where: The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton

Cost: Free and open to the public

More: fittoncenter.org or (513) 863-8873 ext. 110

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