No, there is not a new photography exhibit based on the results of my Ok Cupid personality test. “Love, Anxiety, Happiness, and Everything Else” is the appropriately-broad title of a show comprising the work of 50 contemporary photographers, the finalists of Photolucida‘s “Critical Mass” contest. Over 500 emerging and mid-career artists submitted work on no particular theme, and 200 of the photo-and publishing industry’s most influential curators, gallerists, editors, and publishers narrowed the submissions down to the work of the “Critical Mass Top 50.” The top image from each finalist, as well as the first place winner (whose work Photolucida will publish as a monograph) was chosen by Darius Himes, assistant director at Fraenkel Gallery, co-founder of Radius Books, co-author of Publish Your Photography Book (a must-read for anyone wanting to publish a book of their own art via any of the new or traditional methods), and photogeek extraordinaire. Himes said of the tricky job of curating work on diverse themes and styles,
“‘The picture’s smiling appearance is for your sake, so that by means of the picture the real theme may be established.’—Mathnavi’ 1.2769
….What will be first and most readily apparent to the viewer is the vast diversity of work. That is the first theme. A further layer is provided by the groupings of images. They are both loose and intentional, with hints of association and shades of meaning. Lastly, one arrives at individual images, each extracted from larger, and in this case, unseen bodies of work. Each image then carries with it a theme singular to itself and yet stands in for a deeper vision, while simultaneously speaking to and being informed by the other works in the exhibition. Theme upon theme hinting at other themes; a wide-ranging conversation….”
Photolucida puts the submission fees ($75 for the first round, $200 for the finals) towards merit-based scholarships for Oregonian and international photographers to take part in reviews and Critical Mass, just another of the many things that makes Portland cool.
“Love, Anxiety-” appeared at Photocenter NorthWest in Seattle and the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland before arriving in San Francisco, where it will remain on display at Rayko Gallery through June 15th. I have a special fondness for Rayko. Their opening parties sometimes move to a karaoke bar nearby and karaoke is like methadone for out-of-work actors. Also, the odor of developing fluid that pervades the lab behind the gallery reminds me of the darkroom my dad constructed in our old apartment’s tiny laundry room, which still had the original deep sinks people used to do their washing in before machines.
“Love, Anxiety, Happiness, and Everything Else” opens tomorrow. Be there, geeks!