Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
Throughout January, the Arts Clayton gallery in Jonesboro will host exhibits that bring new dimensions to two-dimensional photography.
The exhibits -- "Odyssey 2010: A Digital Art Show" and "Digital Artifacts - Art by Michael Murphy" -- will run side by side at the gallery until Jan. 29.
"Odyssey 2010" features surreal, real-life camera images which have been altered using digital and manual techniques, while "Digital Artifacts" uses parallax, or the phenomenon of shifting perspectives, to make three-dimensional sculptures from works that would otherwise be two-dimensional.
"This kind of grew out of our juried photography competition," Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers said in describing the "Odyssey 2010: A Digital Art Show" exhibit.
"There are a lot of people using the computer to take traditional photography to the next level. Some of the purists of photography have said that it is not really a photograph, but we said, 'Why not let the viewer decide?' It really shows a wide example of what people are doing to use the computer to create art," Powers said.
Photographs in the exhibit include composite images, such as a dog driving a get-away car while fleeing from a police helicopter, a frog sitting on a park bench, and the Georgia Capitol crash landing into a futuristic, Martian landscape. Other photos have been slightly enhanced using the Adobe Photoshop program to emulate brush and oil effects.
Arts Clayton Gallery Assistant Courtney Fort said Murphy's "Digital Artifacts" takes digital art and creates three-dimensional objects which change, based on the viewer's perspective.
"Most of these [pieces] deal with parallax ... it's the viewer's relationship to an object, depending on where they are standing," Fort said. "Because it is different from different angles, you can't really tell it's a portrait from the side. It makes you really think about what actually makes up an image. I have never seen anybody else do what he does."
"Because we have two eyes, there are all kinds of funny ways in which an image appears," said Murphy, a professor of art and technology at Georgia College and State University. "I am kind of playing games with that. Typically, people do drawings that are illusions of three dimensional space. I am doing three-dimensional renderings of two-dimensional images, so I am really just turning things around."
Murphy's works include "Parallax," a jumble of steel wires that, when observed from the proper angle, shows an image of the face of President Barack Obama, and "Stephanie Tubbs Jones," a layered wood piece which creates the image of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), the first black woman elected to Congress from the state of Ohio.
"The art in that show kind of makes the viewer work to put the image together," Murphy said. "They have to put forth an effort. Hopefully, they'll get mental and visual stimulation from it and they'll get some kind of enjoyment from the work."
In addition to the two exhibits, Kathleen Bjoran, a professional photographer and owner of ATL Camera Work in Peachtree City, will host an Advanced Photo Editing Workshop this Saturday from 10 a.m., to 1 p.m., at the gallery. The $110 class will teach Adobe Photoshop users how to use layering and digital negatives to create a variety of visual effects.
"Most people say I have never seen this done before, but it's the same thing we used to do in a darkroom," Bjoran said. "They'll know how to create different layers and manipulate them for different effects."
According to Powers, an opening reception for "Odyssey 2010: A Digital Art Show" scheduled for Jan. 7 was canceled due to inclement weather. A make-up reception will be held for artists and patrons on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring free admission, free food and refreshments, and an awards ceremony for the artists.
On the net:
Arts Clayton: www.artsclayton.org