Monday, June 7, 2010

ARTISTIC LICENSE: Abstract photos and ‘Exteriors’ Carl Backlund & Annmarie Ciccarelli

On a personal note: Thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers!
I will be busy this week with family,
I have posted my last review and hope you enjoy it.
Please share your thoughts!
Sincerely; Caroline

ARTISTIC LICENSE: Abstract photos and ‘Exteriors’
by Caroline Denaro
Weekender Correspondent

Carl Backlund’s photography exhibit “Perceptions in Manhattan” is a cohesive body of abstract, architectural photography. Complex compositions, bold color design and disorienting geometry create a picture of space wherein solid forms become pure abstraction at its finest.

The body of work consisting of 19 color photographs is a visual treasure of abstract art. Large steel shapes, bright colors, billboards and angles compile this exhibit’s subject matter. However unappealing it may sound, the impact is stunning and quite delightful.

Backlund tends to omit any human form; he concentrates solely on the structures, balancing texture, pattern and form with complicated compositions. Transforming the familiar skyscraper’s busy, intricate form into something minimalist and profoundly simple, the city’s essence is truly captured.

Backlund gently plays an ingenious balance of masculine and feminine by using organic shapes and forms either sublimely, through billboard signs, or visually, through form and color. Isolating the subjects’ form and shape with color blocking used by abstract painters is an underlying theme displayed in the photos.

The primary influence of Backlund’s style is abstract art. Abstract photography is not necessarily going to mean the same thing to everyone. Abstract denotes what can be interpreted but not seen. Underlying threads within abstract art are imagination, the subconscious and thinking theoretically. Abstract photography is unique to most types of photography, where the basic rules of accurate focusing and composition hold no value.

The abstract photographer is more like a painter using his creative imagination to create stunning works of art. The artist simplifies the composition down to the essence of strong graphic shapes, color and line to create a work of art which is unique from the original. Leaving more to the imagination, helping us concentrate on texture and color rather than the whole subject. Backlund’s use of fresh color combinations of plum, blue and warm gold tones are more reminiscent of a fine art painting than an architectural photograph.

He frames the prints of pristine quality without glass, allowing the viewer to actualize the vision in its entirety, without the glare and reflection of lights. The only harsh criticism of Backlund’s photographs I have is that they are small. I believe they should be enlarged for even greater impact.

Creating abstract art may appear easy. Patterns appear everywhere in nature and especially with manmade construction, especially architecture. However, creating a great abstract photograph that is original is extremely difficult. Combining conventionally photographic principles, scientific intellect and grounded in visual art theories and principles, Backlund is a true artist.

Backlund’s work will be on exhibit at The Camerawork Gallery through June 28. Located below the Marquis Gallery (515 Center St., Scranton), it’s the vision of three local photographers — Ivana Pavelka, Rolfe Ross and Michael Poster — and is dedicated to hosting exhibitions of fine photography made by local photographers.

Although the talent is top-notch, I would prefer to see these works of art out of the basement hallway and into a larger space, one more fitting for the talent that lies within. However small, the Camerawork Gallery has a part of the Laundry Building, a unique experience in shopping. The vibe is more than a bookstore; it’s a community meeting place which hosts author signings, book discussions, poetry readings, writing groups and gallery exhibitions, including the current artist, Annmarie Ciccarelli.

Worth the climb up to the third floor, Ciccarelli’s “Exteriors” is located at the Anthology Bookstore in the back corner. Ciccarelli’s work is abstract and impressionistic, a blending of artistic styles. If you were to mix the painting styles of Andre Derain and Robert Delaunay, you would have the painting style of Ciccarelli.

Abundant, bright colors dance along the canvases, transforming an exterior vision. The abstract composition includes straight edges and organic shapes. Although there is nothing tangible, the painting hints of a building with life. The paintings are done in acrylic medium.

Ciccarelli is exhibiting more than 12 works all similar in vein, now through June 3.

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