A varied experience at the Light Room’s Members Exhibition at 3rd Street Gallery


—>Alyssa visits 3rd Street Gallery to see works by members of the Light Room, Philadelphia’s only photography cooperative.  The experience brings to light distinct personalities with some high points. –the Artblog editors—————–>

Throughout the Light Room’s members show at 3rd Street Gallery, Philadelphia’s only photography co-op displays work by an across-the-board population in terms of age and career breadth. With seven photographers (Michelle Cade, Joshua Hopkins, Ronald Corbin, Holley Robbins, Annarita Gentile, Gordon Stillman and Richard Gretzinger), all CVs on hand boast rich careers (in other fields in addition to photography), and the influence of this varied experience on each photographer’s works is positive.

A selection of Richard Gretzinger.
A selection of artwork by Richard Gretzinger.
Richard Gretzinger, “La Chica,” Ambatillo Alto, Ecuador. Digital on canvas, 25×18. 2007.

Richard Gretzinger’s prints of people and places are transferred onto large canvases, thus endowing them with a tactile, painterly quality. The density of details, for example the flush of a girl’s cheeks and the wet paint freshly slapped onto a stucco wall, are absorbing. Moreover, Gretzinger’s range of subjects allows him to display his technical chops with different compositions, emotions and color palettes. There is even a multimedia component. Unfortunately, I had to put a bit of effort into getting the QR-scanned sound effects in question to work. This detracted slightly from the intended multi-sensory aspect of the photographs.

Ronald Corbin, "Young Lady/Obama Hoodie," 2010.
Ronald Corbin, “Young Lady/Obama Hoodie,” 2010.

People and places occupy Ronald Corbin’s work, albeit with a different emotional tenor. For those already familiar with Jeffrey Stockbridge’s harsh pictorial journeys through Kensington, Corbin’s artwork will look familiar. It covers much of the same ground, albeit with more of a hopeful quality than Stockbridge’s output.

Gordon Stillman.
Gordon Stillman, from the “Istanbul” series. 2013.

The mannered, stark style — to say nothing of the subjects — give Gordon Stillman works – from the frightening outline of a machine gun to a statue’s raised arm — the same gravitas.

Annarita Gentile. Photo: 3rd Street Gallery.
Annarita Gentile. Photo: 3rd Street Gallery

Drawn to street parades, particularly clown- and costume-laden ones, Annarita Gentile’s crowd shots make a point of teasing out colors and textures to mirror those in the spectacle.

Michelle Cade, “Burn” 2013. Photo: 3rd Street Gallery.

Therapeutically soothing to a fault, Michelle Cade’s works, which use light leaks to alter ordinary shots, are pretty, but they don’t make a particular impression; she could have gone much farther in letting her light leaks abstract the trees, fields and humans she’s captured. As they are, the photos are somewhat dispassionate. The capriciousness of the light is not enough to distinguish the pieces, and the randomness of light is not always the key to revelation.

The range of photographic styles and subject matter at this group show is satisfying, but could be even more so. The distinct voices are so very distinct that they mute the voices of some of the more understated works, like those of Cade. Also on the more subtle end of the spectrum are Joshua Hopkins’ quiet hints of tensions and dynamism behind the ordinary actions of passerby in his “Philadelphia” series, and Holley Robbins’ animal photographs (not shown), which ride the line between pathos and poignancy. As a window into the Light Room, though, the exhibit highlights the rich variety of work that these photographers are producing as members of the co-op, and what they might have in store for us in the future.

The Light Room’s Annual Group Exhibition runs July 31-September 1, 2013, with a closing reception Sunday, September 1, from 2 – 5 pm. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 12 – 5 pm.


3rd street gallery, lightroom gallery, ronald corbin



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