Photographic Works by Bethany McCamish, Jenny Olsen & Shannon Rowland
Curated by Zemie Barr
On view at Port City Gallery January 16 – February 6, 2015
Although the camera is often used as a tool to document the world around us, every photograph remains a reflection of its maker’s unique, subjective way of seeing. The artists in this exhibition present their own distinct photographic perspectives through experimentation with focus, depth of field, patterns, and light. Their abstractions of landscape and the human body demonstrate some of the formal possibilities of the medium, telling contemporary stories through the painterly aesthetics of early photography.
In her series Possible Perspectives, Bethany McCamish photographs using a shallow depth of field to transform the landscape into gorgeous abstract color studies. However, there are often points of reference within each print that come into focus, such as a tree, a leaf, or a drop of water for the eye to rest upon before entering the depths of color once again. Shannon Rowland strategically brings the human figure in and out of focus in her inventive Beautiful Melodies Telling Me Terrible Things series, abstracting the face and body in such a way that shapes, lines, and patterns come to the forefront, yet the human form is still unmistakable. For Rowland, this abstraction emphasizes the duality of light and dark, as well as masculine and feminine, that each subject can embody. In Jenny Olsen’s series, Under the Influence, the photographer turns the camera on herself as a means of exploring self image in relation to how others perceive her. Olsen plays with light and shadow and manipulates focus and depth of field to abstract her body, refusing the viewer immediate access and instead requiring that we engage with the multiple layers of visual information that comprise a her complex vision of self.
Ultimately, McCamish, Rowland, and Olsen invite the viewer to encounter the world imaginatively through each of their lenses, and, in turn, to contribute our own subjective photographic visions to the conversation.
About the artists:
Bethany McCamish was born in Portland Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with a concentration in photography from Marylhurst University in June, 2014. She is continuing her education at Concordia University this year working towards a Master of Arts in Teaching at the secondary level. McCamish’s work has been included in various exhibitions including the 2011 Student Art Annual at the Archer Gallery in Vancouver Washington and Photolucida’s Then. Now. Here. screenings throughout Portland Oregon. Most recently her abstract photos in the series Possible Perspectives were shown at The Art Gym at Marylhurst University and Blackfish Gallery in Portland Oregon.
Jenny Olsen is a Portland-based artist originally from Kansas City, Missouri, where she grew up surrounded by art in the gallery her parents owned. She is currently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Art Practices at Portland State University with a minor in photography, and she plans to pursue graduate studies in teaching and art therapy. Olsen's photography has been exhibited at Newspace Center for Photography and One Grand Gallery in Portland, among other venues.
Shannon Rowland is a Portland-based photographer and curator who focuses on portraiture and landscapes. Themes expressed in her work are identity, intrigue, isolation and self-reflection. Her goal is to create images that are genuine and beautiful but also embody a dark undertone.