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Published: Sunday, 5/13/2007

Photography dominates top local art show

Chaostruction 1, by Matthew Mason. Chaostruction 1, by Matthew Mason.

The camera is king at the 89th annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, opening Thursday.

Intriguing images developed by several different techniques digital collage, pinhole photography on archival inkjet paper, chromogenic, and toned gelatin silver prints, for example predominate in this, the most prestigious of local art contests.

In particular, the photography was very strong, said David Deming, one of two jurors who selected 107 works from 655 entries.

The photography was very sensitive work, very individualized, said Deming, president and chief executive officer of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Overall, the works are traditional and finely crafted.

But the show lacks innovative media such as installation, ephemera, video, and aural pieces. Printmaking is scarcely represented, and there s nothing from the genre known as outsider/self-taught art.

Of the 250 who entered, 90 artists of an even male-female split had pieces selected for the show that will continue through July 8. The 655 submissions represented the lowest turnout in recent years (889 in 2006, 962 in 2005, and 724 in 2004).

Mr. B, by Nancy Frankenfield. Mr. B, by Nancy Frankenfield.

Those who suffered rejection are able to show their pieces in the Salon des Refuses across the street in the Parkwood Gallery; the show also opens Thursday night.

Exhibition organizers said entries may be down this year because of size restrictions: flat pieces were limited to 48-by-48-inches and three-dimensional work to 24 inches in any direction.

The show is usually held in the spacious Canaday Gallery on the upper level, but an exhibit of Andy Warhol s silk-screen prints moves in there in late June. Consequently, the TAA exhibit will fill corridors on the lower level s Works on Paper Galleries, which offers decent wall space but scant open area in which to display large objects.

The opening, at which $7,900 will be awarded in many categories, shifts to Thursday evening at 7:30 from its usual Friday night to accommodate a concert in the Peristyle.

In the Silent Forest Listens, a necklace by Mike Kozumplik. In the Silent Forest Listens, a necklace by Mike Kozumplik.

An unusually exquisite photograph entitled Homage to de Heem refers to the 17th-century Dutch still-life master Jan Davidsz de Heem, who brushed flowers and fruits onto glorious canvases such as the sumptuous bouquet against a black background owned by the National Gallery of Arts. This photographic collage by Glenn Osborn is a bouquet of tulips, roses, and cherries, crisp against black.

I thought the photography element was probably the most diverse and experimental of any of the categories, said Joe Becherer, a juror and curator/director of exhibitions at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich. You can take some risks with photography that aren t as costly as they would be in sculpture or some other media.

Other photographs: a Venetian gondolier, an anti-war protester near a pretzel stand, overlapping images of an ancient church in southern France, roofs of varied textures shot from above, a dissected/reassembled image of tree and sun.

One of the few pieces of jewelry is a gentle marvel by Mike Kozumplik. The twig-like silver chain culminates in front with a pair of pearls on which hang the bronze likeness of tiny birds.

Lunchbag: Colorstudy 25 by Marcia Derse. Lunchbag: Colorstudy 25 by Marcia Derse.

In the glass department, several marvelous items include two large purple platters on glass legs by Mark Wagar, and a collection of nine standing antlers with colorful tips that curl into each other by museum instructor Leonard Marty. A pair of glass fish by Steve Kemmerley are luminous red with a few black lines and golden sheen.

Two wooden bowls by Andrew Pauken are especially lovely.

From Bluffton, Gregg Luginbuhl s Rustic Decanter VI is a thoroughly charming vintage-style watering can in ceramic with metal and wood handle.

Hugh McCulley s large watercolor, Lily Pond, features the round leaves in pinks and greens. David Larkins deft painting of lobster cages, nets, and buoys, Eight Bells, is a muted use of acrylics.

An otherwise standard rural landscape of a farm field with distant barn is made more striking by a giant cloud mass in Summer Cumulus, oil on linen by Lanna Pendleton Hall of Montpelier.

A rare note of whimsy is Barry Eitel s Boots, a simple mixed-media drawing of outward-pointed boots buzzed by tiny yellow-winged flies.

Pieces are grouped somewhat by subject (architecture, chairs, photographic landscapes) to maximize viewer ease, by Claude Fixler, exhibition designer.

The show is produced by the museum and the Toledo Federation of Art Societies, a coalition of 25 groups.

The awards ceremony for the 89th Toledo Area Artists Exhibition is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Great Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art, followed by the exhibit opening in the Works on Paper Galleries. It continues through July 8. There is no admission fee. The museum is located at 2445 Monroe St. Information: 419-255-8000.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com or 419-724-6075.

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