Home Arts & Entertainment ‘CUSP’ brings collaborative photography to the Collins Art Gallery

‘CUSP’ brings collaborative photography to the Collins Art Gallery

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By Erica Horoky

Photo by Erica Horoky“CUSP” is defined as the end where two points meet, making it a fitting title for the intriguing photography exhibit featuring the works of Rachel Girard Reisert and Tracy Longley-Cook.

The exhibit began Oct. 14 at the Grand Rapids Community College’s Collins Art Gallery and will be open until Nov. 8, showing Cook’s “Estremoz” and Reisert’s “Tropism”. Collins Art Gallery is on the fourth floor of the Main building and is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Filippo Tagliati, Gallery Curator and Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department, chose to feature both Reisert and Cook in the same exhibit because of the unity and balance in their work.  Even though both of the artists use different techniques and are interested in exploring different topics, the photographs flow together seamlessly to leave a solid impression.  Cook and Reisert both come from the Cincinnati-Dayton Ohio area and spent a lot of time together discussing what kind of work they would exhibit and how to coordinate it.

Cook spent the summer of 2010 in Portugal after receiving the opportunity to be an artist in residence at the Obras Center for Arts and Sciences. Artist in residence programs allow artists a time away from their usual environment to reflect, research, and produce new work usually related to where they’re staying. Her “Estremoz” project reflects her experience in Portugal, particularly her response to the quality of light in the new rural landscape. Many of her photographs were taken in a small courtyard on the campus grounds, which practically became her studio during her three-week stay. She worked with a 4×5 large view camera, commonly used among photographers in the 19th century, but rare to find today because of the technique required.

Reisert’s “Tropism” explores the complexity of perception and interpretation through her photographs of trees.  After studying at the Arizona State University for years, she returned back home to Cincinnati and essentially rediscovered her home state. “You sort of discover the landscape around you all over again,” Tagliati said. “The difference between Arizona and Ohio was quite huge, and she was intrigued by the fact that she spent her whole life in Ohio, and when she came back home, it seemed very different.”

Photo by Erica HorokyReisert photographed the trees throughout the seasons, intrigued by the change of the trees and their history of growth and life. A large similarity between “Estremoz” and “Tropism” is in the tone and color, which Reisert achieved through using the historical cyanotype process. Invented in 1842, the cyanotype photograph has a distinct blue hue.

Tagliati’s goal with the CUSP exhibit, or any exhibit featured at the Collins Art Gallery, is ultimately to inspire students to strive for the same results. “We don’t want to show something of quality just to celebrate the artists,” Tagliati said. “We also want to push students to take action and aim for the same quality.”

Tagliati urges students interested in the type of art featured in CUSP to start off with GRCC’s Photography 101 class. From there students can take Photography 102 taught by Tagliati and then continue on to the more specific and advanced courses.

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