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Exhibition & Book Signing: Janet Russek at Verve Gallery

Posted By Turner Uligian, Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Exhibition Dates: September 27 - November 2, 2013

Opening Reception:
Friday, September 27
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 28
2:00 - 4:00 pm.

Life and its cycle has emerged as the thread connecting the work of Janet Russek. It was the near simultaneous loss of Russek's mother, Esther Goldberg, and mentors Beaumont Newhall and Eliot Porter that began the flowing of several series on view at Verve and in her newly released book, The Tenuous Stem. On the whole the work is elegant, quiet, and reflective. Light itself is warm and brilliant, emerging in frames as the very sap of life; it spreads richly over fragile forms that are ever plump with life's pulse. 

Works began out of desire to tribute her mother and mentors, and to celebrate their legacy- Russek started the first of several series with a 4x5 studio camera that was a gift given to her by Eliot Porter. The seeds
 of life- sustenance and the still-life where where the work began. In the series Tenuous Stem traditional forms for the genre appear- fruits, vegetables, and flowers. All the images are ripe and full as if to foreshadow what would come next, studies of pregnant women. Bellies bulge and are beautifully round and full of life and all of its promises. It is with this series that we most directly and clearly confront the cycle of life, and indeed in its most potent form- the pregnant woman. 

A transitional series of doll portraits coincided with this work, and they stand in stark contrast to the Pregnancy series. Here we engage the human form as moquette and plaything, but the work also raises issues on the vulnerability that we experience at all of life's stages- childhood, early and late adulthood. The images seem to call for attention; the forms lack animation, and it is this that makes them melancholic. Without our life-giving force they feel neglected, and this is what causes our own emotion to stir. 

The final series born of these beginnings seems in a way to complete the circle that started the work. In Memories Russek focuses her lens on nostalgic objects from her past. Portraits of a chess set, corsets, gloves, shoe brushes, shoe trees, stockings, a hat, a coat, a manual typewriter and a suitcase speak to time, lives past, and to the ephemeral nature of life itself. The objects are haunted by the energy of their owners, as was the camera that began it all.

Also on View at Verve Gallery:
Alan Pearlman
Santa Fe Faces

Nevada Wier:
Invisible Light: The World of Infrared

More information at Verve Gallery

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