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Portfolio ShowCase 12 Juror’s Statement by Samantha Johnston

Posted by staff on March 19, 2019

Portfolio ShowCase 12 Exhibition Opens on Wednesday April 3, 2019

Public and Artist Reception is on April 6, 2019


I see photography as a tool to help us deepen our understanding and to ask questions. Portfolio Showcase XII explores the constantly changing world we live in, and while each project I selected resonated with me differently, I was able to gain insight through their lens. At first glance, the selections are an eclectic mix of portfolios, but for me, it was the subject matter they explored. From life to death, beauty to decay, these artists all lead us to understand the ways in which we process the world around us. These portfolios bring us to that understanding using different approaches to their image making.


Leah Schretenthaler’s work draws our attention to the island of Hawaii and infrastructures that have impeded the natural landscape. Instead of the colorful photos, we often see of Hawaii; these black and white images are laser cut to remove the offending structures and create a scar on the image. In these images, Schretenthaler is asking the viewer to question the social and political concerns of our environment.


Philip V. Augustin’s abstract black and white images, are process-driven and created without a narrative intent. Instead, he prefers the viewer to bring their filter of experience to the images. Kevin Hoth shows expanse within the landscape and provides a glimpse from all sides, meditative spaces without evidence of humans. This work allows me to contemplate time away from the busy world of information overload while almost abstracting the landscape. Both of these artists create abstraction through the processes they use to photograph.


Linda Alterwitz’s thermal portraits look like x-rays upon first glance. However, her series Superpowers, portrays the different strengths these children have allowed for their true spirit to come through. While Christa Blackwood’s colorful portraits of young men focus on the duality of public and private gender codes through the use of pink and blue. The layered images allow the viewer to question our own understandings of sexuality. Kris Sanford’s diptych portraits revisit a group of gay and lesbian individuals she made portraits of in 2000 and then again 16 years later. Sanford’s portraits are a beautiful record of how people can become more secure and comfortable in their own skin as they age. Joan Lobis Brown’s portraits of women from the baby boomer generation bear witness to these women’s experiences and all they have accomplished.


As cities change, grow and gentrify, one of the side effects is closing businesses. Norm Diamond’s series Doug’s Gym illustrates this effect by documenting a decaying gym that continued to be supported by its participants even as it prepared to shutter and close.


JP Terlizzi’s portraits combine old and new as a way of preserving the past and creating ties to his own family lineage. Shinya Masuda’s colorful series Hanafuda Shouzoku also deals with memory. As a way of recording, he uses a traditional flower card game played with his grandmother to demonstrate impermanence and the passage of time.


As a reflection of how our lives move through the cycles of time, these artists train their eye on how we collectively experience beauty and decay.


Samantha Johnston
Executive Director & Curator
Colorado Photographic Arts Center

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Posted by The Center on April 3, 2011

Jun Masuda as Oyanagi © Hiroshi Watanabe

In the brief days since the devastation of Japan’s March 11 quake was compounded full fold by the subsequent tsunami, online arts communities have demonstrated that the impact of our digital spaces extends well beyond nifty did you knows and conversations free from real world relevance. Many rightly criticize the internet for its vacuous t.v. dinner soul but as a significant portion of an almost mythic country has been leveled by natural disaster, it becomes clear that the value of these communities – blogs, Facebook groups, Twitter followers – is in shared compassion.

Vineyard Blush © Tom Chambers

Moved to weeping by a lifelong affinity for a country she always meant to visit, wall space gallery‘s Crista Dix with photographer/blogger Aline Smithson are leading the charge with the creation of Life Support Japan – an amazing (and growing) effort that harnesses the talents of photographers world wide. Currently featuring the work of over 300 artists, wall space is offering limited edition prints (10 of each only) for $50, with proceeds split between Direct Relief International and Habitat for Humanity Japan. New collections are being added every few days.

Life Support Japan has spilled into its own web-space and Facebook Group. Both are great ways to participate in and follow the progress of these efforts (over $50,000 raised and counting) We encourage you to join the cause (buy a print or two) and make a difference for the survivors of these tragic events.