Review of "Doubling, Cutting, Pasting: Figures Re-Invented"

Portrait of K Polaroid Transfer Print 24" x 18" 2008
Today I offer up for your blogging pleasure a review written by fellow collagist Steven Specht. Thanks Steven!

Review of "Doubling, Cutting, Pasting: Figures Re-Invented", an exhibit of the works of AJ Nadel at the Edith Barrett Art Gallery at Utica College (Nov. 9-Dec. 21)

The Eyes Have It - and So Does Nadel

On the curved surface of the back of the inside of the eye lies the retina - a thin "film" of many layers of neurons including the rod-shaped and cone-shaped photoreceptors. As a physician specializing in retinal surgery AJ Nadel is well-acquainted with this neuroanatomical landscape. But wait a minute, this is a review of an exhibit of artwork, not ocular anatomy. In the case of the collection of impressive artworks created by AJ Nadel and currently on display at the Edith Barrett Gallery at Utica College, art truly imitates life - and transforms life experiences and manipulates photographic images of life. In this case, a career concerned with retinas and surgery and vision informs and inspires exquisitely creative and visually stimulating photomontages, collages and mixed media artworks.

Snapshots 19: Artist and Company Emulsion Transfer, Collage 7" x 21.5" 2009

Through the lens of a camera, light creates a representational image of the world on photographic emulsions. When these images are "surgically" removed from one substrate (i.e., the Polaroid paper backing), manipulated and combined and placed onto the artistic space of the surface of paper, or wood or cloth, the resulting images are at once aesthetically exhilarating and thought-provoking. The viewer views what was once viewed through the viewfinder -- but deliberately not in high fidelity. Rather, the viewer of Nadel's work is exposed to creative manipulations of the images in various ways. Some of the pieces represent single large-scale images of once dynamic, folding, twisting and wrinkling aqueous films of photoemulsion captured on various substrates -- still strong with allusions to actual motion and psychological flow. Other powerful pieces in the exhibit integrate multiple exposures of related images in beautifully composed photomontages and collages, perhaps reminiscent of what the brain does after multiple retinal images are encoded and manipulated by emotions and meaning within our gray matter (ah, the multiple frames of memory). And sometimes Nadel enhances the photographic manipulations with inclusion of gestural marks of paint, ink or charcoal.
Through his work then, Nadel invites the viewer to join him in the interplay of images meant to challenge a representational view of the world and instead acknowledge the transformational intricacies and complexities of true vision.

Mixed Polaroid Transfer
22" x 30"

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