Issue October 4, 2011

Photo flood

The seventh annual Photo Biennial invades Louisville’s galleries

We’re on our seventh Photo Biennial here in Louisville, and this year’s promises not to disappoint. Activities include exhibitions, workshops and lectures by local, national and international photographers.

“Unlike previous times, the focus is on the weekends (in October),” says co-founder Paul Paletti, “not all jammed into one time period — with something for everyone.”

The first weekend highlights the shows’ openings, with the First Friday Trolley Hop, and the second weekend features two significant events: the Documentary Photography Conference at U of L with Tom Rankin and Shelby Lee Adams; and the “Kentucky Documentary Photographic Project” at the Frazier History Museum, which hasn’t been seen in about 20 years, Paletti says. The following weekend marks the beginning of the “Canadian Invasion” exhibits, which are unique to this year’s Biennial. And finally, the “Slideluck Potshow” exhibit begins the last weekend and is certainly an interesting way to wrap up the show.

Galerie Hertz was an early supporter of the Biennial, and this year is no different. Their two exhibitions complement each other: “Streets Near & Far” by local artist Jim Doiron and “From Distant Streets,” curated by former Louisvillian Richard Bram.

“From Distant Streets” features artists who specialize in street photography. Bram gathered the work of 29 photographers working around the world in a multitude of styles but with one common thread: “Their photographs are of unposed, unrehearsed reality,” he says. “Street photography is thus nonfiction. It is not photojournalism, per se, which is about recording events. Its concerns are much smaller but equally important — the little-noticed nuanced moments of everyday life.”

The international theme continues with “Canadians Invade Kentucky.” While that sounds like a tabloid headline, don’t fear — they come in peace carrying cameras. This “invasion” is centered at the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center, with 11 exhibitions, plus additional shows at Kaviar Forge and Gallery, and Architype Gallery.

Julius Friedman, one of our own international artists, spent the past year-and-a-half photographing Louisville Ballet dancer Erica de la O. The resulting images will be shown at a gallery Friedman designed, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the ballet.

The Speed Art Museum is featuring “Traces” by Irish artist Willie Doherty. The museum will be showing “Buried,” the Doherty video they recently acquired, as well as 11 photographs and an additional video, “Ghost Story.”

Suzanne Weaver, the Speed’s curator of contemporary art, asked Doherty about his frequent use of the Irish countryside in his work. “The landscape here is always about power,” he said. “(Buried or hidden has been) something that has always been a sub-theme in the work but has become important, particularly in the context of post-conflict Northern Ireland. Both ‘Ghost Story’ and ‘Buried’ are concerned with what is hidden — the unspoken and the unresolved. They attempt to account for the way the landscape is inscribed with memories.”

U of L’s conference “Photography: The Document” on Oct. 14 features Tom Rankin, director of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Shelby Lee Adams, a photographer whose latest book, “Salt & Truth,” about Eastern Kentucky, is available at the Paul Paletti Gallery.

Check out the sidebar for a list of exhibits and start dates.

Photo Biennial 2011
Oct. 1-31
www.paulpalettigallery.com