The Alley Gallery in downtown Rutland welcomes a photographic exhibit of its city — its buildings, its people, its ambience, its history, and some magic.
Photographer Stephen Schaub curated the show that includes his own work and that of seven other well-known artist photographers. Each of the eight looked at Rutland in their individual ways and brings a diversity of experiences.
We know this Vermont city as a place with an industrial past, much reduced now. The quarries have a haunted affect: the Scales sector, repurposed for offices and small businesses, is a reminder of a vigorous manufacturing operation. Beside its gritty, working past, the architecture of historic buildings gives a glimpse of the wealth and style of the city’s past. It’s different now, but today’s Rutland came from these roots, and so, there’s a lot to see, if only you look. That’s what cameras are for.
Brandon photographer Don Ross spent some time at Mac Steel, looking at metal junk. In this case, don’t believe what your mind might tell you about salvage. Ross’ photos give us piles of big rough jewels. Shapes, color and depth might evoke an urge to touch the photo, to feel the rust. Big and outrageous, the camera looked in an unlikely place and found beauty.
Carol McGorry’s work in our city focused on a part of Rutland’s cultural faith history. She photographed statues of the Madonna that she found in yards, gardens, and in front of churches. She juxtaposed her images with text from the Vatican concerning the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin’s place in the religious hierarchy. She added her own poetry on the theme of mothering, of faith in community. It makes for a strange and emotional installation.
There’s a “Kuntzkammer” here too: That’s a small room filled with art objects. Such rooms used to be a regular part of many homes. In his room, artist Ric Kasini Kadour installed a striking collection of antique portraits and other old objects that he amended with paint and other materials; for example, an old eggcup clasping a painted egg-ish object — a little surreal. Of the wall pieces, “Angels on the Streets of Rutland” is an impish example. Two young gents posed for a camera years ago, looking jocular and dapper. Kadour painted wings on them recently and gave them a new life. These portraits involve a process of taking old photographs, working some collage magic, and making them into prints.
In the back room, visitors will find Stephen Schaub’s long photographic dream of Rutland. His unique process involves filming the city from different floors of the parking garage. Invented by Schaub, the process results in images — layered, fragments, and transparent — like one of those ideas you get that vanishes before you can catch it. In Schaub’s piece, visitors will see Rutland, but not exactly as they remember it. Writer Eve Schaub collaborated with her husband on the huge piece by writing brief stories and comments directly on the installation. It’s fiction with the charm of history and imagination. As I said before, you can’t believe your eyes.
Enjoy the real and fanciful collection of Susan Weiss’ postcards and take a couple of them home if you like. Ride The Bus through the city through Bob Van Degna’s photographs from a day in Rutland. And do you remember the neighborhood corner stores around town? Arthur Gilman photographed some of the old favorites, and Eve Schaub gave them new life stories, again writing directly on Gilman’s images. A little fiction, a little tinkering with perspective.
I told you before, you cannot believe everything you read. But, you can meet these artists and writers and try to get the straight story from them at the opening, from 6 to 8 p.m. today (Feb. 9) at the Alley Gallery, down the Center Street Alley.