Abstract photography at LG Tripp Gallery

Who can explain it, who can tell you why?

LGTripp Gallery’s Sixth Annual Abstract Photography Exhibition raises basic questions: How can a photograph be about nothing? How can an artist take a picture of a feeling, as in Abstract Expressionist paintings? Seven artists have attempted to answer these puzzles, with varying results.

Zimmerman's Chateau de Beynac: Light and fog.

Peter Treiber, with his “Eternal Luminescence” series, doesn’t attempt to explain how he captured his dynamic, abstract compositions in vivid, pulsating colors. But viewing them raises one’s energy level— just what’s needed for a post-holiday ennui.

Is a photograph abstract when you turn to look at it and feel caught in the surge of a huge wave? Without knowing that Danny Sepkowski grew up in Hawaii, I looked at his Blue+Green aluminum print photograph and felt sucked into its mighty force. His Sunburst print captures that magical post-storm luminescence.

A piece of broken glass photographed by Mark Fields becomes a minimalist composition, a conceptual theme of balance and energy. These digital prints speak with eloquence and elegance, despite their smaller dimensions.

Alyssha Eve Cauk has captured the colorful flames from a blast furnace at night, reminding me of the long-gone Alan Wood Steel plant’s eruptions and polluting explosions. Where my physician father saw only health hazards, this artist sees beauty.

Rachel Zimmerman conveys, with a limited palette, the elegant contours and shadows of the Chateau de Beynac in France and its statuary, seen as if shrouded by fog.

Chip Forelli photographed various tools he inherited from his father. Initially they look like abstract designs, but look again. You can discern the contours of a wrench, handsaw and other objects.

Ben Riley’s photographs raise the basic question: Can an urban landscape— including weeds bursting through the cracks in the pavement, potted plants and concrete walls— be considered abstract? How abstract is any photograph or how abstract can it be?

It’s a visually exciting exhibition. So, perhaps, we should return to Marcel Duchamp’s definition of a work of art: It’s whatever the artist says it is— even (in the case of R. Mutt) a urinal signed by the artist.

Our readers respond

Pasquale Cuppari

of Roselle Park, NJ on January 01, 2014

Dear Anne,
I enjoyed very much your review.
Particularly the perspective and depth in your description of the art work.
Congratulations.

Pasquale Cuppari

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Want previews of our latest stories about arts and culture in Philadelphia? Sign up for our newsletter.