Open lens, open eyes

Da Vin­ci Art Alliance presents Open Lens V’

2 minute read
Exhibition prize-winner Virginia Lockman’s 'What If the Earth’s Shell Cracked' is more than it initially appears to be. (Image courtesy of DVAA.)
Exhibition prize-winner Virginia Lockman’s 'What If the Earth’s Shell Cracked' is more than it initially appears to be. (Image courtesy of DVAA.)

Da Vinci Art Alliance’s Open Lens V exhibition showcases a range of versatile photography styles, with portraits, landscapes, abstracts and more, including works printed on a variety of media, like watercolor paper (Susan M. Gordon’s Skogafoss) and canvas (Erika Kuciw’s Regenerating). Three photos took top honors in this annual competition.

You can feel the heat coming through Eddie Goldstein’s Cloud Cowboy, Mexico, in which a boy watches a rodeo—or maybe he’s just staring toward the faraway rolling hills. Her work makes you feel like you’re actually there in the photograph’s scene. At the show’s February 17 gallery opening, Goldstein told me that the picture was indeed taken on a hot day at noon.

Trees, a gentle spirit, and bubbles

Another featured photographer with compelling work, Andrew R. Walker, was on hand to discuss the purpose behind his piece. His Still Life Among Trees, with photographic layers augmented by the artist’s painted images, comprises trees in the foreground, mountains in the background, and paintings of a potato, an orange, and a banana that have been crossed out. As the recipient of a lifesaving kidney transplant, Walker meditates on organ donation through his art.

Jennifer Brinton Robkin’s black-and-white Gentle Spirit shows a zoo orangutan looking at a child’s hand on the glass of its enclosure. The image emanates gentleness and curiosity. Maria Möller, another standout artist in the show, offers her Gret and the Broken Bubble Wand, of an older woman with a bubble wand. The photo proves that age doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the simple things in life, making you feel like a child at heart—and even a broken bubble wand can still bring joy to the user.

The winners

Three extraordinary works, among the 29 artists represented, garnered the show’s prizes. Third place is Virginia Lockman’s What If the Earth’s Shell Cracked. It’s an appealing and intriguing image of what looks at first like broken blue pottery or plaster. But on closer examination, two human faces appear.

Legs, by Amanda Abramson, took second place. This evocative black-and-white piece with a 1970s vibe shows a day at the pool, with a man talking to a girl who might be his daughter, and a child doing an underwater headstand.

Sarah R. Bloom’s raw and striking Sometimes I Feel an Underground River took first prize. Even though the face of the picture’s female-presenting subject is hidden, the image conveys potent emotion, torment, and decay. It’s one of many images worth your while on a visit to this DVAA show.

What, When, Where

Open Lens V. Through March 10, 2019, at Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catherine Street, Philadelphia. (215) 550-1446 or

The DVAA gallery is not wheelchair accessible, with four steps required to enter the building.

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