The title Entropvisions is in homage to my mother, the poet and art critic, Harriet Zinnes. In 1990 New Directions published a collection of her poems titled Entropisms, a word she made-up combining entropy - the tendency toward disorder - and tropism - the growth towards or away from a stimulus. Similarly, my short reviews combine entropy and tropism by suggesting growth towards a vision of art from the chaos of the art world.

Denise Oehl, Robert Oehl and others at Pamela Salisbury, Eric Banks at WAAM
2022.12.28
I love when my friends make strong work and when it’s exhibited – and that’s what’s happening with the current exhibitions at Pamela Salisbury Gallery, up through Jan. 8, and the Eric T Banks show at WAAM in Woodstock, through Dec. 31. The Salisbury photo shows offer a journey through diverse depictions of the human spirit, nature as metaphor, and abstraction. Denise M Oehl’s photos, mainly of trees but also streets and traffic lights, suggest an eerie other-worldly world where something strange and magical has just happened, is still lurking, and might re-emerge through the mainly fuzzy fog or sometimes brighter glows filtering through. Made with a medium-format camera, these visual atmospheres were created by actual weather atmospheres layering transient light during the long, approximately 30-second exposures, as well as the rich tones emerging through the darkroom ziatype (Palladium) printing process. Also utilizing long exposures – this time closer to two minutes – and made with a pinhole camera, Bob Oehl’s use of himself as a man blurred into ghostly images and enveloped or even shrouded by the surrounding air, convey the introspection, fear and nostalgia of an older adult feeling life’s arc, aware of its finality and pain. In this same show are photos by Joseph Lawton, whose sharply focused trees and crisp light create an other-worldliness that complement Denise’s, Peter Aaron’s lovingly portrayed images of shepherds, streets and landscapes taken in Syria just before the war began, and sharply-focused, design-conscious photos by Chris Bartlett. As an added bonus, we are given two separate photo shows, the first of collaborations made by Robert Palumbo and Tamiko Kawata that experiment with Japanese papers, close-up abstraction, and (most interesting historically) reprints of 1930’s Japanese dry-plate glass negatives, and the second of dramatic, sharply-focused and gorgeous close-ups of arctic ice taken by Carleen Sheehan. Adding sculpture and painting to the gallery’s presentations are Jon Isherwood’s and Pamela Sunday’s organic imaginings, and an “All Small” exhibition of 17 gallery artists, including some of my friends and Facebook friends, Jennifer Coates, Lisa Hoke, Diana Horowitz, Elisa Jensen, Ron Milewicz, Barbara Takenaga, Kamille Talbert and Don Voisine. And finally, up at WAAM in Woodstock, is a solo show of Eric Banks. Though unfortunately I won’t be able to see it before it closes on Dec. 31., here’s what I wrote after visiting his studio last year: “Eric's sculptures and paintings blend a strong sense of form, mixed with enigmatic stories, and in both, abstract shapes anthropomorphize into loving and determined creatures that gain my sympathy as they struggle in their somewhat threatening environments.”  (See my full review and photos of my Eric Banks studio visit.)

Robert Oehl

Denise Oehl

Denise Oehl

Denise Oehl

Denise Oehl

Denise Oehl

Robert Oehl

Robert Oehl

Robert Oehl

Robert Oehl

Robert Oehl

Joseph Lawton

Joseph Lawton

Robert Palumbo

Peter Aaron

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Carleen Sheehan

Carleen Sheehan

Carleen Sheehan

Tamiko Kawata

Tamiko Kawata

Tamiko Kawata