Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Nocturnes": Review of "Night Lights" on Fine Arts L.A.com

The Nocturnes
Thursday, April 15th, 2010

What is it about cities in the night-time? Without fail, they seem to possess a kind of magical, haunting quality—the scattered matrices of illuminated office windows, the splash of light from a street-lamp upon a deserted intersection, the blurs of red and white night-traffic, the sharp shapes of buildings making shadows of moonlight on an empty sidewalk.

I suppose one could try to explain this beauty rationally; talk about how urban environments are designed for large masses of people, and how the nightly absence of such populations is bound to create a sense of surrealism. Or maybe how the necessity for artificial light in a city-setting reminds gazers of civilization’s simultaneous dominance and fragility. But I prefer to just look, and so do photographers Helen K. Garber, Ginny Mangrum, and Bill Sosin.

In their combined exhibition, entitled “Night Lights,” which is on view at the DNJ Gallery right by the intersection of Beverly and La Brea until May 1st, they have collectively opened their F-stops wide enough to capture the mysteries of life during night-time. The images range from abstract studies of light and shadow, to more relatable scenes of eerie desertion, where most people wouldn’t dare walk without an added quickness to their step.

Helen K. Garber, who is a member of the San Fransisco-based Nocturnes—a group of photographers dedicated to taking pictures at night—will be giving a talk at the gallery this Friday, April 17th at 5:00 PM as a part of the Miracle Mile Art Walk. Her photographs—mostly black-and-white urban landscapes—have been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and LA Weekly. She has exhibited all over the country, and been the recipient of numerous photography awards. So come out to hear what she has to say, browse the myriad images of night and light, then take a stroll around the rest of the art walk—if for no other reason than to enjoy the beauty of sunny Los Angeles when there is no sun.

“Night Lights” features photographs by Helen K. Garber, Ginny Mangrum, and Bill Sosin. The exhibition runs until May 1st at the DNJ Galley located at 154 1/2 La Brea Ave. Helen K. Garber will be speaking on Friday April 17th at 5:00 PM. For more information, call (323) 931-1311 or visit www.dnjgallery.net.

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