A photography exhibit uses the children's game of `Telephone' as a model to interpret various pieces.

Relaying `Messages'

Howard Live

Arts and entertainment in Howard County

September 02, 2005|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Rebecca Bafford, director of the Columbia Art Center Galleries, met photographers Maili Godwin and Jason Stoner while they were mountain biking in Patapsco Valley State Park last summer. "There aren't a lot of mountain bikers who are artists," Bafford said.

She was so taken with the couple that she asked them to curate a show in the gallery, which is in Long Reach Village Center. The gallery had not had a photography exhibit in a while, Bafford said, and "I just told them they could come up with anything they wanted."

The result, Mixed Messages, features two series of photographs - 30 in all - based on the childhood game of "Telephone." In the game, a message is whispered from one person to another, and the end message is always completely different.

For the exhibit, each artist was given a photograph and asked to interpret it. Then the next photographer would interpret that one.

The interpretations could be based on almost anything, Godwin said. "It could be literal; it could be figurative; it could be color," she said.

The images offer insight into how photographers look at images. On one side of the gallery, the first photograph, taken by Godwin, is of her black and white cat, Figaro, dressed in a pink ballerina tutu and pink cap. (Figaro has since died, Godwin said, so the photograph is a memorial of sorts.) The next photograph, taken by Richard Allen, shows a woman wearing a pink headband.

Somewhere in the middle, a photograph of a blue vase is interpreted as a woman's torso wrapped in blue cling wrap. A rainbow in the corner of one photograph becomes a rainbow-shaped Lucky Charms marshmallow on the tongue of a scruffy-looking man in the next image. By the end of the series, a child's sandy knee is emerging from murky water.

The other series begins with Stoner's photograph of a gold Buddha in a local store crowded with knickknacks. Several images in a row pick up on the religious theme, showing churches and crosses.

"Jason was really surprised because when he took that he wasn't really thinking about religion," Godwin said. The final image shows a brass-knuckled hand - a far cry from a Buddha.

Stoner and Godwin collected the images from local artists, plus a few from New York, starting in February. Each photographer was given two weeks to create the image and send it along to the next photographer. "I've always loved when artists are working together," Godwin said.

Brafford said Godwin and Stoner would not let her see the photographs until the show was up last weekend. When she did, she said, "I was just really, really impressed."

The Columbia Art Center is at 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia. The show, which runs through Oct. 9, will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. A reception will be held for the artists from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 24. Information: 410-730-0075.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.