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New Photos and Paintings by Jennifer Fendya, Bruce Philip Bitmead, and Jeff Freier at Starlight Studio and Gallery

Jennifer Fendya's "Syrinx."
Bruce Phillip Bitmead's "The Falls at Niagara."

Location, Location, Location

An artistic landscape offers a view out of one’s limited frame of reality—sometimes a narrow definition of reality reproducing the ordinary world, at other times presenting an alternate reality, the challenging otherness of dreams.

This trio of artists has taken a trope of the real estate business and placed it firmly in the imagistic realm, both aesthetic and poetic. Rilke’s quote, “From here there is no place that does not see you,” is brought to mind when viewing the strikingly serene photographs of Jennifer Fendya. This series of archival ink jet prints derive from images caught on camera mid-Christmas morning a year ago at Tifft Nature Preserve and presents the momentary order of nature caught in the artist’s viewfinder. Rigorously observed and yet tender depictions of natural settings framed subtly, Fendya’s work is neither escapist nor literal. The image titles refer to classical mythology, leaving an overall impression of having revealed something of the psychological domain: Titles such as Demeter’s Daughter, lung shadows possibly refer to an awareness of mother-daughter mysteries, while Sidereal I and II, concern issues of time measured by the apparent daylight movement of the stars.

Tendril-like reflections of trees, the pebbling of water in rain, the surface glaze of light and shadow fixed in these photographs create textured abstract views, mirroring the sense in which Rilke meant “location” as one’s own field of contemplation.

Where the character of a place defines “location,” Bruce Philip Bitmead’s cool palette of blues, greys, and ochre situate the viewer at a distance to observe in his paintings a visually weighted presence of structure. The immutable forces of nature seen from the vantage point of an artist marveling at his opportunity to witness in paint the classical balance of forces between Apollonian order and Dionysian chaos, Bitmeade’s evocative paintings securely interlock the formal elements of structure, surface and content.

Jeff Freier’s exuberant display of landscape vignettes create a cosmos-like array of images that might have been torn from a tourist brochure of Buffalo and Erie County. His painted and photographed works summarily detail familiar views of the city and surrounding seasonal landscapes, and absolutely epitomize a sense of “location.” Both playful and unabashedly optimistic the positive energy evident in his work is an admirable contribution to an exhibition of three friends with different sensibilities.

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