It was thrilling and energizing to be in a gallery full of exuberant people Friday evening in downtown Waterville. The Common Street Arts gallery was packed, with a steady flow of visitors cycling in and out. In addition to the people carefully inspecting the paintings of Gideon Bok and photographs by Gary Green, there were numerous clusters of people earnestly discussing the art on the walls, art in general, development of the arts in Waterville,
I was pleased to see Mayor Karen Heck present, numerous members of the Waterville Arts Collaborative advisory panel, of which I am a member, members of the Colby faculty, librarian Sarah Sugden, and many others. I enjoyed speaking with Project Coordinator Emilie Knight about the gallery's progress and programming. It's also exciting that people with associations to The Harlow Gallery and Center For Maine Craft were present, and that the event had brought in visitors from other communities. Word must have spread through the art grapevine.
I especially had a great time talking with photographer Gary Green about his work. The inkjet printing process he used for his large-format portraits completely fooled me. I would have sworn they were traditional gelatin silver prints. He informed me of the Epson inkjet printer he uses, capable of producing mind-blowing resolution and nuances of tone. I left feeling excited about photography again - contemplating pulling out and scanning my old prints from undergraduate school; or maybe even picking up the camera with artistic intent again after so many years. And it was a great to be talking with someone about darkroom processes, papers, digital and film cameras. I was flattered when Gary introduced me to someone as a graduate of the photography program at University of Arizona with some degree of esteem. My memories of it are not grandiose, being of poorly ventilated darkrooms squirreled away in a warren of basements. But lately I realize just how much four years of art education affected the way I think and view the world. And I'm glad for it. Those times seem so distant, and much of the knowledge has burrowed its way into hidey-holes in my brain where it is difficult to access, but conversing about matters like film sensitivity and paper tones started to reopen a lot of shuttered windows and let the light back in.