Photography Invitational Graces Beach Haven Borough Hall

Reception With Photographers Is Dec. 15
By PAT JOHNSON | Dec 05, 2018
Photo by: Paul Hartelius TIME OFF: ‘Fleet Furlough,’ by Paul Hartelius, depicts a commercial fishing dock in view of Barnegat Lighthouse.

Beach Haven and Pine Shores Art Association present Photography Invitational, an exhibit in Beach Haven Borough Hall, which is being promoted as Long Beach Island’s newest fine art gallery. Twenty-seven photographers exhibit 92 photographs on both floors of the impressive new building.

Six of the photographers: Lester Majkowicz, George Mattei, Virginia Rice, Catherine Robertson, Kristen Salek and Sally Vennel are featured artists, each showing ten examples of their work. Others were invited to exhibit one or two photos. Most of the examples highlight the beauty and aesthetic possibilities of Long Beach Island and environs.

Leading off the show is “Ice Meets Fog at Polly’s Dock” by local David Robert Gurtcheff, a second-generation fine arts photographer. Anyone who has been in Buckalew’s Bar and Restaurant will recognize the work and name: Buckalew’s serves as his gallery. A lifelong Beach Haven resident, Gurtcheff is always on the lookout for exciting weather events and subtle lighting in some of the more rustic parts of LBI. Examples of work by his father, Anthony – and a moving account of how a chance meeting with a neighbor after Superstorm Sandy put his father’s negatives in David’s hands – are on display in the foyer. Take the time to read it.

Rice is another Beach Haven resident and her 10 examples are split between color and black and white digital images, mostly of birds in flight. Her sepia-colored “Bogs Thirteen” invokes the mystery of the Pine Barrens. “Chili Man” is a close-up of a homeless man happy with his meal, which evokes not merely sympathy but the simplicity of needs.

Patti Kelly’s two works are printed on archival watercolor paper for a richness of color and effect. “Beach Grass” is a horizontal print taken at ground level – the photographer was obviously lying in the grass. “Off Shore” is of a surfer meeting the waves. Kelly, a life-long Island vacationer and former SandPaper photographer, gives us the sensation of rolling in grass and sea.

Majkowicz is a magazine photographer who searches for the abstract in objects. “Encrusted,” salt-covered pilings, and “Zebra Shadows” are just two fine examples.

Pine Shores Art Association artist Paul Hartelius must have visited Viking Village many times for inspiration. For “Fleet Furlough,” he chose a bright, blue day to bounce off the rust-colored hulls of the fishing boats. It’s good to have an artist’s knowledge of colors and design always in one’s pocket.

Ryan Paul Marchese used a biplane to take his “Sandcrawler” and “Greetings from LBI” shots.

Subtle color is the strength of Vennel’s lovely images. One could easily wile away an hour or so in meditation over “Skier’s Dream” or “Anvil Clouds and Dunes.” My favorite was “Mariner’s Nationals,” a photograph that passes for a 19th century landscape painting.

Salek learned photography from her father and grandfather. She attended Parsons School of Design to hone her skills, and later opened her own “Nerdy Girl Graphics Studio.” Her attention focused on the edge of the sea: the foam, shells and seaweed for her 10 images.

Mattei gives an extra boast to his images by printing them on metal. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in NYC and works in advertising. “Two Fishing Boats in Viking Village” was enhanced digitally to make the rigging look like a pen and ink drawing – very interesting effect. And his “Old Barney Staircase” is a graphic depiction that grabs attention.

The SandPaper’s own award-winning photojournalist Ryan Morrill has one evocative shot in the show. “Taylor Avenue Sunset” says summer at the shore.

The last, but not least, featured photographer, Robertson, looked for imperfections in her visual language to make her images unique. My favorite is “Lights on the Boardwalk,” a montage of multiple shots of a Ferris wheel.

The public is invited to a reception with the photographers on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The show can also be seen during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Jan. 6 at Beach Haven Borough Hall, South Bay and Engleside avenues. Most of the photos are for sale. An exhibit guide and a bio flip book both list contact information for the photographers.


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