Shake off your winter blues at Panopticon Gallery’s exhibition of contemporary cyanotypes, Shades of Blue. Featuring the work of Jesseca Ferguson, Stephen Sheffield, Christina Z. Anderson, Emma Powell, Cynthia MacCollum, Andrew Seguin, and Jacek Gonsalves, this exhibition embraces old and new as contemporary photographers use techniques of the past to produce brilliantly blue works of art inspired by the natural world.
Originating in the 19th century, the cyanotype was invented by Sir John Herschel. One of the earliest photographic processes, paper coated with an iron-salt solution and developed by sunlight produces a rich, Prussian blue color. The simplicity of the process made the cyanotype a favorite among amateur photographers through the turn of the last century. Cyanotypes are now in revival and contemporary photographers are embracing the bluehues, as well as experimenting with toning techniques for a moody, otherworldly aesthetic.
Many of the photographs on view involve narrative, like Andrew Seguin’s cyanotypes inspired by Herman Melville’s classic “Moby Dick.” Removing the text from the book, he leaves the punctuation to act as stars, over which he collages illustrations from various editions of the novel. Using themselves as subjects, both Emma Powell and Stephen Sheffield construct scenes of fantasy and wanderlust. Images of the moon are printed beneath silvery Farsi script from the novel “The Scorpion” in Jesseca Ferguson’s cyanotypes toned with rose petals, wood ash, and clay. The other artists in the show are inspired by the world around them. Christina Z. Anderson’s photographs of invasive plants taking over roadside landscapes compliment Jacek Gonsalves’ immaculately-rendered studies of flora and Cynthia MacCollum’s photograms of plant life.
SHADES OF BLUE
Andrew Seguin, Stephen Sheffield, Cynthia MacCollum, Emma Powell, Christina Z. Anderson, Jacek Gonsalves, Jesseca Ferguson
March 5 – April 30
Reception: Thursday, March 21, 6-8pm
502 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215