Opening July 17, Ben Montague and Emmi Whitehorse

Santa Fe, NM – Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art announces two solo shows running concurrently July 17 – August 8, 2009, Benjamin Montague’s Fingerprints and Emmi Whitehorse’s Forth, with the opening reception Friday, July 17 from 5 to 8 pm.

Benjamin Montague: Fingerprints 

Fingerprints explores the relationship between people and environment in a series of close-up photographs. Each image captures the unique identifying marks we leave on everything our hands touch: from paper towel dispensers, to wine bottles, to library books. Fingerprints are an enduring legacy of our tactile interactions, however brief, with the objects we encounter. Ohio based artist, Benjamin Montague, Assistant Professor of Photography at Wright University, uses traditional fingerprinting techniques to bring forth the unique signatures we impress upon the world around us, then he photographs them and prints them on sheets of rice paper. The thin, opaque quality of the paper lends his images a ghostly appearance that heightens the sense of their latent qualities: an aspect of the dusting technique of fingerprinting that shares a sensibility with photographic development. Montague has previously explored techniques of direct photography such as tintypes where an image is captured on a metal, film-coated plate. The process of revealing latent fingerprints substitutes impression by light with that of touch. The pits and valleys evident in each print add depth to the images and they begin to take on attributes suggesting landscapes. Montague’s Fingerprint Series explores the dialogues between art and science, micro and macrocosm, the organic and the inorganic, and transient interaction and lasting impression.

Emmi Whitehorse: Forth 

Internationally known artist, Emmi Whitehorse continues her explorations into line, form, and color in a show of oil and chalk pastels that are suggestive of the infinite spaces within where quickly rendered shapes, some recognizable and some hinting at things recognizable,  drift in an expressionistic ocean of subtle contrasts. The drawn images are inspired by the forms in nature, sometimes colored but sketched without too much detail. Whitehorse achieves a sense of depth and luminosity through gentle shifts in tone. The colors heighten or soften the shapes moving through them, lending some a vivid feeling of thereness while others convey a feeling of becoming, of emerging. Whitehorse achieves a rich emotional quality in her work through her applications of vibrant colors and balanced interplay of lights and darks. One regards her work as peering into the depths of the sea or into broad landscapes as remembered and visualized in the mind, behind closed eyes where forms dance and jump before us in an amorphous setting. Meditative and harmoniously balanced, Whitehorse‘s oils form the backdrop from which the lilting shapes in her work come forth: ideas rendered visible, recalling the inherent aesthetics of nature.