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BSoA Members’ Photography Show is diverse and exciting

City Hall: The home of Bermuda Society of the Arts (File photo by Mark Tatem)

The BSoA Members’ Photography Show is a spectacularly alluring exhibition.

The process of a juried show is subjective and this further fuels the debate around photography as art.

This show serves to remind us that photography is art because it reproduces moments full of its own reality. It freezes the time of events, emotions and beings.

One exciting objective of a juried show is to provide a venue for photographers of all standing and styles. It contextualises images for the photographer and the viewer with a relevancy that is accessible, but often defies definition and doesn’t act as a catalyst because idiomatic artistic ideas are voiced as a collective.

On one wall there is the innate lyricism and majesty in the images of Andrew Stevenson’s Dancing Whales that truly evoke a sense of awe and wonder. Clementine Keyes’ pieces are inventively whimsical with her satirical juxtapositions that border on animation in their compositions.

His-Biscus by Andrea Bolley is exquisite and delicately rendered. Alia Hamza’s Terry series speaks compellingly to personal story. There is beauty in the dismissed and disregarded. We are confronted with what is common in our humanity and simultaneously unique to us all.

Otto Trott’s Great Blue Heron Snakefish and Lisa Cano Rowland’s Peeping Lizard capture the immediacy of nature with impeccable timing — holding your attention with imaginative execution.

The complementary aesthetic sensibility of Kevin Simmons and Peter Aldrich is such as to suggest collusion with a tasteful hanging and placement of Before the Storm and Sunset. This, more than anything else in this show, gives rise to a curious notion about art — regardless of genre, if art contains certain elements it will resonate with you.

If there is a singular reason to attend this show, it is the Vortex of Colour by Karl Sternath. The style employed by Sternath demonstrates a conscious control of the expressionistic gestural abstraction that in many ways gives his work an elevation beyond the compositional spontaneity that renders most abstract expressionism vacuous in its thematic creativity.

This is not the case here. What Sternath forfeits with traditional representation he is able to capture with exciting colour complements and textures while generating an essence that borders on spiritual energy.

The strength of these pieces is their ability to elicit emotional responses as they simultaneously grab your attention while moving your eyes through the deep richness of colour.

It is debatable as to whether or not the Edinburgh Gallery is the right space for so many pieces of such voluminous intensity. It is like trying to watch a heavyweight boxing match in an elevator. This aside, the continuity of experience with each piece in not diminished.

It is readily evident that Deondre Cumberbatch has lofty aspirations in Unexplained, his collection of abstract images in Studio A. While there is an emphasised theme of creative expression, the design staggers somewhat in many of the pieces and the visual coherence is thin.

The attraction of the current BSoA show is that it does not adhere to a label as to what photography should be.

There is no ideology or organising principle of uniformity in the presentation of the images within the gallery.

This show’s diversity is an attraction in itself, which provides context and meaning to life’s representations on many levels. The single greatest value of this show is that contributing photographers present personal reflections, interpretations, opinions and experiences while leaving viewers to respond, consider and react to these artistic images.

While the BSoA may have been wobbled and lost points with the inclusion of images from a previous show, I still urge you to visit this one — it’s a knockout.

The BSoA Members’ Photography Show runs until January 28.