Photography exhibition opens at Sweet Briar Sept. 18

| September 12, 2008

Richmond-based photographer Regula Franz will exhibit a collection of her photographs from Sept. 18 through Dec. 5 in the Babcock Fine Arts Center Gallery at Sweet Briar College. There will be an opening reception and gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Photographer Regula Franz captured “Boy on Yak Hide,” during a trip through Nepal. Pigment dye print, 17½ by 28 inches. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

Franz, who came to the United States from Switzerland as an exchange student at the University of Virginia and later earned a Master of Fine Arts in photography from Virginia Commonwealth University, is a documentary photographer and instructor.

She has traveled widely, including a seminal yearlong trek through Southeast Asia and Nepal. Her photographs from the journey resulted in two solo shows, “Signs of Immortality” and “Sacred Encounters.”

The quiet, private moments often captured in the images, described on her Web site as the “daily rituals and unfamiliar customs all over the globe,” interest Franz for their potential to transcend borders and cultures. In her artist statement, she writes of a stillness she finds in the ordinary routines, which imply “universal connections, or sacred encounters.”

Franz will show selections from “Sacred Encounters” along with six images from “In the Dreamtime.” The latter is a work in progress, from images she edited and printed in 2007. The photographs were taken in Costa Rica and Vietnam.

“The Dreamtime describes the Aboriginal understanding of the world, its creation and stories,” Franz writes in her artist statement. “Being on the move for most of my adult life, I am interested in the emotional impact specific places and surroundings have, and how memory, dream and illusion are guiding my vision.

“Tibetan Buddhist traditions don’t distinguish between reality and dream states, all is one. I try to work with this concept, and welcome the specific freedom it holds.”

The “In the Dreamtime” prints are large, ranging from “Terasse” (veranda), which measures 33 by 42 inches to the 56- by 42-inch “Moskitonetz” (mosquito net). Franz used pigment dye on Crane Museo Silver Rag paper with archival Ultrachrome K3 ink on an Epson 9800.

For “Sacred Encounters,” the artist used pigment dye on Premier Art ultra smooth paper. The images are smaller, generally 17½ by 28 inches.

In making her prints, Franz appreciates the ability to create the textures and depth that she says were missing from color papers of the past.

“Crafting my own prints, I wanted to create a tangible plane, velvety even, where the viewer can enter space, or attach to,” she wrote in reference to her work on “Sacred Encounters.” “The multitudes of newly developed digital fine art papers offered vast territory to explore, and printing has grown into a passion.”

Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Friday and 1 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Admission is free and tours are available on request. For more information, contact Sweet Briar art galleries director Karol Lawson at klawson@sbc.edu or call (434) 381-6248.

– By Jennifer McManamay, SBC staff writer

Category: Art Galleries, Studio Art