His gallery space is modest and boxy, his personality defined by a bone-dry wit. But anyone with any doubt as to the outsize impact of Charles Hartman on the Portland art scene need only take in Shine, his winter group show, to realize just how good this gallery is. Not only does Shine feature historically important photographers (see Cornell Capa’s photo of Pablo Picasso holding an umbrella over his muse Françoise Gilot), he has also cultivated an impressive stable of living photographers, including Portland-based Corey Arnold. Arnold’s haunting print,Conversation, turns two buildings into ominous blocks of color that recall the elemental paintings of Ellsworth Kelly. Add in artists who work in media other than photography, such as painter Hayley Barker and mixed-media guru Anna Fidler, and you have a stunning cross section of geography, time and artistic practice.
"Suda’s framing is precise. He reins in subjects and makes them stand out, lit up not only by serendipitous lighting but also by an expression, a movement or an odd angle. More importantly, unlike snapshot photography, whose purpose is to familiarize the viewer with an experience, emotion or personality, Suda’s images do the exact opposite. They de-familiarize the subject by means of unusual viewpoints, uncomfortably cropped compositions, fractionally mistimed shots, strong textural contrasts and little or no explanation. While other photographers attempted to expose the extraordinary traits of familiar sights, objects and people, Suda took away the context to reveal innate extraordinariness."
There is at least superficially an unavoidable contradiction in thinking of a body of photographs as being both gentle and intense, and yet the characteristic tension that colours the unique, seductive attractions of Mark Steinmetz’s work has so much to with ostensibly opposing forces or contradictory qualities — forces which are reconciled within the images without dogma, remaining both lucid and essentially enigmatic.
Eva Speer's works at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art in Portland, Oregon, demonstrate the artist mixing the expressive qualities of abstraction and minimalism with a rich materiality. The fourteen works in Alone Together (all 2013) combine the cool sensibility of synthetic materials with candy colors and natural forms, and the effect is often impressive.