Gallery 234, located in the Union, is currently displaying photographs by John Fink, Jr. and F. R. Olveda.
“Images of Conscience” and “Circles” are unlike anything I have ever seen. Although vastly different, both exhibits can evoke substantial viewer reaction.
John Fink Jr.’s “Images of Conscience” cover a wide range of topics including: religion, politics, racism, birth and death.
“Circles” is F. R. Olveda’s interpretation of Dante’s nine circles of hell.
“Circles” can be viewed as dark and disturbing, but Olveda’s goal was to provide a primitive approach to the original illustrations for “Inferno” that are easier to understand.
“There were two separate artists, when usually there is only one artist for each exhibit. The artists had similar styles and used Photoshop to transform the photos,” Sarah Brown, gallery coordinator, said.
John Fink Jr.’s “Images of Conscience” utilize vibrant colors and unexpected perspectives to display certain messages that truly make the viewer think. I liked the fact that Fink boldly covered a wide variety of controversial topics. A few photos stuck out in particular.
The photo titled “Racial Divide” creates an impact because it addresses the subject of interracial dating, showing an African American male and Caucasian female superimposed over fireworks.
The fireworks that separate the couple could be viewed as a representation of America and its disapproval of interracial dating.
Fink’s “Into the Unknown” is a bright, kaleidoscopic photo depicting a pair of hands reaching out into what appears to be a web. The photo is an interesting take on exploring the unfamiliar.
I personally related to “Into the Unknown” because, like many college students, I have not chosen a career path yet. I am still working out the kinks to discover what I am truly passionate about.
“Hell’s Nursery” on the other hand, is a very dark image of wicked-looking doll heads in a room. I did not understand the message of the photograph or how it fit into the theme of the exhibit.
I felt Olveda’s “Circles” are dark, dramatic, shocking, and downright creepy. However, when taking a closer look at the photos, the viewer can see the intricate details and subtle superimposed images in each photo.
The faces and bodies with looks of pain, despair and terror first made me uncomfortable and disturbed.
Gaining an understanding of Olveda’s intention and interpretation of the work, the exhibit began to make sense and seemed almost perfect.
Olveda nails the isolation, sadness, and pain that is often associated with Hell. One picture in particular, “Number 13,” depicts a man kneeling and clutching himself as if he is freezing; the picture is splattered with what looks like blood. This photo represents absolute loneliness and sadness to me. It causes the viewer pity the subject.
Another standout photo, titled “Number 16,” is a close-up of a face with the mouth open, looking terrified. The image is superimposed over other nondescript objects successfully creating a haunting feeling.
Overall, the exhibit effectively makes the viewer sit back and think. The two artists had different themes and messages they wanted to express but ultimately had similar styles that tied the exhibit together as a whole.
“I enjoyed them,” Brown said about the exhibit photos.
“They were different from anything else we have had. It was clear what the artists were trying to express. I like how the photos are open to different interpretations.”