Paige Magistrelli's "Iowa Sunset" in “The Photographic Exploration Project" at the Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy through February 25.

Friday, February 5, 5:30 p.m.

Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, 2967 State Street, Bettendorf IA

With its first photography exhibit since the venue opened in the summer of 2017, Bettendorf's Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy treats guests to 43 works from 23 area artists in the February 5 opening reception for The Photographic Exploration Project, with the included artists ranging “from very talented hobbyists to those that are professional,” according to gallery owner Pat Beréskin. “For our first call to entry for photography, we are quite pleased with the quality of the results.”

Having worked with the Riverbend Photo and Video Club on encouraging members to participate in The Photographic Exploration Project, Beréskin says, “I have long admired the photography of our local artists. Watching them record the eagles on the water on the most bitter cold day, or capture the workmen at the I-74 Bridge site on the hottest of days. How wonderful for all of us to be able to reflect on the beauty of the world during these challenging times.” All styles and techniques were welcome for the open call, including experimental, documentary, portrait, travel, cityscapes or any other approaches to photography, with Beréskin's entry form stating: “We look forward to discovering new visions of photography through the artist’s most personal approaches to image making as they capture what they are most passionate about.”

Featured in the exhibit are works by: Greg Boll, Tim Bradenburg, Jay Brooks, Pamela Crouch, Naidine D'Angelo, Tina Dominicus, Michael Fitzgerald, Cari Henson, Jen Hunt, Dan Lee, Joe Macjiejko, Paige Magistrelli, Kent Marcek, Odin McDonald, Sarah McVey, Laura Mullens, Connie Nagel, Ines Romero, Darcy Rostenbach, Kristel Saxton, Paula Scherbroeck, Ravindra Sudhindra, and Ken Urban. The participating artists were chosen by a jury of photographers and curators headed by photographers Heidi Brandt and Barry Sharp.

Joe Maciejko's "Le Boef Sur Le Toit" in “The Photographic Exploration Project"

“I love taking and looking at photos,” says Brandt. “The photos that capture my attention are those that give me a glimpse inside the mind or heart of the artist. Through their use of composition, color, light, viewpoint, subject matter, etc., the artist elicited an emotional response from me. The photos that I selected made me pause to wonder, admire, question, laugh and be inspired. It's what I aspire to when I press the shutter.”

Adds Sharp, “When a look at any photograph, including my own, I ask 'Does it generate any emotions in me? Does it make me think? Does it tell a story?' It could be a fabulous photograph technically, but if I have seen the same shot a hundred times, from the same location, it doesn’t generate any emotions in me. The photograph should offer something new, or a unique perspective from the artist. A simple test I always give myself when I see other artists work: Do I say, ‘I wish I had taken that photograph'?”

The opening reception for The Photographic Exploration Project will be held at 5:30 p.m. on February 5, with face masks and safe-distancing measures required, and the exhibition itself is on display through February 25. Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the venue also open by appointment, and more information on the exhibition and its reception is available by calling (563)508-4630 and visiting BereskinArtGallery.com.

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