After years as assistant and then associate curator of the Film/Video program at the Wexner Center, Chris Stults recently cut his teeth on judging the still form of captured imagery for "ImageOHIO."
"I've never done something like this with photography," explained the latest juror of ROY G BIV's annual showcase for Ohio-made still and video works, presented at the Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery.
Stults reviewed selections and juror statements from previous installments in addition to this year's artist submissions. Unlike some before him, he opted not to focus on a unifying theme.
"I tried to present a range of what was submitted, the best of different types. Showing the diversity of what's being created is the best thing you can do," he said.
This includes a landscape by W.E. Arnold, portraits by Nick Fancher, a series of works by Rebecca Holbrook that takes sharing food pictures back in time via traditional printing and comments typed on index cards, and miniature abstracts by Lizz Stringfield. Stringfield's vague forms are as intriguing as the works' title: "After the ceremony, I took my hand. We climbed into the distributary which was rapidly growing with extremefiles and curiosity harborors."
Nonetheless, a theme did emerge among some of Stults' favorite photography.
"There's a sense of absence, of getting by with what remains, that felt really palpable," he said.
It's reflected in prints of clothes without bodies by Francis Schanberger and Ardine Nelson's probe of the echoes of humanity left in an abandoned home in Franklinton, as well as in a field scene by Jack McGilvray appropriately titled "Ground without figure or sky."
Stults expressed a wish that more video artists had submitted to this year's show. He also spoke enthusiastically about one of the two selected artists.
Chanika Svetvilas, a veteran of the Wex's 2011 edition of Ohio Shorts, presents two works that brim with emotional and visual rawness, fueled by senseless real-life tragedy and the limitations of a Blackberry's video camera.
According to Stults, "They're accomplished in a ragged way. That texture becomes a key part of the work. It felt like a cri de coeur, and a very empathetic worldview."
Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery
Jan. 26-Feb. 24 (Reception 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26)
546 Jack Gibbs Blvd., Discovery District