Studio Proof: "Beyond Photography" presents stellar diversion

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Some may be surprised that a municipal office, in Upper Arlington no less, actually holds exciting exhibits. As someone who’s lived in the area for over five years now, I’ve been aware of the Concourse Gallery at 3600 Tremont Ave. but I — mea culpa — wasn’t fully aware of the breathtaking art displayed in the space.

And I surely wasn’t prepared for the powerful exhibit, “Beyond Photography,” that’s currently in the gallery through June 26.

“Beyond Photography” brings together seven local creatives — Helen Hoffelt, Kathy McGhee, Duncan Snyder, Steve Elbert, Hiroshi Hayakawa, Denny Griffith and Barb Vogel — who’ve literally taken the photography medium beyond expectations.

Each artist presents a series of photos — although, I hesitate to call them that because it doesn’t do the work justice— that destroy, uplift, expose and deconstruct the medium. Yes, I know this sounds like hyperbole. It’s not.

Let’s first start with the multi-media piece one could quite possibly miss, as it’s a humble box sitting on a nondescript table. Inside this box is Hiroshi Hayakawa’s bizarre and beautiful creation. (I wouldn’t show you an image of it — if I could — because it’s too much of a visceral experience.)

All I will say — as you really must engage it — is next to Hayakawa’s box is a timer. Turn it, and peer through the peephole. Be amazed.

It’s impossible to top Hayakawa’s piece, part of his kinetic sculpture series “Peepshows,” but there’s nothing to overlook here. Even the abstracted images captured on an iPhone (by Griffith) are stellar in their construction.

Another personal favorite was Hoffelt’s tactile representation of a graveyard statue (pictured). The image itself is compelling — offering the unimaginable combination of serenity and the macabre — but the subtle and immensely affecting gradients cut the soul.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Vogel’s portraits, and not just because I saw some familiar (local artist) faces. Her process is too involved to describe here, but the ethereal sitters are moving.