The shows at Blue Sky, one of my favorite Portland galleries, have been a little *meh* the past few months. It’s unfortunate too, because as a non-profit they are one of the few major galleries in Portland with curators who are willing to take risks and not simply rely on easy-to-sell decorative art.
This month however, Blue Sky is back on top of their game. The two shows they currently have up for the month of July are both excellent. While I am not shocked to find how much I liked photographer Amy Stein’s highly choreographed images of taxidermied animals invading suburbia (more on her in a later post), it was the Chinese city scape photographs of Ferit Kuyas’ City of Ambition series that I found the most surprisingly alluring.
As a theme, I generally find architectural still life kind of un-dynamic. It usually falls into the trap of becoming either overly precious and decorative (sunsets over San Fran) or hard and documentative (spreads in Surface magazine). While both styles of architectural photography hold a certain level of importance, neither does much to actually inspire a viewer to experience the image at a deeper level.
However, Turkish photographer Ferit Kuyas refreshingly creates a style all his own. Kuyas’ images of the Chinese city of Chongqing feel immediately noir-like and full of secrets. Paradoxically, where noir style art examines the hidden truths lying in the shadows, Kuyas manages to create a similar intrigue in the overcast vast expanses of nearly empty white space that occupies most of his photographs. It is not hard to imagine the hidden underbelly and tragic stories lurking in the mist of Kuyas’ vision of Chongqing.
I highly recommend heading down to Blue Sky this month to experience theCity of Ambition in person. The large scale of the images as well as the sense of immersion experienced by being physically surrounded by these photographs is well worth the trip. You can also check out most of the images from the show at Ferit Kuyas’ website.