If a picture is worth 1,000 words, there are at least 50,000 ways to describe the Warburton Gallery at the Triton Museum of Art. From now until August 10, the best of the best in photography are on display at the museum’s 2014 Statewide Photography Competition and Exhibition show.
New this year, is a Curators’ Choice Award of Merit, given to two-time Statewide Painting Competition and Exhibition winner Cuong Nguyen for his photograph “Eve.” Nguyen has proven himself to be a master of paints and pastels, but is equally gifted behind the lens. “Eve” is an image of a young, bare-shouldered brunette, with her hair in a messy updo. She looks away from the camera, eyes focused on something to her left. It’s a raw image, appearing to be printed straight from the camera. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and a stunning portrayal of a woman.
Taking the first place award, and the recipient of a solo show at the Triton in winter 2016 is Elaine Heron’s “Venice Dawn.” Blue gondolas sit at a Venice dock, with a pastel-colored sky and buildings serving as the backdrop. A masked woman, in a filigree adorned gown, stands with her hands at her chest and looks away from the camera, focusing on something to her right. The visual is stunning and eye catching, as the image stands out in the sea of competition entries.
Playing with perception, this year’s second place winner is Tony Williams’ “24th St. 5:00 a.m. New Year Day.” The photograph is exactly what the title indicates – a San Francisco street at 5 a.m., lit only by the glow of streetlamps. From afar, it’s a peaceful image of the city’s Mission District. The shops are closed and a single person, walking away from the camera, is crossing Florida Street. On closer inspection, Williams has manipulated his photo, framing the image on an angle so that the viewer’s eyes gravitate toward the center of the piece, which pulls them in. It was something different and new that Triton judges Chief Curator Preston Metcalf, and Curators Ester Fernandez and Stephanie Learmonth hadn’t seen before in competition, thus making it an award-winner.
Also hitting a high note is third place winner Jeff Owen’s “For Good Measure.” Owen, a metal art sculptor, painter and photographer, went abstract with his entry. A red, rounded square centers the photograph, with a smaller cup-shaped object inside the square. The top of a Phillips head screw can be seen instead the cup. Circular shapes, of various sizes, are found throughout the image. It looks more like a painting than a photograph, and the creativity might just be one of the reasons Owen grabed the third top spot.
Honorable mentions have been awarded to the Santa Clara Weekly’s Larry Sacks for his photograph, “Anticipation,” Metro reporter Gary Singh’s “Mekong River,” Barbara B. Collins’ “Suleymaniye Cami: Istanbul,” Chester Ng’s “Incandescence,” Erica Freeman’s “Barbed Wire Angel,” Andrew Ewald’s “Stacked,” Marj Green’s “Napkins and Salt,” Rick Whitacre’s “Moonrise over Black Rock Playa,” Terry Kreiter’s “Ambergris Nocturne,” and Virginia Draper’s “Winter Storm.”
The Triton Museum of Art is at 1505 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara. Visit www.tritonmuseum.org/exhibitions_photographycompetition_2014.php for more information.