For the first time in its 13-year history the Hopewell-based Gallery 14 has created an exhibition outside of its home.
Gallery 14 is a co-operative gallery made up of 11 photographers who participate in a series of rotating exhibits, sponsor exhibitions by guest photographers, and host an annual juried show that attracts entries from across the country.
The group started with as an informal meeting of photographers to discuss photography and share ideas. When the thought of becoming a gallery came about, they took up residence in what has been their current home on the second floor of 14 Mercer Street in Hopewell.
Now nine artists from the gallery are exhibiting in “A Gallery 14 Sampler,” a wide variety of photographic styles on exhibit at the Chauncey Center at Educational Testing Service on Rosedale Road.
Martha Weintraub, president of Gallery 14, says, “We’re delighted that the Chauncey Center Gallery, which has an excellent reputation, has asked our members to show there. Gallery 14 is a small gem of a home for photographic art. But, of course it’s in one fixed place, so we’re happy and eager to take our work to a broader audience.”
Most Gallery 14 members came to photography after long careers in other fields and turned their interests in the medium into a viable avenue to challenge and express themselves.
Weintraub’s introduction to photography came when a friend gave her a high quality camera. In 2005 an original gallery member encouraged her to submit a portfolio. She did and subsequently became a member.
A political science major in college, Weintraub was involved in textbook publishing. As an editor she chose photographs for the spreads in textbooks. She has seen her work grow since her association with Gallery 14. “There’s something very satisfying about putting together a show. For me it has encouraged me to try new things. You can’t put up the same photos all the time. Try new techniques. It’s been very good for my imagination. Members usually put on a show about once a year and having that kind of deadline is very good.”
Princeton resident Larry Parsons had been an amateur photographer for more than 30 years. Through his friendship with some members who started the gallery, he was invited as a guest to have an exhibition. His career in the finance industry had kept him from devoting time to being a member, but the opportunity to exhibit coincided with his retirement, and at the end of the exhibition an invitation to join the gallery was extended. He says becoming a member “motivated me to do more work and ways of thinking and exhibition while filling a portfolio.” He sites Princeton photographer Ricardo Barros as a major influence. He encouraged him to think differently, think outside the box.
Parsons’ entree into photography came about when his wife gave him a film camera for a gift and the following year a gift to take a photography class. He built a darkroom in his home and worked with film until digital became mature and workable enough for him to switch.
The images on view at ETS were from a trip to Africa where he became fascinated with the children there. He is also exhibiting work at Gallery 14 in Hopewell through March.
Other artists participating in the “Gallery 14 Sampler” at ETS include Carl Geisler and Richard Trenner, both from Princeton. Trenner says, “As a photographer I attempt to record the details in the world that most are too busy to see, to provide a moment of pause and reflection and ultimately, an appreciation of the beauty around us. Whether I am creating a still life composition or traveling to places that most will never visit, I strive to present an image that the viewer will connect with.” He works in both color and black and white. For nine years, he was a lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, where he set up and conducted the writing center.
Charles Miller of Ringoes presents work that is strongly abstract in its approach and views that are architectural in their feel. Martin Schwartz of Cranbury provides glimpses of the many places he has traveled. His work represents more a personal viewpoint than travelogue.
Skillman resident Rhoda Kassof-Isaac’s work is heavily influenced by painting, using color in broad strokes. Theresa Hood of Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County, is a freelance photographer who established her practice once her children were grown. She mentions Ansel Adams as an influence on her work.
Also included are the works of Ken Kaplowitz. Well known as a professor in the School of the Arts & Communication at the College of New Jersey, he has work in the permanent collections of Johnson & Johnson, the New Jersey State Museum, Seton Hall University, Montclair State University, the Printmaking Council of New Jersey, and the Montana Museum of Art and Culture.
Gallery 14’s support for its members is apparent in the way they speak of the relationships they have had with their art. It is a place to be challenged and motivated. They are a tight group, and members are devoted to photography as a serious pursuit. Gallery 14 is unique: it is one of the only co-ops in New Jersey devoted exclusively to photography.
Gallery 14 seeks guest exhibitors as well as prospective new members and exhibits a wide range of photographic styles and techniques, from alternative processes such as platinum-palladium to contemporary digital imaging. They have encouraged both color and black-and-white photographers to submit portfolios that should consist of 10 to 15 images and should demonstrate the photographer’s ability to produce a body of work representing a single coherent theme or should present an ongoing photographic project, suitable for an exhibit. The portfolio should reflect the photographer’s artistry and original creative expression.
Among the other ideas the Gallery is pursuing is to establish a scholarship for college bound students.
All-in-all one gets the sense that the membership finds the co-op experience a great motivation to keep their work current, and a great place to explore new ideas and pursue new goals, like this exhibition.
Chauncey Center Gallery (at Educational Testing Service), 660 Rosedale Road, Princeton. Suggested viewing times 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (tavern opens at 4 p.m.). 609-921-3600.
Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. 609-333-8511 or www.photogallery14.com.
Aubrey J. Kauffman teaches photography at Middlesex County College and is the gallery manager of Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts.