Cars and Colors is the third exhibit that Bruce Elling, Amy Palermo and Beth Quattrociocchi have had in the Neuberger Gallery at Image City Photography Gallery. Their previous shows were the result of two distinct “photo field trips” to the city of Buffalo, New York. While those collections were connected by a particular location, the group of photos in Cars and Colors has a different direction. A general automotive theme provides connection to many images; for example classic cars, a parking garage and vintage vehicles left to rust. Additionally, as art educators, present (Amy and Beth) and retired (Bruce) the Elements and Principles of Design have always played a major role in their teaching as well as their personal creative efforts. The body of work in “Cars and Colors” gives focus to those design elements; specifically in color, shape, texture and line. Prior to retirement, Bruce, taught with Amy and Beth at Pittsford Sutherland High School. Amy continues to teach at Sutherland, and Beth is now teaching in Mendon High School. It seems appropriate to display these photographs in the Neuberger Gallery, as Dan Neuberger’s work was always a Master Class in the use of design.
Amy is drawn to shapes and colors, especially in design (eg. old cars), as well as natural, organic forms like flowers. Amy says that the pieces the group chose to display “all work well together. They are unified by their bright colors, yet they contrast nicely between the shiny and rusty or the linear and circular elements. For example, it is the shiny in my photos that contrasts with Beth’s rusty, and the circular elements that contrast with Bruce’s linear elements.”
An example of this is seen in Amy’s Gallery Pick entitled Mater. The vibrant red hues of the rusted car stand out vividly against the shiny tones of the taillights, which have withstood the passing of time, with just hints of rust shown on the screws.
The collection includes images from various photo shoots that the group has done together; for example, locations such as the British Auto, car shows, downtown Canandaigua and the Strong Museum. As the three photographers began to curate images that they believed worked well together, Bruce was the first to recognize the automotive theme, even though that was not their initial theme or intent.
Beth says she “is always amazed by what Bruce can see/make out of an ordinary area,” and she points out the images taken of the new addition of the Strong Museum. Through his closeup images of the building, Bruce has created captivating abstracts of a color continuum.
Amy says it means a great deal to her to show her work with Bruce, who was her teacher in high school. She says “he has had a tremendous impact on me and so many other former students at Pittsford Sutherland High School.” Amy teaches in a way that she hopes “will have the same impact on my students.”
When deciding on their idea for this exhibit, Beth says she realized that she doesn’t take any shiny photos; she says, “Mine are all about rust and decay. For example in her photo entitled Red Rim, she was attracted to the colors enhanced by the red rust.
In the end, Beth says, “It was our shared love of color and shape that brought these images together.” Beth says she tends to find interesting subjects “in the most mundane places: rust, sidewalk cracks, dish water, etc.” She reminds other photographers that “It is amazing what is available to photograph if your eyes are open.” She enjoys exhibiting with Bruce and Amy because she says “It is always interesting to see their ideas, especially when we have visited the same spots together. Sometimes we have similar images; other times our viewpoints of a specific place are unique. Exhibiting really makes me think like an artist and bring my ideas to fruition.”
Amy points out that it is important to understand that people don’t all view or experience the world in the same way. She says “You never know how others are going to interpret your work. As a photographer, you have to frame the world through your own lens and find new ways to look at the every day.”
Bruce, Beth and Amy’s photographs will be on display until August 6, 2023.