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Portrait Society’s ‘Postcard Survey Project’

Art Preview

Jul. 7, 2010
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Portraits on postcards—palladium postcard portraits, to be specific—reunite the 20th and 21st centuries in “J. Shimon and J. Lindemann: The Real Photo Postcard Survey Project,” the latest exhibition at Portrait Society Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St., fifth floor). The exhibit’s opening on Friday, July 23, coincides with Summer Gallery Night.

Curator and gallery owner Debra Brehmer began the project in January with the help of Manitowoc’s nationally known photographic team, John Shimon and Julie Lindemann. Portrait Society put out a call that anyone who desired to have their portrait included in the project could drive to the photographers’ historic home studio and have their picture taken in vintage 1900s style. No one wears a smile in these prints, though the photographers encouraged individuals to wear clothing or hold objects that would reveal their unique personalities.

The palladium postcard portraits will be displayed in the Portrait Society’s Gallery A. All of the photographs will be housed in cherry wood cases funded by Lawrence University, where Shimon and Lindemann teach. To complement the new photographs, the exhibit pairs actual early-20th-century photographs with 2010 counterparts.

This exhibit will make viewers “think about what it means to be who you are, in front of the camera, in that intimate moment of time,” Brehmer says. “The photographs collaborate with art, community and two centuries.”

To magnify the process, Shimon and Lindemann will also print color portraits on life-size canvases for an adjacent smaller gallery.

In an effort to incorporate an international element to the exhibition, Gallery B will feature the work of award-winning London photographer Vanessa Winship in “Dancers and Fighters.”

Winship’s black-and-white portraits use modern photography to depict Turkish children, boxers, dancers and wrestlers in a style similar to that of Shimon and Lindemann’s exhibit. Brehmer says that every photograph relates to “the little things that happen between the space and the photographer’s camera, giving us an idea of who we are today.”

The complete collection of postcard portraits will be mounted for the first time at Friday’s 6-10 p.m. opening reception (catalogs will also be made available to the public).

Brehmer says she plans these adventurous exhibitions to showcase the portrait genre. “The exhibition is the perfect example of what the gallery can do, a more active process, personal, thoughtful and thought-provoking,” she notes.

(For a sneak peek of “J. Shimon and J. Lindemann: The Real Photo Postcard Survey Project,” visit realphotopostcardsurveyproject.blogspot.com.)

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