Mercer County Photo Show struts its stuff in Holman

The Holman Art Gallery is currently hosting the 2004 Mercer County Photography Exhibit, a biennial exhibition open to anyone 18 years or older who lives, works or goes to school in Mercer County. The exhibit was officially opened to the public during a reception that was held on Jan. 21 at the Gallery. The exhibit continues to run until Feb. 18.

Awards were given to the best presentations in several categories, and the recipients were honored at the opening festivities. Pieces that were submitted for judging were sought out and submitted in mid-November of last year.

The exhibition is sponsored by the College’s art department, as well as a grant from the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission. This grant was also used to provide funding for the artists’ awards.

The exhibit is also funded by the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.

Professional photographer Judy Gelles was on hand to judge each submitted piece and choose the winners. Gelles received her MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991.

She currently teaches photography at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the International Center of Photography in New York City. Her works can be found in collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There were over 200 pieces entered into the competition, and 43 were chosen to receive awards and become part of the exhibit.

Photographers had the opportunity to win $300 for Best of Show. Several Purchase Awards were also given. These pieces will be purchased by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission and become a permanent part of their collection.

A $100 Princeton Photography Club Award was also given, in memory of John Apostolos, a former member and co-founder of the club who died several years ago. Juror Merit winners were picked by Gelles herself for having special artistic value. Entrants were judged for their subject matter, their overall composition and their technical excellence.

According to Judy Masterson, director of the Art Gallery, about 98 percent of the entrants did their own printing of their submissions, either in photography classes or other professional studios.

She explained some of the different types of printing methods used to produce the wide variety of prints that received awards.

“An iris giclee print (for example) is done on an iris printer which is a high-quality inkjet printer that sprays out the ink towards a rotating roller. It helps the artist get a warm, atmospheric print. (Several of the winning prints were) done from 35 mm negatives,” Masterson said.

A silver gelatin, on the other hand, is a basic black-and-white print, she said.

The Best of Show Award went to Dominic Lipira of Trenton for his iris giclee print entitled “A Child’s Dream.”

Laura Kruglinski of Berkeley Heights, sophomore art education major received a Juror Merit Award for her digital book entitled “Bathroom Status.” Matt Sochocki of Toms River, junior fine arts major also won a Juror Merit Award for his c-print “Ugliest Chair I Could Find.”

The four other winners of this award were Alina Bliach of West Windsor, who won for her platinum print “The Ward;” Fame Dileo of Princeton, who won for his silver gelatin entitled “Hamilton Marsh Series;” Beth Gross of Levittown, P.A., for her black and white double print “Face to Face,” and David Simchock of Titusville for his ultrachrome “Pre-Inca Artifacts.”

The five winners of the Purchase Awards were Joel Greenberg of Princeton for his digital entitled “Phalaenopsis;” John Monahan of Three Bridges for his silver gelatin “Pas de Deux;” Steven Richman of Plainsboro for his giclee print “Miami;” M. Teresa Simao, who won for her digital “Flora;” and David Simchock of Titusville, a second award for his ultrachrome “Pre-Inca Artifacts.”

“You really should go see the prints for yourself, to appreciate them fully,” Masterson said. The College Art Gallery is free and open to the public. Hours are: Monday through Friday noon to 3 p.m., Thursday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Gallery is on the first floor of Holman Hall.