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New exhibit at APSU to showcase antiquated photography process

1/29/2014

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The photographs in Frances Scully Osterman’s new exhibit, “Nature’s Second Course,” straddle the line between the macabre and the sensual. The images show people sleeping, but they were created using the antiquated wet-collodion photography process, giving the black and white photos a ghostly quality.

According to a review of Osterman’s work in The Village Voice, “These photos of people sleeping in luxuriously disheveled sheets are so intimate and sexy you might feel like a Peeping Tom at the bedroom window. But Osterman also captures a hushed stillness and utter release that suggest a more final rest, and some of her most striking images could be deathbed portraits.”

The exhibit, which feature 24 small and large scale photographs from Scully Osterman's recent series “Beds” and “Sleep,” opens Feb. 3 at the Austin Peay State University Trahern Gallery and runs through March 7. A closing reception will take place from 5-7 p.m. on March 5, followed by a 7 p.m. lecture by the artist in Trahern, room 401.

Scully Osterman is an artist-educator, a lecturer at the Scully & Osterman Studio and a guest scholar at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y. She is also a leading practitioner of the wet-collodion process, which can result in chocolate-toned prints on waxed salt paper.            

“So, why use collodion?” she asked recently. “Everything about the negatives and prints is visual. I make my negatives from scratch, beginning with a plain sheet of glass. The resulting salt print in the ‘Sleep’ series is also coated by hand. Then I coat each with wax. Every part of the experience is visual. Making them is sensual and so are the results. As an artist, I find that very seductive.”

For more information on this exhibition, which is free and open to the public, contact Paul Collins, APSU assistant professor of art and gallery director, at collinsp@apsu.edu.