Saturday, March 08, 2014 5:18 AM
Meryl Silver addresses viewers' questions about her digital image exhibit at Montpelier Arts. Photo by Wanda Jackson
Published on: Friday, February 14, 2014
By Wanda Jackson, Sentinel Arts Reporter
Meryl Silver's photography nearly 20 years ago was documentary, black and white film that focused on the people and street scenes in her hometown, New York City. Her images captured the homeless who spent their nights in a church on Park Avenue, and Coney Island where locals ranged from old and grizzled chess players to young working-class parents with kids.
Over the years, a lot changed. She got married, had children and settled in a small Connecticut town, where she says her "shooting became mainly limited to family snapshots." Around 2003, her family moved to the Washington-DC metro area. And, with the advent of digital photography, Silver shifted her focus from documentary to fine art.
Silver unveils her latest series of fine art photography in an exhibit titled "Simplicity Within" through February 24 at Montpelier Arts Center, 9652 Muirkirk Rd, Laurel, MD.
For this series, Silver photographed grasses, reeds and rushes in pond water, then through digital manipulation transformed those images into abstract works defined by lines, shapes, color and gesture.
Her images reveal a simple, sometimes elegant, sometimes whimsical, element of beauty that is buried within the chaos of a complex natural scene. Reeds drenched in light dance, bow and leap across the stage with all the drama of a Kennedy Center performance. Warm and cool colors evoke seasons and reveal character -- pale blues speak gentleness and yellows evoke idealism.
"I am fascinated by the ability of the camera to capture what I like to think of as an alternate universe, or to capture a detail of an everyday scene that somehow defines the mood of that scene," says Silver in her artist statement. "I am attracted to subjects that are at once familiar, but, seen through the perspective of the camera, appear oddly different."
Silver is "particularly drawn to reflections, and their interplay with an unreflected subject. Reflected images can be beautifully textured, take on the look of a watercolor painting, or reveal a world that usually goes undetected as we rush through life," she says.
While her photography has changed, its essence hasn’t changed. Photography, says Silver, "uncovers for me moods and emotions of the natural world that often go undetected in real time or are only present for a fleeting moment."
Silver’s photography has been exhibited in the mid-Atlantic region and local spaces including the Mansion at Strathmore, Cafritz Gallery and the Washington Gallery of Photography. Her work is in private collections as well as public venues.