Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison’s “nature photography” is like no other that you’ve seen. Though environmentalist in message, the images captured by the Saratoga Springs couple are Daliesque staged tableaux that combine organic materials with weird Steampunkish contraptions and human figures trying to do impossible things. The effect is unsettling, at once idealized and creepy. You can experience it for yourself at the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW), where the exhibition simply titled “Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison” opens with a gallery reception and artists’ talk beginning at 6 p.m. this Saturday, November 5.
The show will feature 14 images from two series by the art photographers: “The Architect’s Brother,” all in sepia tones, and “Counterpoint,” using muted color. “The Architect’s Brother” features a “quixotic protagonist, who, unhindered by his ill-fitting business suit, is determined to heal the physical wounds of our Earth. Blindly optimistic and purposeful, he labors away to counter society’s environmental misdeeds, to dance for healing rain or to mend nature’s gaping wounds. The images in the ‘Counterpoint Series’ continue his yearning to understand and reverse mankind’s broken relationship to nature.” To put it more explicitly, we see in these photos a guy curled up in the soil with roots or shoots growing out of his head, or hauling a blanket of turf over a scarred landscape, or tethering fluffy clouds to the ground with vines, or stitching a seismic vent with a gigantic needle. “This work continues our 20-year investigation of the triangular interaction of nature, technology and human existence,” says the artists’ statement.
Check out the surreal world of the ParkeHarrisons now through January 8. The CPW galleries are open to the public, free of charge, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays and by appointment. CPW is located at 59 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more info, visit www.cpw.org.