More Than Real: The Death of Kodachrome

May 13 - July 10, 2011

Special Event: Thursday, June 30, 6-9 pm. Premiere screening of J. Shimon and J. Lindemann’s kodachrome film, “Charlie’s in Kodachrome.”

Portrait Society Gallery is pleased to present  “More than Real: The Death of Kodachrome,” three new exhibitions running May 13 to July 10, 2011.

Each show serves as a tribute to the medium’s demise last year and looks at the unique properties of Kodachrome as a means of rendering images and memories.

Gallery A features “Casa Happiness” a collection of printed Kodachrome slides of local attorney Judy Drinka’s 1957 honeymoon in Cuba. Ms. Drinka was 19 years old and had never been out of the country. Her new husband, Martin, was a camera buff who took many slides during their three-week trip.

Julia Taylor, a Milwaukee photographer and President of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, became interested in this collection of vintage slides for both its artistic merits and her personal connection to the Drinkas. Ms. Taylor, in her own work, had been exploring outmoded photographic media, from Polaroids to Kodachrome.  The 19 images in the exhibition show pre-Castro Cuba through the saturated hues of the Kodachrome chemistry as the newly wedded couple embarked on their life together.

Gallery B  presents Erik Ljung’s “Pilgrimage to Parsons, Kansas.”Ljung is a young photographer who had one 36-frame roll of undeveloped Kodachrome film in his possession when he heard that the last processing plant would close on December 30, 2010. Ljung decided to drive the 1,400 miles to Dwayne’s Photo in the town of Parsons, Kansas and use the film to document the journey.

The visual story of this trip, which meandered through Ronald Regan’s birthplace of Tampico, Ill. and a courageous snack of pickled gizzards in Grinnell Iowa, is presented in the show. The last picture was supposed to be saved for a portrait of Dwayne’s Photo but Ljung couldn’t resist photographing a “mashed up road kill,” which now marks the end of his journey as well as the end of Kodachrome.

In the Lounge is the third installment of this exhibition. “Flowers by Livija” is a project by Milwaukee photographer James Brozek. Fifteen years ago, Brozek was given a box of slides by an apartment manager who was closing out the residence of an elderly tenant. Recalling that he “felt something” for this body of non-descript slides that had fallen into the oblivion of non-ownership, he kept them.

Only fragments of information could be unearthed about Livija, the Latvian woman who took the slides. It appears that during the 1950s and ‘60s, Livija would create simple flower arrangements and then dedicatedly photograph them in still-life compositions. It was her private artistry. She also photographed each new floral arrangement that she would leave on the grave of her husband who had died in 1959.

All three of the exhibitions speak of the sense of distance and history now contained in the Kodachrome medium and explore how our memories are influenced and defined depending on the vehicle of their preservation.

Press

Review, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jessica Zalewski

Fred Bell's Marshall Building Portrait Project

The Marshall Building Portrait Project began in April 2011 when artist Fred Bell, in conjunction with Portrait Society, embarked on a mission to paint everyone in this historic Third Ward building (Buffalo and Water). The Marshall Building holds about 67 tenants ranging from law firms to artist studios, to party planners and accountants. There are about 300 individuals who work on six different floors. Uniquely, the hands-on management style has fostered a communal environment. The Marshall Building portrait project seeks to  further unite the tenants. A formal project launch will be held June 3. We anticipate that the project will conclude with an exhibition this winter.

Press

Review, Shepherd Express, John Schneider