On Exhibit: ‘Artificial Eye’ a small but engaging show at the Arts Center

"South End 1" by Peggy Becker, from Artificial Eye: 44th Annual Photo Regional.

"South End 1" by Peggy Becker, from Artificial Eye: 44th Annual Photo Regional.

The photograph of a lone man sitting on a bench, with shoulders hunched, a mask adorning his face, and his gaze fixed down toward the ground, cuts to the quick.

Sapped of any bright colors, the scene is depicted in black and white, with a few figures walking in the background, though none are coming close to the man in the center of the piece.

Called “Isolation,” and taken by Matthew Wierzbowski, it speaks to the loneliness that most have experienced over the last few years. It won best in show in Artificial Eye: 44th Annual Photo Regional and is on view at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy.

The regional, which has a history dating back to the 1970s, is a juried show featuring work from artists within a 125-mile radius of Albany. The exhibition rotates between Collar Works, Albany Center Gallery, and Opalka Gallery at Sage College. This year’s show was juried by the Art Center’s curator as well as Lena Petersen, the co-director of Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson.

“Isolation” is one of a few works in the show themed around the pandemic. In another, titled “Back to Normal” by Pattie Garrett, a small group of people waits outside of a Druthers Brewing Company, their shadows stretching out before them on the sidewalk.

Another clear winner in the show that seems to speak to the present zeitgeist is Stephen Motto’s “Foggy Commute.” In it, a single figure hurries across a street under thick grey-green fog, with bunches of tree branches blocking out light from above. While the outlines of a few cars are visible, the rest of the composition is too dark to make anything else out.

Nearby is a vibrant and disorienting piece by Thomas Williams, who used multiple exposures to capture people hurrying through Grand Central Station, the iconic trio of windows and arched ceiling coming into focus while the commuters are blurred.

Peggy Becker’s “South End 1” captures a city street on a bleak winter night, with a figure walking into a warmly light deli, its brick facade painted blue, mimicking the fading blue of the sky above.

Further on, Christie Olson mixes grit, grunge and glamor, in “Walking to Prom.” A young woman is swathed in lilac-colored tulle, her feet laced up in white combat boots. She’s leaning against a graffitied newspaper stand, with a bright yellow “Do Not Enter” sign on the other side of her.

While “Artificial Eye” is a small show, each of the 21 photographs featured is engaging. It will be up at the Arts Center of the Capital Region through August 20. For more information visit

Categories: Art, Life and Arts

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