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TriCorner News 6/28/18; Review

Solitude and Serenity in Luminous Landscapes

Art: George Shattuck Photographs

Emily Gates


George Shattuck, whose solo show opens Saturday, June 30 at North Elm Home in Millerton, paints with his camera. It is true that, at first glance, his abstract landscapes could easily be mistaken for paintings, and Shattuck himself says that he aims for his images to look as if they have come from a painter’s brush. He surely achieves this, and more, with his graceful landscapes. Rich with movement, the photographs are enlivened by the sweeping arcs that he makes with his camera. Eye-catching lines—both straight and swooping—examine and mimic patterns from the natural world: the cadence of waves, the curves of bird flight, the distant glimpses of far off horizons. The resulting images are delicately beautiful, tranquil without ever being insipid and deeply alive.

One might easily assume that Shattuck’s work is the result of digital manipulation and extensive post-production, but the photographer actually creates his images in more traditional and organic ways. Working with exposure length and the movement of the camera, the process allows him to capture an elemental quality in what he terms his “interpretive landscapes.” Shattuck, a Salisbury resident who has been taking photographs since he was a teenager, started experimenting with the technique about 12 years ago. When asked about the process, he readily admits that there was a learning curve, “It wasn’t so much hard to learn as hard to learn well. It was a long process of trial and error. Thank god for digital!”

Considering the collected works on display at North Elm Home, the thoughtful, considered, even meditative way that Shattuck works is present in these images. Preferring solitude while he photographs, he says, “I just love working in the morning, getting out in the dark, setting up, and being present.” He often returns to the same parts of the world, in particular stretches of ocean in Maine and the Caribbean. Photographing the sea allows Shattuck to create abstract images with a consideration for straight lines and focal points. “With an abstract, the eye wants to hold onto something and water allows for a clean horizon,” he says, “which gives the eye a place to focus and orient itself.” He is motivated, too, by the currents in the water, its innate movement and the way that light bounces and shifts in relation to it. Standing before it, he can glide and lift his camera until his painterly images come to life in elegant balance, straddling a line between the kinetic and the serene.

The show opens Saturday, June 30 with an opening reception from 5 - 8 p.m.

George Shattuck’s solo exhibition will be open from June 30 to July 29 at North Elm Home, 5938 North Elm Avenue, Millerton. For further

information, (518) 789-3848 or www.northelmhome.com. The artist’s website is www.georgeshattuck.com.