Walk of Frame

ae leadshmuelcreditThe Santa Cruz County Bank’s 40th art show takes us to China and India

Photographic images of faraway peoples and places have the power to transport. And photographs—black and white, digital as well as traditional gelatin silver prints—are the portals through which we travel to China and Asia in the upcoming exhibition presented by Santa Cruz County Bank and the Pajaro Valley Arts Council. The show’s full title suggests the broader agenda of curator Joan Blackmer—Through Our Lenses, China and India: Home to Over 1/3 of the World’s People. The broad collaborative results will be unveiled on Aug. 27 at PVAC, and starting Sept. 5 at all five branches of the Santa Cruz County Bank.

The images come from six world-traveled photographers—Mary Altier, Carol Trengove, Shmuel Thaler, Elyse Destout, Paul Titangos, and Mark Wainer. “By my count, it’s our 40th show in 10 years, during which we’ve shown over 300 artists,” says Mary Anne Carson.

“We’ve had artwork on our walls since the day we opened our doors and the program has expanded as the bank has grown geographically.” As Senior vice president and director of marketing for Santa Cruz County Bank, Carson was in the thick of coordinating the ambitious new show.

“For me, it is through travel to other cultures that I attempt to more fully understand the universality of the human condition and the beauty of diversity and difference,” says Shmuel Thaler, who is showing photos taken on his three trips to India, accompanying Mount Madonna School’s “Values in World Thought” students.

The gorgeous selection of photographs ranges from capturing moments of rare ceremonial occasions in the Indian subcontinent, to candid street images of contemporary urban life in Taiwan and Tokyo. The vibrant relationship between subject and photographer is evident in many shots, a relationship which invariably opens the door to a greater understanding of other peoples from other cultures.

“Wherever in the world I go to photograph,” says Mary Altier, “my work always centers around the daily activities of the people. Often those people represent tribal groups or others who are not part of the middle class. In this show I will have, for example, photos of people I encountered on my last two trips to India, including painted sadhus in Rajasthan and ex-headhunters in Nagaland.”

Altier and Carol Trengove had worked together in the past on many exhibitions at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council and Gallery in Watsonville. Altier has traveled and photographed in China on three occasions but is also extremely fond of India. One thing led to another. Once the two decided a theme for the show, they set about finding photographers who had worked in these countries. Shmuel Thaler will be showing images shot in India. Trengove, Mark Wainer and Elyse Destout will display work from China. Images by Altier and Paul Titangos range throughout these two regions.

Santa Cruz County Bank will host an artists’ reception at the Bank’s Watsonville office at 595 Auto Center Drive on Sept.18 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. India Joze’ master chef and culinary legend, Jozseph Schultz, will create and serve Asian-style snacks. For a broader view of the work of the six photographers involved in this show, the Cabrillo College Photography Department will host a Travel Photographers’ Forum from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26 in Cabrillo’s VAPA Forum Room 1001.

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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