Photographic exhibits -- both urban and rural -- are among the many gallery shows open for ArtWalk
City and country BY MARY ELLEN WRIGHT, Correspondent
Lancaster's urban and natural treasures will star in two ArtWalk weekend photo exhibits by three local artists.
Two city photographers will exhibit images on wood as part of their monthly mobile art project, and another is having his first solo show at a local jewelry-store gallery after 55 years of taking pictures.
For every First Friday since January, Ole Hongvanthong and Taylor Brown of Lancaster have displayed their photographic work in a different rented U-Haul truck, parked somewhere in the city.
Fittingly, they call their mobile gallery Parked. Their truck will stand among those of the food vendors in Lancaster Square tonight and throughout the citywide ArtWalk event Saturday and Sunday.
Hongvanthong says he got the idea for the truck gallery last fall in New York, when he saw photos of a Brooklyn exhibit in which art was displayed in large steel cargo containers.
"We're constantly working on new work," says Hongvanthong, who owns a wedding-photo business called PhotOle Photography. "We want to be able to show our versatility with our photography."
The two friends, who met at Brown's downtown workplace, Coe Camera Shop, have exhibited self-portraits and snapshots of their loved ones during previous First Fridays.
For ArtWalk weekend, they've transferred images from laser-jet printer paper onto wooden boards using an acrylic gel. Photos with an urban focus will face pictures shot in nature, nailed to the interior railings inside the truck.
Hongvanthong, who collects and shoots with vintage Polaroid cameras, says his wood-mounted work is all about the urban details of the city he loves.
"I'm really trying to capture Lancaster, but in a different perspective, like the nooks and crannies that you typically don't see," he says, "or you don't realize it's there."
His subjects include a couple sitting in front of their city home, listening to music amid the nearby traffic noise, and a little boy snacking on chips while watching the cars go by.
Brown's work focuses on friends -- some nude, some clothed -- shot in more rural-looking locales around Lancaster.
"I'm photographing a lot of people in different environments, to try to get back to our roots, to try to go back to a simpler time," Brown says.
Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Hongvanthong and Brown will encourage visitors to take photos throughout ArtWalk. For a $15 donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the two artists will offer critiques or photography tips to those who bring their photo-laden cameras back to the parked truck.
Retired Millersville University physics professor Patrick Cooney has been taking photographs since he got his first single-lens-reflex camera when he graduated from grammar school in 1958.
While he has exhibited his photos in the company of other artists, Cooney's first solo show will be this weekend's "In Place: Lancaster City Photographs," at j.a. sharp Custom Jeweler, 332 N. Queen St.
Before he turned to physics, Bronx native Cooney worked in the darkrooms of three different photo studios in New York City.
Cooney says he stuck close to home in creating the 15 to 20 color photographs he'll display tonight through May 31.
"They're all pictures made in Lancaster, inside the city limits," Cooney says. "They're from five threads, five projects I've been working on for a number of years now."
His subject matter ranges from autumnal trees across the street from his home near Buchanan Park to downtown signs bearing recognizable local names and brands: Demuth, Steinman, Conestoga.
In Cooney's pictures, a white-and-teal staircase climbs the side of a red brick building. Orange light glows in the tower of Trinity Lutheran Church. The brownish-red spires of Franklin & Marshall College's stately Old Main reach skyward.
"I don't think of myself as a digital artist," Cooney says, "I think of myself as a photographer. … I want to be able to say to someone, 'I saw that, and I'm sharing it with you.'"
Cooney says he strives to capture what's most important about the scenes and signs he sees around Lancaster, to help the viewer experience the feeling he had when he spotted "something neat" while walking around the city.
"What these pictures are really about are, 'notice this'," Cooney says.
"That's what this is for. It's saying, 'Hey, look around.' "
Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-4 p.m.
Free. Downtown Lancaster