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WALDEN: Exhibition at Arts Alliance gallery captures images in special ways

The May exhibition in the gallery of Macon Arts Alliance is titled “Taken,” which stirred a little curiosity since it conjured images of freebooters grabbing loot from galleons under siege. You can relax, for there is a treasure trove of images captured in the lenses of five local, imaginative photographers that interpret their environments in five distinctly different ways, in some cases manipulating the pictures with the dexterity of painters. Michael Williams typically imbues his photographs with the photogravure appeal of old hand-colored post cards. Barbara and Ned Boyer liked “Jekyll Island Trail,” which shimmers in a swirl of copper and silver, a reminder of the old bones of trees one finds roaming the dunes of Georgia’s barrier islands, surrounded by the deep, mineral-rich waters which are often brown, not blue. Part of the fun of seeing repeat appearances in the gallery of some of our best-known artists is seeing the evolution of their work, the refreshing surprises they bring.

A good sleuth could see the clues and figure out Matthew Odom’s background. After graduating from Mercer University, he was a commercial television producer and sports reporter, the exposure instilling a love for photography. He has won awards for editorial portraits, educational subjects, sports action shots and commercial advertising. “Bear Down,” an homage to Mercer’s football team, depicts the brute strength required on the field set against the menacing jaws of a bear. He might have arrived at the H&H Restaurant right after the lunch crowd left with full bellies when he shot “Mama Louise,” capturing the famed Macon figure leaning back in her chair, eyes closed, arms limp at her sides -- the picture of relief. His images of children pursuing their dreams in the sports arena are poignant and proud.

David Veal has been playing with cameras for more than 30 years and in this exhibit explores nature, manipulating his subjects to create the Reflected Symmetry Series on canvas. Graceful trees frame the last pink glow of sunset, provocatively intertwine their branches or appear to be decorated with dainty lights for the holidays. Marie Holliday enjoyed the delicacy of the symmetrical canvases -- one could almost feel the breezes moving the branches.

Macon’s historic Rose Hill Cemetery is an endless source for photographers, some of whom find angles and subjects never explored by the camera before. Nathan Bob Jones caught the sunset over the skyline of Macon with a marble angel monument in the foreground bidding “good night” to the city below. His “Atlanta Skyline at Night” is psychedelic with the movement of traffic converging on the city’s night life. Jones never travels without his camera, documenting and interpreting beauty from the coast to the inner city.

Walking on the beach after a storm is a familiar pastime for shell seekers and collectors of detritus that is interesting only in the eye of the collector. Brett Koch’s “Storm Flower” at first glance looks like a lotus, but on closer examination is water-soaked Styrofoam distorted and swollen as if the mother of all water flowers landed on the beach, transported by gnarls of driftwood still supporting the “petals.” This is the only photograph with a matte finish; all of Koch’s other subjects are glossy mounts on metal print, a unique treatment which is fluid and sharp. See the exhibition through May 29.

GET YOUR KHICKS WITH BALLROOM DANCING

The Gentlemen of Ballroom Dancing and Khicks Ballroom Dance Company presented their third annual Dance Extravaganza at the Al Sihah Shrine Temple in Macon on May 9, moved from a smaller venue because of the increased popularity of the event and the growing numbers of Middle Georgians that are now taking dance lessons or polishing their rusty moves to join the fun on the dance floor. Ken Hicks’ clever name for his company belies his musical ear for danceable music, which only paused long enough for dinner, catered by Oxygen Event Productions. Carolyn and Rudy Mendes, better known in Macon as textile artists and painters, were refueling at the buffet before getting back on the floor to show off another of their talents. Joanne Maguire’s guests were watching the contemporary style of Alfred Hall and Martha McAfee, two people among those honored for their support of ballroom dancing and other community activities.

There were out of town guests, such as the Central Florida Steppers, who brought routines popular in their hometowns to show off in Macon. Melynn Canova wasn’t shy, and like any good ballroom dancer, followed the steps like a pro. The $30 ticket price was a bargain for the savory dinner and dessert bar. If you are not a gym rat, dancing is a good cardio workout; you can indulge in dessert and burn it off on the dance floor!

Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or kwaldenint@aol.com.

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