Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Geneva Arts Fair

Geneva Arts Fair features top talent from around the country
By Rachel Baruch Yackley | Daily Herald correspondent
Published: 7/23/2010 12:01 AM

The range of the shades of gray is Fred Ullrich's specialty, one might say.

The product of this Geneva-based photographer's talent is replete with a veritable palette of grays, all of which combine to create stunning black and white photography.

See for yourself at this year's ninth annual Geneva Arts Fair, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25, on Third Street in downtown Geneva.

A veteran exhibitor, Ullrich is back, with his unique prints of architecture, nature, rural images, glimpses of Europe, and photographs of what he calls "quiet spaces."

Not only are his images unique, but Ullrich's techniques almost put him in a category all his own.

"I work with a 4-by-5 wooden field camera. I shoot with 4-by-5 black and white film, and I develop with pyro (pyrogallol film developer). Paul Strand and all the masters used it. It really expands the zonal range, the varying range of grays you can get," said Ullrich, who is retired from his years as manager of Fermilab's visual media services.

"When I'm working well, working with the camera and looking at an image, form is more important than color. I look for everyday objects that resonate with me," he said. "You can render things in great detail, to infinity. The size (of my photos) is big - three times the resolution. I let the light speak for itself."

Ullrich does not use digital photography as an art form, and his techniques differ from it, in many respects. While developing, he wears gloves and a respirator, because of the chemicals used in this traditional "wet chemistry" developing process. The time factor is significantly longer, too.

"The shooting takes maybe three hours; the processing two hours, and the printing takes eight hours," he said.

The results of all this work are unique 16-by-20 inch fine prints, hand printed on fiber base paper.

To illustrate the visual difference, Ullrich will have one of his prints alongside a digital copy on display at the show.

Over 20,000 visitors are expected at this year's Geneva Arts Fair, presented by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. This juried show was voted a Top 200 Fine Craft Fair for 2010 by Art Fair SourceBook, and was a 2009 winner of "Best Craft or Art Show" by West Suburban Living Magazine.

Among the artists will be Rosie and Dave Claus from Naperville, with their stunning gourds, topped with beautifully woven fiber embellishments. This year's show also includes ceramic creations by Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand of Pottery Boys Clay Studios in Blue Island, Ill., unique must-have furniture by Charlie and John Sweitzer of Champaign, and many more artists from New York, Florida, Minnesota, and all points in between.

An emerging artist section will again be included this year, as well as a hands-on art activity for children, where they can put their own imaginations to work to create a mural.

On Saturday, eight $500 awards of excellence will be presented for two- and three-dimensional work. Emerging artists will also be competing to win Geneva Cultural Arts Commission awards as a kickoff for their careers.

Visitors can dine without having to drive anywhere else, as Geneva restaurants and merchants will be providing guests with sales, food and wine specials throughout the weekend.

Details, including a list of artists, are available at www.genevachamber.com/artfair.html.

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