Tregoning & Co. presents The Janus Effect: Looking Forward-Looking Back

Recently gallerist and art dealer Bill Tregoning examined some remarkable contemporary photographs created through 19th century techniques. Artist-photographer Christopher Pekoc was the conduit; Pekoc was stricken by the  photographs, as was Tregoning—enough so that the gallerist invited Pekoc to curate an exhibition featuring the four  photographers’ work. The simultaneous notion of looking forward and backward invokes the Roman god of the New Year: Janus –depicted in antiquity in double profile, simultaneously looking left and right.

a6, ink jet print by Gabriel Gonzalez

Donald Black, Jr. readily admits to Photography being his first love and relishes the sensory rewards of working with his  hands as he engages in traditional darkroom practices. He found those rewards missing with digital photography, so in an attempt to regain them Black turned to a method of capturing images as old as the origins of photography itself:  photogravure –a process that produces a continuous tone photograph from an etched copper plate. Rather than using  the plate as a negative to produce a print, Black has turned away, instead using the plate as the positive print itself. As if  to underscore the satisfaction he derives in this new method, Donald chose to produce a unique, life-size image by co- joining copper plates and presenting them as the final work of art.


Using the more recently abandoned process of developed film, Gabriel Gonzalez noticed intricate abstract patterns  appearing on the discarded gelatin silver prints he found in his darkroom waste basket. He knew the patterns were  caused by oxidation as the silver coating on the photo paper reacted to the stainless steel of his developing sink. It occurred to him that he could manipulate the oxidation process to create his own abstract compositions. Then he  digitally scanned the compositions, sometimes layering the scans to create more complexity, and printed the final  results with an ink jet printer, resulting in dramatic colors and startling imagery.

Greg Martin is constantly drawn to the forgotten and discarded, the decaying, the overlooked and the ignored, with his  goal always to reveal to the viewer something they have not seen. In the archaic and long-ignored process of wet-plate collodion photography, Martin found a method of creating and revealing that is challenging, inspiring, and rewarding at  the same time. Using period equipment, chemistry, and methods developed over 150 years ago he creates imagery  beyond the reach of today’s state-of-the-art.


Study of a Man with a Hat (diptych), wet plate collodion by Jeannette Palsa

Jeannette Palsa also creates images with wet plate-collodion, both forms of ambrotype and collodion images on  aluminum. Palsa works intuitively, stating that her philosophy is “to look beyond what you think you see, to make the  subject that appears before your lens more than what it appears.” Process and subject combine to create images of haunting ambiguity.