By Lennie Bennett
Times Art Critic
Two new photography exhibitions at the Dunedin Fine Art Center pay homage to travel. But they aren't typical of vacation documentary shots that glorify a place and make us want to be there. In many of these works, we feel we are there but not always comfortably.
That feeling of dislocation is most true in "Bill McCarthy: Three Islands." In beautiful photographs of Iceland and Bailey Island, Maine, nature's harshness in craggy rock formations lashed by sea and snow are captured. Even gentle Caladesi Island off Florida's west central coast looks a bit forbidding. Actually, we only see a bit of beach; it's the inexorable tidal flows that are featured. Those, and a dead seabird covered in shells washed in by tides, the only animal life in the collection.
"Aydelette Kelsey: Others, Elsewhere" has an opposite point of view. Technically, they're smaller in format and have a spontaneous feel. And in this larger group's subject matter (69 photographs, about three times as many as McCarthy's), humans or evidence of them are the point in all but three prints. Sometimes human intrusion is subtle as in a photograph of bucolic green hills in China with power lines strung across them. Generally, though, faces interest the artist along with the accoutrements of daily life such as a shot into a room in China populated by a motor scooter, sewing machine and chicken, the three requirements for marriage in this village according to wall text.
We roam with her through Cuba, China and Kenya, encountering all manner of people living and working through their days. Many appear to be on the economic edge but most seemed to be willing participants and good sports in the project.
"CASTaway" is a student and member show in which all work was asked to conform in some way to the show's title. You can imagine the variety. And cleverness.
A fanciful ceramic basketball is titled Go Tell Tom Hanks We Found Wilson.
A mixed media portrait of a cat is Cast-Off Rescued Cat.
And there are the literal interpretations in cast bronze statues and cast silver jewelry.