Although technology provides many conveniences, there are some things that are just better in real life.
As a journalist, I get the opportunity to meet a great number of interesting people, and forms of communication such as phone and email have simplified that process. With the press of a few buttons, or clicks of a mouse, the information I need to create an educational and entertaining piece can be obtained. However, I feel that when I have the opportunity to meet one of my interviewees in person, the work I create reaches a whole new level.
Last week I received an invitation on the behalf of Anthony Bannon, director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, to attend a private reception. The event was intended to unveil the work of the center's first artist-in-residency, Janelle Lynch, a Jamestown native photographer, who was charged with furthering the understanding of the life and work of watercolorist Charles Burchfield, while also furthering her own work.
After two long phone conversations with Lynch, both of which resulted in weekend features published by The Post-Journal, I felt that I could not bring myself to continue writing about such an incredibly talented woman without making eye contact. So, I asked our editor, John Whittaker, for permission to cover the event, to which he was willing to oblige.
My fiancee, Allysa Dupont, was willing to join me on the short expedition to Buffalo. I picked her up in Fredonia because she had spent the day with her sister and nephew at the Chautauqua County Fair in Dunkirk. While she was intrigued with the idea of meeting Lynch, her day at the fair had focused her interest on obtaining some kids, or pygmy goats, which made for entertaining conversation on the way to Elmwood Avenue.
I arrived just as the event was starting, and was impressed as each attendee who entered the board room was greeted with a handshake by Lynch herself. As I took Lynch's hand, our eyes met, and I was reminded of the words I had written following our first phone conversation: "The lens of a camera is akin to that of the eye, capturing moments one at a time, so that they may be immortalized and enjoyed by those who dare to look." I dared to look, and what I found was the soul of a woman ensnared by a reverence for the natural world.
Janelle Lynch, a Jamestown native photographer, is shown during a private reception discussing some of the work she has created as the first artist-in-residency at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
"My process is highly intuitive," said Lynch. "I don't, for example, begin with an idea and attempt to illustrate it through photography, rather I make images of what I viscerally respond to. I begin by establishing a relationship with the place, the landscape. I go into it without my camera, which is something I learned from Wendell Berry, another important influence, who in his essay called 'The Unforseen Wilderness' he urged the landscape photographer to respect nature by going into it and getting to know it before taking pictures of it. So that's what I do, I get to know not just what it looks like but its scents, sounds, textures and myself in relation to it."
"Then my vision begins to shift - it becomes more nuanced, heightened and more photographic," Lynch continued. "That's when I get my camera, which is modeled after the 19th-century design that uses film.
"It demands a meditative approach, which suits my intuitive process," continued Lynch. "To see through the ground-glass viewfinder I have to cover my head and the camera. Doing so I create a dark, very intimate space that blocks out peripheral vision and sound to some degree, where I can connect to my subject. In the process of composing the picture, which can take up to an hour, a mysterious transmission occurs between the subject that comes through the lens onto the ground-glass and myself and all that I bring to that present moment."
I also found a man, Bannon, whose respect for Lynch and her work was reminiscent of that of a proud father.
"Janelle is our first artist-in-residence, and we are so happy with the relationship we've enjoyed - we thought it selfish of us not to share at this halfway mark," said Bannon. "The accomplishments of her spirit have produced extraordinary work linked to the vision and spirit of Charles Burchfield, and we're so pleased that it's been discovered within Western New York."
"It would be deeply meaningful to have this work here because of the important kinship that I feel with Burchfield," said Lynch. "It would perhaps be the most meaningful show because of that relationship I have with him, and because of my relationship with the community."
Lynch's work can also be found in a number of other public and private collections including: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, Fundacion in Vila Casas, Barcelona, and Museo de Arte Contempor'neo in Salta, Argentina. Her new book, "Janelle Lynch: Barcelona," will be published by Radius Books this fall. For more information, visit www.burchfieldpenney.org/artists/artist:janelle-lynch or www.janellelynch.net.
Not only was the trip my first time meeting Lynch, but it was also my first time entering the Burchfield Penney Art Center, which I had the opportunity to explore with Allysa following the event. The center featured contemporary, relevant pieces, as well as those with historical significance. But, I was particularly impressed with the organization's willingness to feature local artists. My favorite was the "Let There Be Light" installation by Buffalo native Shasti O'Leary Soudant, and a close second was Beijing-based Song Dong's "Broken Mirror." Although I'm not much of a fan of blondes, Marilyn Monroe's exhibit was also well-done. For more information visit www.burchfieldpenney.org.
Allysa and I concluded the evening with a fantastic raw dinner at Merge, a restaurant that encourages "healthier habits for a healthier planet." For more information visit www.mergebuffalo.com.
As per usual, here are the highlights and happenings going on in the area.
JSBA Big City Summer Concert Series Continues Friday: Cindy Haight will appear during JSBA's Big City Summer Concert Series on Friday.
The summer concert series takes place from 7-9 p.m. between Lafayette Street and the patio behind the JSBA. In case of inclement weather, the performance will take place inside the arena at Sully's Irish Pub. The Big City Concerts are free to the public. Food and beverage vendors will also be on-site.
Following each outdoor concert, the party will shift to Sully's Irish Pub for more live music. Located on the track inside JSBA, Sully's will feature the Ben Blood and Charlie Backus duo as the closing act, which will play until around 10:30 p.m.
Jamestown Savings Bank Arena is located at 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information call 484-2624, visit jamestownarena.com or the JSBA Facebook and Twitter pages.
Two Authors To Visit Jamestown: On Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m., Novel Destination: A Used Book Emporium, will host mystery writer Casey Daniels and author of Amish stories, Mary Ellis.
The Ohio residents and travel buddies will take a short detour from their vacation in our area to talk with readers and sign their books at 177 Fluvanna Ave., Route 430, in Jamestown. The authors will bring copies of some of their books to sell and to sign.
Casey Daniels once applied for a job as a tour guide in a historic Cleveland cemetery. She didn't get the job, but while she was there, she did get the idea for her Pepper Martin mystery series. Pepper works in a cemetery and solves mysteries for the ghosts there. The newest book, No. 9 in the series, is "Supernatural Born Killers."
Daniels also writes three other mystery series, such as Kylie Logan: the Button Box, the League of Literary Ladies and the Chili Cook-Off mysteries. She can be found online at www.caseydaniels.com and www.kylielogan.com.
Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written 10 novels set in their communities.
"Living in Harmony," book one of her current series, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Her current release, "Love Comes to Paradise," has been nominated for a 2013 Lime Award from The Christian Manifesto. "A Little Bit of Charm," book three of the series, releases Sept.1. Her debut Christian book, "A Widow's Hope," was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards. She is currently working on a three-book historical romance series set during the Civil War. "A Heart Divided" releases Jan. 1.
Novel Destination's proprietor, Carrie Wolfgang, will serve refreshments which will dovetail with the authors' books and will include one of the recipes from Ellis's most recent book, "Love Comes to Paradise."
For more information, call 489-1496, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or search for "Novel Destination" on Facebook.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email email@example.com or call 487-1111, ext. 253 by Monday.
Acoustics on the Lake With Cindy Haight: 6-9 p.m., Ready About Sailing, Long Point State Park.
Ahira Hall Memorial Library Park Concert Series With the New Horizons Band: 6:30 p.m., Ryckman Park in Brocton.
Mayville And Chautauqua Concert In The Park Series With Barbara Jean: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Lakeside Park in Mayville.
Falconer Summer Concert Series With The Junior Guilders: 7 p.m., Davis Park in Falconer.
Lakewood Gazebo Concert Series With Chautauqua Big Band Swing: 7-8:30 p.m., Richard O. Hartley Park, Terrace and Chautauqua avenues in Lakewood.
Blue Grass Jam: 7-10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Miraglia Gallery And Chautauqua Music Student Recital Party And Classic '80s Rock Band Flashback: 6-9 p.m., Miraglia Gallery in Jamestown.
Old Dawg Bluegrass: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Randolph Summer Concert series in Randolph.
Infinity Big Band: 7-9 p.m., Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Cafe, 115 E. Third St. in Jamestown.
Pressure Sensitive: 8 p.m. to midnight, Bellini Lounge, 215 W. Lake Road (Route 394) in Mayville.
Zephyr Band: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Peek'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Kris Meekins: 9 p.m., Sully's Pub at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown.
House of Cards Band: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Webb's Captain's Table, 115 W. Lake Road in Mayville.
Backwoods Bluegrass: 12:45-3 p.m., Ellington Town Picnic.
Cindy Haight With Chad Gustafson: 6-9 p.m., Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood.
Bill Ward And Amanda Barton: 6-9 p.m., The Lakeview Hotel and Restaurant, 13 Water St. in Mayville.
Davis And Eng: 6:30-8:30 p.m., The Corner Coffeehouse And Bistro in Frewsburg.
Busti Gazebo Concert Series Featuring Joint Effort Band: 7 p.m., Busti Gazebo, Beatles, Elvis, classic rock, country, blues and jazz from the '50s, '60s and '70s. The band is comprised of: Karl Lydell, lead guitar and vocals; Dick Kahle, bass; and Gavin Paterniti, guitar, vocals and education writer for The Post-Journal and Dave Swart, drums.
Michael Israel Art In Concert: 8 p.m., The Floating Stage in Bemus Point.
Day Old Soup Band: 8 p.m. to midnight, The Boardwalk in Mayville.
Brian Hanna: 9 p.m. to midnight, Steeners Pub in Greenhurst.
Only Humen: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Zephyr Band: 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Peek'n Peak,1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Brian Chase: 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Docks Restaurant in Mayville.
Sippin Sundays With Glenn Roth: 1-4 p.m., 21 Brix Winery, Route 20 in Portland.
Ric And Brian Butler: 4-7 p.m., The Boardwalk in Mayville.
Davis And Eng: 4-7 p.m., Vikings on the Lake in Maple Springs.
Bill Ward And Amanda Barton: 6-9 p.m., Hadley House, 3328 Hadley Bay Road in Stow.
Live At The Gazebo With Serendipity: 7 p.m., Findley Lake Gazebo in Findley Lake.