The simple definition of “untethered” is to release or free from a tether. That term serves as the title for Surface Noise’s latest exhibit, and it’s also the theme for both participating artists, who stepped outside their typical process to create photography for the show.
“Untethered: Images by Jennifer Martin and Britany Baker” opens Friday, Aug. 10, at the Highlands record store/art gallery.
Several of the more than 40 photographs focus on nature — birds more specifically — which also plays to the theme. And while Martin is comfortable behind a camera lens, often taking photos for various events around town, this is Baker’s first exhibit of photography. The artist typically paints with oils and/or charcoal.
According to Martin’s artist statement, she’s pushed herself beyond her comfort zone to truly capture her subjects’ essence.
“My goal is to use my camera like Alice’s rabbit hole,” she says in the statement. “To open an unexplored world, a place of curious self-expression, but also a world of new relationships, new chances, new beginnings and, most importantly, new stories.”
Martin will have more than 30 pieces in “Untethered.”
Insider Louisville reached out to Baker to learn more about her first foray into exhibiting photography professionally and how the show came about.
She says that while her paintings often require her to take photos of the subject matter beforehand, she never considered showing off her photography until Surface Noise curator and friend Joni Tamalonis met her for drinks one night.
She asked Baker if she knew anyone who would like to share an exhibit with Martin, and Baker’s answer was — “Me.”
“This is kind of a leap of faith for me,” says Baker. “Taking photographs has been part of my practice over the last couple of years. It helps me figure out color and composition, but mainly it’s a way to really zoom in and see the details of real things for the sake of abstraction.”
But to take those photos and display them on a gallery wall made her a bit uncomfortable at first.
“The idea of exhibiting them like this is scary and, at the same time, strangely freeing — like leaping from the nest untethered,” she says. “I’m looking forward to seeing them hanging together like this. I feel a little exposed, but sometimes it’s good to take a look at your own raw insides.”
Baker will have 13 pieces in the show.
Asked if she prefers one medium over another, we learn that it’s not quite that black and white. All mediums she works in take her to her ultimate goal — to explore themes related to the body and living forms.
“I like oils for the colorful, wet, bulbous living things — flowers, glass, water, anything reflective. I like charcoal for dry and hard things with straight edges — feathers, bones, sticks, rocks,” explains Baker. “I think photography is a window into what happens between nature and my artwork. If art is about seeing reality through someone else’s eyes, then these photographs are art.”
“Untethered” opens Friday, Aug. 10, with a reception from 6-9 p.m. It continues through Sept. 8. Surface Noise is located at 600 Baxter Ave.