Diamonds may be a girl's best friend but when it comes to photographers it's platinum. The metal is used to produce prints with a unique look, and examples of that style are part of "Platinum: Photographs by Douglas Isaac Busch & E.F. Kitchen," one of three new exhibitions for the summer opening at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.
While some photographers gravitate to digital, others like Busch and Kitchen, both California-based photographers, embrace the process and results of the medium of platinum printing.
"Contemporary photographers have access to a multitude of platforms and methods to make work, yet even as digital photography becomes dominant, photographers continue to gravitate to the platinum process for its analogue appeal," wrote museum curator Rachel Magnus. "This exhibition examines the 'slow' platinum printing process in the face of the immediacy of the digital age."
Platinum-printed photography is valued for its durability and wide tonal range. Magnus said the creation process is "laborious and expensive but the finish quality of each photo is unique and allows for an incredible amount of information."
Both Kitchen and Busch are well-regarded in their exploration of the medium; Busch even built a large-format camera that he took around the world to capture a variety of landscapes including "the chaotic highways of Los Angeles or an overgrown landscape of an antiquated spiritual landmark."
Meanwhile Kitchen, operating primarily out of her Venice studio, focuses on portraits of artists, models and inanimate objects. Her work has a warmer palette, and she personally prints every image, regarding each step of the process and every decision as part of the art form.
The exhibition in the Albin Gallery features 40 photos total with 20 from each artist.
Also opening Thursday is "The Sublime: 2019 Visual Arts Festival" in the museum's Chevron Gallery. Since 1989, the biennially held festival highlights the work of California artists in a juried small works exhibition. A record 152 works in a variety of media including photography, charcoal, sculpture, ceramics, oil, acrylic, mixed-media, digital drawing, watercolor and encaustic were submitted, with 54 accepted into the exhibition.
Magnus said "Sublime" was selected as the theme because of the versatility in its interpretation.
She wrote, "The show is incredibly varied with interpretations ranging from incredibly abstract thought or ideas to a literal breakdown of the actual word 'sublime.'"
Ruta Saliklis, curator and director of exhibitions for the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, judged the show. Seven awards — best in festival, second, third and four honorable mentions — will be announced during the preview circle reception before the event opens to the public at 7 p.m. and winning works will be noted on their wall tags.
The third new exhibition is "Wake Up!: Selections from Students in the BMoA ArtWorks Program," celebrating the work of 15 high school juniors and seniors who participated in the museum's 2019 ArtWorks Program.
BMoA art instructor Julissa Cardenas, along with Magnus and fellow instructor John Olivo, was a mentors for the teens during the semester-long program that included work at the museum and group trips to The Broad and MOCA. Students also had discussions with artist Art Sherwyn, Emmy-winning animation director Stu Livingston and David Gordon, executive director of the Arts Council of Kern.
Using media including oil, acrylic and watercolors, chalk pastel, clay, and mixed media, the youth embraced the subject.
Cardenas said some explored 'Wake Up' as a political stance on pollution and its effects on the environment or other topics close to their hearts.
"Several of the students’ artwork touched upon pollution and its effects on the environment," she wrote. "Others depicted their own personal perspectives on topics such as gender roles and how they play out in society."
In addition to the new exhibitions, the museum also has the ongoing "Golden State: Selections from the BMoA Permanent Collection." This is the largest exhibition yet from the museum's collection, consisting of 43 pieces by 34 artists from throughout California including Roland Petersen, Dewy Garrett, Marion Osborn Cunningham and Larry Jason.