Former Arkansas Times photographer John McDermott has spent 14 years photographing the ancient temples of Angkor, Cambodia, where he now lives. He has collected the work in his new book, “Elegy: Reflections of Angkor.”
Now, the monumental photos — as large as 40 by 60 inches — are on exhibit at Boswell-Mourot Gallery, in a show
co-sponsored by the Arkansas Times.
McDermott first visited Angkor Wat, the major temple in Angkor's archeological district, in 1995, and he photographed it against a sky darkened by a solar eclipse. Since then he has created a haunting and beautiful portrait of the area, using infrared technology — which can capture a broader range of light — to depict its root-wrapped architecture, pale trees against a dark sky, serene Buddhas, backlit monks posed in a temple window. Some of the works have historical as well as aesthetic value: The Cambodian government has been clearing the sites, removing trees, building sidewalks and shoring up structures, to attract tourists to the area. Thus some of McDermott's work captures an Angkor that was — remote and partially jungle-hidden, its environs as well as its architecture reflecting its ancient age — but no longer is. That Cambodia is a place that seeks tourists is, of course, welcome change. McDermott, who lives near Angkor with his wife and son, has founded three galleries to exhibit the works of Cambodian artists and photographers.
The photographs, which can also be purchased in silver gelatin prints and in a variety of sizes, will be in the gallery through June 3. Next up: work by Diana Ashley, Judith Hudson and Anne Haley.
Greg Thompson Fine Art, 429 Main St. in North Little Rock, will host an opening reception for its new exhibit of paintings by Matt McLeod from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, and other arts venues in the Argenta Arts District will sponsor artist demonstrations that evening in an ArtWeek '10 event called “How Do They Do That?” Participating “How Do” galleries include the Argenta Studios and Infrared Studios, 4th and Maple; Argenta Bead Co., 703 Main St.; Claytime Pottery Studio, 417 Main St.; Pennington Photo Studio, 417 Main St.; and Ketz Gallery, 705 Main St.
The following evening, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Third Friday Argenta Artwalk, also part of ArtWeek '10, will include a pottery demonstration by Laura Phillips and her mother, Helen Phillips, at the Laman Library Argenta Branch at 501 Main St., and new exhibits at Ketz Gallery (Dan Thornhill), the Baker House Bed and Breakfast (the Arkansas Sculptors Guild), a second reception for McLeod, a tour of new studios and exhibit space at the Thea Foundation, 401 Main, and an open house at Claytime.
As always, artists, this week including Ludwig Kozlowski, Jay King, Byron Werner, Kandy Jones, Doug Norton and Cindi Booth, will work during lunch and dinner hours at Starving Artist Cafe, 411 Main St.
North Little Rock doesn't have a lock on ArtWeek events: Stephano's Fine Art Gallery in the Heights will open its “North/South Show” with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 20. The show features work by Southerners Matt Gore, Stephano and Jim Jolly and Northerners Mary Anne Erickson, Alexis Silk and G. Peebles.
Also Thursday, May 20, artists Aj Smith and Sylvester McKissick will give a tour of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's collection of African-American art. The tour will be during the noon hour.