Polaroids exhibit images of fragility
Posted Feb. 16, 2007
Lauren Pollard
Observing the installation “Disillusion/Systematic/ Organization (M.O.),” Yvonne Garcia and her Core 320 class take notes for an assignment about Martin Durazo’s art. Durazo said people rely on artists and designers to make everyday objects for everyday use, so he wanted to appropriate these objects and turn them back into art.

Good art is meant to challenge the viewer. Good art can expose hidden aspects of ordinary objects or reveal complexities that can be missed at first glance.

Local artist John Montich’s photography does just that with his usage of manipulated Polaroid pictures.
Montich’s exhibit, “Fragile Images — Abiding Ideas” opened the evening of Feb. 8 in the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography in Miller Hall.

Around 25 people attended the artists’ reception, including University of La Verne students and faculty.

Trays of food and coffee were set up in an empty classroom and patches of people milled in and out looking at the photographs mounted on both walls of the gallery.

The reception began at 7 p.m. and lasted nearly two hours.

More than 30 photographs on display feature various images of common objects.

But with Montich’s process of stripping the emulsion layer of the print and changing the shape, the finished work appears as if there are two or more pictures blended together.

The layered effect forces the viewer to examine the photos more closely in an effort to decipher what some of the background images are.
Many of the pieces also feature fuzzy, blurred versions of everyday objects, an effect that creates a distorted, hazy feel.

Even if viewers are inexperienced with the methods of photography, it is easy to tell that an intense amount of creativity went into producing each piece.
Montich’s unique talent is evident from the way his pictures stand out when compared to standard glossy photographs.

Montich was on hand at the reception to answer questions regarding his
photographs.

When questioned about how he came across his abstract technique of using peel-apart Polaroids to create different textures, Montich relates learning the method from a former professor.

But his true motivation was something every college student can appreciate.

“The Polaroid film was cheapest,” Montich said.

“Then it was like [using] dope; I was just hooked,” he added.

The process of using multiple exposures has also impressed Kevin Holland, photography department manager.

Holland, along with Gary Colby, professor of photography, wanted Montich to showcase his art on campus because of his unique craftsmanship.

“Gary and I were just really impressed with not only his process, but also just the content of his work,” Holland said .

“Nowadays many photographers are so removed from the darkroom,” he added.

Students were also pleased that ULV had invited such a distinctive artist.

“This would be an exhibit I would expect to see at a much bigger school,” said Angel Chavarin, a senior liberal studies major.

“It’s definitely cool that we have something like this here,” he added.

Other viewers also praised Montich’s pieces.

“There’s definitely something different about his work,” said Alex Braden, a sophomore political administration major.

“I love the feel of the added dimensions,” he added.

Montich began to indulge in his passion for photography after working for many years as an aerospace engineer.

His photography has been featured at the Armand Hammer Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The exhibit will be on display until March 15.

Erin Konrad can be reached at ekonrad@ulv.edu.

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