Is it in the nature of humans?

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view of Robert Ladislas Derr's Chance, Greiner Art Gallery

If you missed it, Hanover College’s Human Nature exhibition displayed four artists’ representations of what is fundamentally human. Less didactic than you might expect, artists Rachael Banks, Robert Ladislas Derr, Bernie Kasper, and Lauren Wesley subtly observe the stuff of mankind through very different expressions and imaginations.

Situated in photography’s long lineage of portraiture, a 2015 graduate of Texas Woman’s University, Rachael Banks photographs people she left behind in Louisville, KY in her series Between Home and Here. Ms. Banks photographs her acquaintances at sites of personal interest. Among her photographs in this show is a young man dressed in a navy hooded sweatshirt and knit beanie with the side of his face just discernable—as he puffs on a cigarette—before aiming his rifle across a chain link fence. His cigarette smoke clouds the scene in front of his head with an old recreational vehicle in the background.

Turning street photography on its head, the beguiling artist and Ohio State University Professor Robert Ladislas Derr has been working on his extensive Chance series since 2005. These long photographs encapsulate a grid of color photographs from the four views of city intersections that he encounters on his ambulatory passage through cities as near as Indiana, and as far as Australia. To determine his path through these cities, Mr. Derr asks viewers and fellow pedestrians to roll a die.  What results is a strikingly long and colorful map of images of the buildings, pedestrians, and all of the pandemonium that makes up a city’s intersection.

Prof. Derr’s In Play is also in this show—a combination of video and portrait photography—that uniquely captures the behavior of his associates in a game of ping-pong. He invites artists to his studio for a match recorded with four video cameras. Of the four cameras, two focus on Derr and his player, capturing their face and hands respectively. This video offers an intimate glimpse of Derr’s five-minute volley with his guest. While the photographs depict the gestures of Derr and his player.

With his human nature on display, Bernie Kasper’s photographs of flower heads and close up images of the flower’s petals and stigma, demonstrate his own botanical interest. Mr. Kasper, a self-taught native Madison, IN photographer captures some beautiful images of Queen Annes Lace, Purple Cone Flower, and Virginia Bluebells, to name a few, from the Clifty Falls State Park in Madison. 

Exploring botanicals outside of their natural environment, Lauren Wesley who also graduated in 2015, photographs greenhouses. These photographs capture tropical plants growing up stairways, covering walls, and masquerading the mechanicals of the structures. Taken from their native habitat, these plants decorate the interiors of their manufactured home, in which their life is dependent on the care of their human collector.

From celebrating friends, playing ping-pong, to observing and harboring plants, the nature of humans is very recognizable in Human Nature. Leticia Bajuyo, the exhibition curator, assembled a glimpse of the human mammal in their innate self-interest.

Part of the Louisville Photo Biennial, at Hanover College’s Greiner Art Gallery and the West Street Art Center, Human Nature closed on November 13, 2015. For more information:

http://art.hanover.edu/gallery/

http://louisvillephotobiennial.com/2015/05/28/hanover-college/

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