January 28, 2012 4:06:00 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
BY JAN SWOOPE
Following a flurry of voting by the large crowd at the Rosenzweig Arts Center Jan. 5 for an exhibit of photographs by Birney Imes, four selected images have been reproduced in poster form.
"Oakland Baptism," (front view), "The Chickenman's Dog," "James' Mother," and "Couple on Catfish Alley" will be available Thursday for purchase during a "down home" reception hosted by the Columbus Arts Council from 5:30-7 p.m. at 501 Main St. Imes will on hand to sign the collectible 16-by-20-inch reproductions.
"We had such a great response when everyone at the initial opening was asked to vote for the photographs they'd most like to see reproduced," said Tina Sweeten, executive director of the Columbus Art Council.
The exhibit's images were taken over two decades, as Imes explored the Mississippi countryside. In black and white film, he captured vivid and textured moments in rural African-American life.
The Smithsonian Institution Libraries published those photographs in the book "Partial to Home" in 1994.
Imes' work has also been the subject of two coffee table books, "Juke Joint" and "Whispering Pines." Roots rock singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams used one of Imes' "Juke Joint" photographs for the cover of her 1998 Grammy-winning album, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." Another image, taken in a grafittied pool room, inspired Williams' popular song, "2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten."
Williams has said, " ... Birney's work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me -- gritty, edgy in all its parallels."
Imes' photographs are included in collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, La Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and in private collections in the U.S. and abroad.
Posters will be available for $25 Thursday, or $90 for the set of all four.
The free reception will include a menu and atmosphere to match the exhibit's "down home" feel, with fare ranging from mini barbecue sandwiches to "Mississippi caviar." The exhibit will be on display through February.
"The night will be a lot of fun; we hope everyone will come out to enjoy it," said Sweeten.
Following the reception, the Partial to Home Music Series premieres in the Omnova Theater on the second floor at 7 p.m.
The first of several concerts to celebrate homegrown musicians in their own show will feature "Katie, Brady & Joe" -- Katie Burchfield, Paul Brady and Joe Jordan.
"Birney Imes has represented his home state so well, across the country and internationally. He's considered a world class photographer, yet he chose to stay here because he's 'partial to home.' And we're 'partial to home' when it comes to the Golden Triangle community of musicians," said Beverly Norris, who coordinated the show.
Of the concert, Brady said, "Joe Jordan is an extraordinary guitarist and vocalist, and Katie Burchfield is fast becoming one of the best unkept secrets around. She debuted less than a year ago in the arts council's 'Valentines Gone Wrong' Open Mic and stole the hearts of everyone there with a voice that ranges from melt-your-heart to rattling the windows."
Brady, who moved to Columbus in 2001, is known for his own deft guitar work and vocals. With Burchfield, of Columbus, and Jordan, a professor at Mississippi State, the trio presents a repertoire ranging from John Prine and Norah Jones to Gershwin and Janis Joplin.
While the arts council's Omnova stage has hosted national performers like Jimbo Mathus, Dan Penn, Peter Bradley Adams, Willie King and Eden Brent, the CAC has also introduced several area artists, including Caleb Childs and Shane Tubbs, to the wider public through its Open Mic Night programs.
"We're extremely proud of the truly talented musicians who live right here," said Norris. "Birney has generously allowed us to use the name of his exhibit for this series that celebrates them in a pure show environment, with a focused audience and great acoustics. Audience members will even get to interact with performers, to ask questions, during the show."
Tickets for the concert are $8 in advance and $10 at the theater door. For more information, contact the CAC at 662-328-2787.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.