Pendleton Street Photography is a new Over-the-Rhine gallery in an area long linked to visual arts; in it founder Jens Rosenkrantz expands the area’s coverage of the constantly enlarging field of photography. Rosenkrantz, retired now from a career in the investment/brokerage field and a brief fling in the restaurant business, is a serious photographer himself as well as vitally interested in the work of others. So Suite 701, 1310 Pendleton Street, once neighbored by the former Marta Hewett Gallery, now concentrates on the ramifications of what can be done with a camera, particularly in the 21st century, as well as presenting artists’ prints.

Just opened there is a show called “Travels Off The Main Road” with photographs by one-time Cincinnatian Rick Farrell. Farrell, who now lives in Chicago, and Rosenkrantz had long been acquainted and Rosenkrantz was familiar with his travel photographs through social media. In an introduction to this exhibition Rosenkrantz writes “About six months ago the quality of his ‘street photography’ made a quantum leap with his mostly black and white portraits.  A large part of opening a gallery is to discover new talents, so I was excited to see what he was doing. When we talked about a solo exhibition he mentioned that he is using an iPhone 10, which I had suspected. But it’s not the equipment that is magical here, it’s the natural eye and a special relationship with the subject.”

Part of the pleasure, and purpose, of small galleries is their discovery of new talent, resulting in shows like Farrell’s “Travels Off  The Main Road.”  The show consists of portraits from the back roads and villages of India, Bhutan, China and Mexico.  The works are printed, Rosenkrantz reports, on “an Epson SureColor P800 with nine archival inks on Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte Paper.”

Other artists represented by the gallery include Tina Gutierrez, Jorge Rodriguez Diez, several print artists at DIY Printing, Rafael Zarza Rodriguez, plus the collection of print artists with the Taller Experimental de Grafica in Havana including Octavio Irving Hernandez Jiminez. Rosenkrantz considers his gallery commercial “and hopefully sustainable.”

Rosenkrantz is also working on a silkscreen project in conjunction with DIY Printing. M. Katherine Hurley is the first artist to participate; her work will be featured May 31st at Final Friday. The idea behind the project, Rosenkrantz says, is to offer silkscreen prints by artists well-known in art circles but who usually work in other mediums.

Many of Rosenkrantz’s own works, which can be seen on line and are of course in his inventory at the gallery, seem largely unpopulated. Even one called “Night Life,” showing people in a bar, somehow manages to give the sense of a crowd without individual delineation. He has been a figure in the Cincinnati art scene for some time, with work appearing at PAC Gallery, Fifth Street Gallery, Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Brazee Studios and a number of other places.

When Rosenkrantz and I talked the show on view was one he had been deeply involved in: “Bridges Not Walls,” photographs by Cuban photographers mostly working now. This had meant trips to Cuba itself, not an easy venture.  The art scene there is small, he told me. “Everybody knows everyone. . .two degrees of separation.”  The talent is of a high order, he feels, and the circumstances of living there very different, of course, from the United States.  Rosenkrantz has “enough Spanish not to starve,” and is glad to be making “serious inroads in artistic life there, meeting people.” He will be returning in June when he will be curating a show for Fabrica de Arte in Havana. Clearly, we can expect to see other shows featuring Cuban artists at Pendleton Street Photography, an advantage for us as getting to Cuba is no easy task these days.

It’s important for a city’s art galleries to be individual, each adding something not necessarily found elsewhere. Jens Rosenkrantz’s new venture seems to be setting a course to do exactly that.

–Jane Durrell

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