Rosewood pairs ‘At Work’ and ‘In Decline’

Bill Franz takes local photos; Nathan Heuer works in Pa.

Dayton photographer Bill Franz is presenting images of how the free market works; Nathan Heuer of Indiana, Pa., documents what’s left when segments of that free market fall apart.

These two artists are exhibiting works at the Rosewood Gallery in Kettering through April 3.

Franz is showing 34 images of “Dayton at Work and Play.” Heuer is presenting the effects of unemployment and decline with 12 watercolor and graphite works.

“I am learning more about the area where I have lived for the past 35 years, and photographing what I discover … sort of like National Geographic comes to Dayton, Ohio,” said Franz. “To me, my project isn’t really about Dayton. It’s about the fascinating people and places that surround all of us, if we just open ourselves up to new experiences.”

He’s experienced much through his lens in the Dayton area and met all kinds of new people. Like the lineman he met when he photographed the a group of them during training at the DP&L facility on Dryden Road in January 2013. It was a difficult shot to get, as the property was fenced off. He drove to a mobile home park nearby, walked through a field, and held the camera over his head to shoot over the chain-link fence.

“As I was shooting, one of the men in hardhats walked over to me. I thought he was going to tell me to stop photographing, but he said ‘Those should be good photos,’ ” recalls Franz.

There are also images of a welder at work, a young ballerina and a tattoo artist plying his trade.

Franz volunteers much of his images to Dayton area nonprofits, the Dayton Visitors Bureau, Dayton City Paper, Film Dayton and others to promote the region. All profits of his works go to the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.

“Franz invited a number of his subjects to attend the reception. Charlie Campbell played the accordion, the Funk Lab kids did a fantastic freestyle performance, and Winan’s provided chocolate. It was a lot of fun,” said gallery coordinator Tracy Flagg.

Heuer’s series is called “Fallow Ground: Lost Vistas of the Free Market.” The watercolor and graphite works is largely concerned with architecture’s role in society as a symbol of culture and history.

“The American landscape is full of contemporary ruins of factories, hotels, schools, and other structures that have fallen by the wayside in an aggressively consumerist society,” said Heuer. “Each of these abandoned structures form the nucleus of a small narrative, often one of lost livelihoods, budgetary cuts, and dying industries.”

Heuer is an assistant professor of drawing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“This is an elegant pairing of artists, even though part of it is a little bit melancholy,” said Flagg, who recently took over for Amy Kollar Anderson and is excited to start jurying the 2016 Rosewood exhibits in two months. “It’s a very smart pairing, but I can’t take any credit for that.”

Contact contributing writer Pamela Dillon at pamdillon@woh.rr.com.

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