Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Exhibit at Vallejo Museum

A new exhibit opening at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum on July 18th will give visitors a fresh perspective on Mare Island. “Walk the Island: Photographs by Mike Narciso” features a series of black and white images of Mare Island buildings and landscapes taken over the past several years by this outstanding California photographer.

“I moved to Vallejo in 1990, my wife’s hometown,” says Narciso, “We moved up from Los Angeles where we were both pursuing art careers. Nancy was expecting our first son and she needed to be close to family. I didn’t know much about this area or Mare Island, but from across the channel it looked like a great place to explore. One day I found myself working in Shop 680, cleaning up after a movie crew. I brought my camera and took a few photographs. The large milling table, lathes and other machines were still there at that time. I wanted to come back and seriously photo-graph the buildings and the Island in general. I didn’t get that opportunity until 2000, when I started “walking the Island.” Since then I have collected a few thousand images, most of which have yet to be edited.

“Each year the work developed into a new group of photographs. This exhibit is a sampling of the various groups of images taken over the last seven or eight years.”

“I started documenting the Island and ended up with a completely different point of view. So, these photographs are not really about the structures on Mare Island, they’re about the memories we see through the crumbling facades, the rusted steel, the ships resting along the docks. These photographs are about the shapes and textures, the light and shadows, of a once thriving community. They’re photographs taken today looking at the Island’s past; looking at it’s rich history. Each year from the end of fall to the beginning of spring I found the right conditions to walk in. The shadows seem heavier, the rain and fog add to the darkness of the day, and the black and white film blends it all together.”

“I love black and white film. Although I’m scanning and printing my negatives digitally, these days, I’m still processing film. After all these years it’s a ritual that has stayed with me.”

Mike Narciso has exhibited throughout California and his Mare Island images were most recently featured in a one-man exhibit at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara. “Walk the Island” runs through September 5th. The Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum is located at 734 Marin Street, Vallejo, California. Call (707) 643-0077 for more information.

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