June 30, 2014

Dear Friends and Fans of Photography,

As some of you may already know, Tamarack Studio & Gallery will be undergoing a transition in the next few months. After Brent Nicastro’s exhibit Tracks in the Sand, I will be handing over the direct day-to-day management of the Gallery to StarPrintz, the most deserving, hardworking, and respected couple I know on the local Photography scene.

This change may seem sudden, but has actually been developing over many months, triggered last December when my partner Lu was recruited by the University of Washington Seattle to head up their Dept. of Family Medicine’s Palliative Care Section, and the Palliative Care Dept. of UW Hospitals. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for her, and (other than overcoming a little inertia) there was little hesitation on her part about accepting the offer.

And for me (other than overcoming a little inertia) there was little hesitation about the decision to accompany her on this adventure. Go west young man. While not seeking fame, nor fortune, I am seeking still that precious “state of eye” that overtakes me (like grace) when the goddess “Clear-Eyed Athena” takes me in her hand and introduces me to the natural world with its clothes off. This happened routinely in the Tamarack bogs of Wisconsin, as well as on the high mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains. I do not yet know what Washington holds in store.

While the road ahead for Lu is clear (if filled with challenges), the road ahead for me is less clear. Beyond doing what I can do to support her in her new position, I feel today (nestled in a friend’s apartment on the 21st floor overlooking downtown Seattle and all of Puget Sound) like I am standing on the edge of the known world, poised to jump. While I loved building Tamarack Studio & Gallery, I found that being a gallerist was becoming a fulltime job, leaving little time for what I really want to, which is to make pictures.

So it is with very mixed emotions that I turn over operations at Tamarack to Steve and StarLight. I know they will take what I have merely begun to the next level. They are filled with creative ideas and the energy needed to bring the ideas to reality. We have collaborated on many projects, going back to my conversion to digital photography in 2007. So I know their tastes in art are exquisite, their technical expertise in execution is finely honed, and the energy they bring to everything they do is abundant. But I also feel a personal loss, as I walk away from something that feels like it is still in its infancy.

849 E. Washington Ave is already an important photographic hub for Madison, with Steve Agard’s Opacolor and Tom MacInvaille’s Studio M right across the hall from Tamarack. I will miss these guys who have been so important to my own development as a photographer and gallerist. I cannot imagine two more highly talented, skilled, and generous mentors. And now Opacolor and Studio M will be joined by StarPrintz who will use Tamarack Gallery as a photography marketing venue. Add to all that the CPM (Center for Photography at Madison) center just a block away on Paterson, and Madison quickly begins to look indeed like a photographic Mecca of the Midwest. Let it be so.

I am also filled with gratitude for all the support the Madison (and beyond) community has demonstrated in our efforts to bring a world class photography gallery to Madison. You all have turned out in fabulous numbers for every opening, even opening your hearts and wallets to new work by artists both well-known and emerging. When we hung Inside, at Night you bought up 500 copies of the book and untold number of prints so that we could donate over $5000 (above and beyond the costs of production) to the recall effort. That show recently hung in the Uri-Eichen Gallery in Chicago in celebration of the 3rd anniversary of the occupation.

I will continue to hold the lease on the space, and remain interested and involved from a distance. Significantly, as we enter into this transition phase, we are halfway through the life of the lease. When Tracks in the Sand comes down in September Starprintz will begin experimenting with some of their ideas, beginning with a collaboration between StarLight and recent Tamarack artist Lauren Werner. I’ll let them announce and promote that body of work themselves.

I would only ask that everyone come out and support the continuing unfolding of Tamarack Studio & Gallery. Not only will StarPrintz hold many more photography exhibits, highlighting their Star accounts as well as others, but they will become much more energetic in opening up the gallery to a wide variety of other activities for which the space is so well-suited. Feel free to contact Steve or StarLight if you or your group feel your activity would benefit by being held in a space surrounded by beautiful art. Yoga, catered dinners, meetings, parties, group meditations, ceremonies, studio space, concerts – there really is  very little limit to what can be done, especially after I get my furniture out of there in Mid July.

I hope to use this blog space to continue communicating with you all in the future as it unfolds.