Invitation to “Tracks in the Sand”

July 15, 2014 | Permalink

Dear Friends and Fans of Photography,

Here is your invitation to the opening reception for Madison’s own Brent Nicastro’s exhibit Tracks in the Sand – Captured Memories of the Oregon Coast. Mark your calendar for July 25th, 5:30 to 8:30 PM here at Tamarack Studio & Gallery. Refreshments (of course) will be on hand, and Brent will be here to speak with all of you in person, as well as say a few words and answer questions about his work from the podium.

We are back on more familiar ground with these incredibly gorgeous sand/seascapes of the Oregon Coast of Brent’s childhood, all printed 20 x 30 inches in black and white on an infused aluminum sheet, with an archival guarantee that will most likely outlast the coast itself. This is print quality such as we (I, at least) haven‘t seen since Ansel Adams. And it is a must see. Brent hung up his “professional” mantel after a lifetime on the freelance journalist circuit several years back, off-loaded all his color equipment (and client list), and bought the biggest, baddest Leica Monochrome camera available. He then headed out to the coastal haunts of his childhood, the wildest section of the Oregon Coast, and came back with this body of work in the can. The dreaminess of these images can’t help but conjure feelings of longing, and long-forgotten memories. Lest you think this is just hyperbolic sales talk by an overenthusiastic gallerist, I should mention that this body of work just received a merit award from the editors of the prestigious Black and White Magazine. You can see a copy here at the gallery. A lifetime of experience in the trade makes it look so easy. These images want to hang in a room where you sit down to surrender to a Beethoven String Quartet.

So come and surrender to the lure of the Northwest coast as interpreted for us by Brent. Many have tried to capture the grand drama inherent in the ocean’s energy as it encounters land, but no one (to my knowledge) has as successfully translated that experience into an interior mood as Brent. It is a mystical and magical place which I got a small taste of myself, having returned just yesterday from two weeks in Seattle.

Speaking of which, I will be sending out an announcement shortly to my email list about an important change coming as the management of Tamarack transitions from me to Steve Walsten and StarLight Tews of Starprintz Studio. If interested, I have already posted a preview of this announcement on the blog page of the Tamarack website: Some news has already come out in the State Journal and CPM Newsletter, but I’d like to just send out a more personal note to all of you on this list.

‘Till then, see you all on the 25th



June 30, 2014 | Permalink

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.

Invitation to Michael Goldblatt’s: Dialaogue – Meditations on Aging

May 29, 2014 | Permalink

Dear Friends and Fans of Photography,

This is your invitation and announcement of our next opening: Dialogue – Meditations on Aging, by Cape Town photographer Michael Goldblatt. After shooting the first two-thirds of the exhibit in South Africa, Michael spent the last four weeks in Madison shooting and preparing the final images. We have had a blast together, and I have learned so much from him.

The opening (if all continues on schedule) will be Friday evening, June 6th, from 5:30 to 8:30. Per usual, we will have refreshments, wine, and a presentation by the photographer. You will have an opportunity to meet and talk with this unique, interesting, and provocative man. His wife Adele has just joined him here, and she will be with us that evening as well. Michael will discuss with us his process and thoughts, and will be glad to answer any of your questions or address any issues of interest to you.

This has been a nip and tuck, pressure-cooker three weeks, but sometimes the creative process benefits from deadlines. Most importantly, I am delighted with the outcome.

I also want to share with you a word of caution: these images are very large, bold, sometimes raw, sometimes lighthearted, but always both humorous and serious studies of the aging male body – in all its glory and failings. Let me assure you that there is nothing gross, or ugly here, and that you will not be embarrassed. The images may provoke controversy, but in my judgment they are dignified, discrete and tasteful.

The message I take away from this exhibit would go something like this: “yes there are many miles on these bodies, but there are many more very good miles to go. We take poignant delight in all that life has yet to offer, but we also have much to give, much to teach, and you (society) will put us out to pasture at your peril, and at your loss.” I am confident that each of will have your own reactions and messages.

The baby boom generation – the generation that came of age and created the social/cultural waves of the sixties, which we are in many ways riding out, maturing from, outgrowing, and/or expanding upon – is having to come to grips with this aging thing. As family members and friends pass along ahead of us, as we ourselves experience the changes in our bodies and capacities, denial no longer serves us well. My-two cents worth, and why I am hanging this show.

Thanks for reading, and I hope all of you will make an effort to see this exhibit.



Welcome to the New Website!

October 4, 2013 | Permalink

Welcome to the new Tamarack Studio & Gallery website, dedicated to the exploration of our connection to the visual world – and beyond – through photography. Look for announcements, reflections and other missives in this “Tamarack Notes” space in the future.