A Journey Continued

The Country’s in the Details by Seah Chickering-Burchesky '08

  What do you take pictures of when you travel? Yourself and your friends in front of important monuments or road signs, a testament to the fact that you were actually there, at a place where other people want to go? Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme traveled across the United States, documenting their trip through photography, but the resulting collection of photos is not what one would expect from a photo travel diary. The two photographers instead chose to concentrate on the minutiae of landscapes and buildings. The places they photographed aren’t anywhere in particular, yet the stories they tell are all the more interesting because of it. The photographers have compiled a series of black and white photos that successfully reveal the aesthetic qualities and artistic potential of the mundane. The artists’ photos complement each other while managing to represent slightly different facets of the country.

The installation is set up so that similar types of prints from each artist are grouped together, making the work seem to progress through a series of themes. The gallery is divided into two halves by a partition, so that when first entering the gallery, one encounters Rumme’s work, then Armstrong’s. The division between the two is needed so that one realizes that the work is indeed by two different people. Overall, the photography is stylistically very similar, but the division allows the viewer to notice subtle differences between the two bodies of work.

The initial part of the exhibition showcases the work of Allen Rumme. Many of his pieces showcase the geometric forms of nature. The placement of several of this sort of piece side by side heightens the effect. For instance, we find the vertical lines of a cluster of saplings in Aspen, Mt. Taylor, NM contrasted with the rippling diagonal lines of white sand receding into the distance in White Sands, NM. Not only form, but also texture is addressed. When the two come together, the lovely Clouds, Brewster Co. TX results. Weighty round clouds that look like dark smudges of charcoal hang over a pure black mountainous horizon line.

But Rumme’s work isn’t entirely landscapes. He is interested in human intervention in the natural landscape. Elements such as ripped wallpaper and old painted signs seem as if they could appear in a contemporary ghost town. In these images, everything seems old and run-down, even extending to spray-painted messages on walls. One could easily imagine that the peace signs and flowers sprayed in Marking #81, Nueces Co. TX are relics from the ‘60s. Even the message, “PIGS SUCK” painted on an old barn in Marking #65, Fitzwillian NH could be circa the flower child era.

Crossing to the other side of the gallery, we find the work of Frank Armstrong. The photographer is interested in what he calls the “social landscape” of the rural US, in imaging “the obscure and the transitory,” the things that often go unnoticed. Where this is a subject that Rumme only touched on, here we see the further implications of graffiti. Armstrong’s work is a bit darker in subject matter, too. Instead of flower power, Armstrong paints a portrait of the darker side of the US. Brazos River Bridge, Brazos County, Texas shows one of the concrete support beams of a highway underpass, overgrown with weeds and desolate. Sprayed here in white is the message “We are here to stay / KKK.” Below, another person has added in black, “Fuck you!” After this display, even more subtle works seem to speak to the underlying race tensions of the south: in Carmi, Illinois, hand prints in black paint coat a white cinderblock wall and electric meter.

By far, the most striking pieces of the exhibit are a set of dark images by Armstrong. A hare’s body lies broken on a dirt road in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. Below this photo are two images of Texas Highway 166 North, Jeff Davis County, Texas, creating a diptych of the open road on the plains of the US. The road stretches endlessly away from us at two different angles, creating an image that conjures up the idea of the American tradition of road tripping. On one hand we have the gloriousness of the open road with its endless possibilities, on the other, the casualties and destructive attitudes that inevitably result from large groups of people.

Man and His Landscape by Tara Cioletti '07

  In A Journey Continued, the work of Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme explores two versions of our landscape – one untouched and the other re-shaped, transformed by our attempts to represent ourselves through signs and symbols. There are elements to each artist’s photographs that point to our desire to remain immortal through our markings on the environment. However, there is also an underlying sadness to photographs as they reveal the inevitability that our attempts will ultimately fail. In countless photographs from each artist we see graffiti, advertisements, buildings and other human creations that are faded and broken down by sand and sun exposure.

Rumme and Armstrong capture both the beauty and ugliness of time: its ability to create and destroy. In Santa Elena Canyon we see how thousands of years have sculpted the earth, and Rumme has captured the complex textures and magnificent depth of the canyon. Of a similar quality is Frank Armstrong’s Worcester County Hospital, West Boylston, MA; the hypnotic patterns draw attention to the effects of time. The layers of peeling paint and speckles of mold call attention to the age and desolate state of the abandoned structure, which was once symbolic of the life cycle – a place of birth, death, sickness and health. Armstrong has captured how the hospital has reached its own end as it is no longer of use to mankind.

When the artists photograph the land untouched, there is a quality of beautiful stillness and quiet, as seen in Allen Rumme’s White Sands, New Mexico. An immaculate ocean of sand remains undamaged by human development and unmoved by wind or animal – it seems as though the desert is holding its breath. The subtle waves within the sand that Rumme has captured create a pattern that is quite mesmerizing. Similarly, Fort Davis Co. TX and Clouds hold still the movement of the clouds overhead, allowing our eyes to linger on a fleeting moment. It suggests that photography may be the only way to possess some kind of power over “time.”

The photographs display triumphs and failures, abandonment and repossession – for every house that is abandoned there seems to be a tree or shrub that takes its place. In Brazos River Bridge, Brazos County, Texas Armstrong has photographed a vine overtaking a wall littered with KKK graffiti, and in Rumme’s Milkweed Swanzey, Vermont the plants break through the fence and seem to engulf the frame. The artists have not only photographed our many signs and symbols, they have pointed to the uselessness of such symbols. We often abandon them, for one, and afterward they fail to remain intact.
It is most appropriate that they chose to capture theses images in black and white, as it allows the simple visual beauty of the subjects to emerge; the patterns and textures of the gritty details take full shape when uncomplicated by glossy color. Also, the subdued gray walls have allowed the black and white to truly “pop.” It is important to note that by hanging each artist on opposite sides of the gallery you can absorb them separately or compare how each has handled the shared subject. In spite of this physical division the work of Armstrong and Rumme is visually cohesive and states quite powerfully how gifted they are in capturing the fragility of the spaces we inhabit.

Interactions with the Landscape Around Us by Maria Duffy '08

  A Journey Continued is made up of photographs taken by long-time friends Allen Rumme and Frank Armstrong. They have journeyed together across the west and New England, stopping along the way to capture the landscapes around them. Rumme and Armstrong look for images that display not only their own relationships to the world around them, but on a broader note, the relationships others have to that same land. They depict natural, “untouched” landscapes alongside deteriorating architecture and graffiti marked walls.

Rumme and Armstrong have fairly similar approaches to depicting the juxtaposition between the natural landscape and humans’ effect and interaction with it. They each illustrate photos of pure landscapes along with images of human impact on the landscapes such as architecture, abandoned objects, and road kill. Both offer a bit of social commentary depicting graffiti referring to the KKK, women, and the police, showing how our prejudices and beliefs are spread out on the landscape around us.

Rumme’s photos present the tension that exists between the stunning landscape around us and the destruction created by our presence in it. In Milkweed, Rumme lays out this tension directly, depicting a wild landscape dispirited by a worn, broken fence in the foreground of the photo. This barrier to the landscape portrays not only man’s destruction but also how the beauty of the world around us is cheapened by our disregard for our impact on the world. Yet, the wild landscape in the background persists while the man-made fence is decaying, portraying the fundamental power nature has over man.

Armstrong’s photos deal more directly with the themes of decay, society, and neglect. They depict abandoned architecture, wall drawings, and objects that have been left behind without any consideration for their place and significance in society. In Uncertain, Armstrong illustrates a nondenominational church entitled “The Church of Uncertain.” This rather depressing photo offers up feelings of vast isolation due to the thick forests surrounding the church. Between the remoteness of the structure, the lack of people at the church, and the title Armstrong has assigned, it is implied that humans are lost in some way. The church seems small compared to the land around it and offers an eerie sense of separation from society. This feeling of separation is evident throughout the entire exhibition since there are no people depicted within the landscape. In many of the photographs only architecture, objects, and the marks people have left behind are illustrated, again emphasizing man’s interactions with and neglect of the land.
The overall installation of the show is favorable. It is divided between the two artists which allow them each to make their statements separately. Each individual installation was fluid with photos evenly placed and in traditional black frames. The blue-gray tone of the walls and the lighting offered a direct and agreeable area in which to view the photos.

Country Life Visits Clark University by Nadine Haija '08

  In “A Journey Continued…” an exhibition hosted by Clark University featuring photographers Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme, the disruption of natural American landscape by the human hand is captured and brought to the attention of viewers. The exhibition encourages all attendees to think critically about the effects of human dwelling on natural land.

Upon entering the brightly lit exhibition, one is greeted by the works of Allen Rumme, a long-time photographer inspired by his father’s work. Within the images of Rumme’s display, there are two predominant focuses: the contrast between light and dark and the serenity of the undeveloped land. This is perfectly displayed in the photograph of Santa Elena Canyon, 1993, where the viewer is brought into the heart of the canyon.

Rumme invites the viewer into this natural, rocky gap by using the walls of the canyon as a border to the picture, the water flowing within the gorge, and the viewer. Within the canyon there is a lack of sufficient light; however, shining through the opening of the canyon are the bright rays of the sun. This helps to create a distinct contrast between the shadows and light as well as a calming sensation. It is apparent throughout his work that Rumme appreciates the natural beauty of the sun’s rays beating against open, untouched land, and the presence of shadows from trees and canyons.

Rumme’s work fills the viewer with a sense of relaxation and tranquility despite the immediacy and closeness of his photographs, which can often induce feelings of suffocation or shock within audiences. The majority of Rumme’s exhibit is filled with beautiful photographs of naturally formed canyons, hills, and clouds.

This is in contrast to the work of Frank Armstrong, a photographer who also attempts to capture the beauty and rawness of Mother Nature, yet makes it a point to visually describe the irony of manmade objects within a particular environment. Most of Armstrong’s work consists of objects that seem out of place within a setting. A perfect example of this is displayed in his work, Piquoig, Massachusetts, 2003, in which a nearly untouched plot of land is filled with sporadic patches of grass and surrounded by evergreen trees. Perfectly positioned in the heart of the photograph is an abandoned, boarded-up white trailer disrupting the serenity of the surroundings. Hanging from the top of the trailer reads a sign that says “Native Corn.” The trailer displays the remnants of human existence intertwined within nature, the irony of manmade objects in an organic location, and using the resources of the environment for human benefit.
Although these two artists seem to have contrasting themes, their work harmoniously coincides, creating an exhibition that leaves the viewer with a level of distaste for society’s desire to constantly expand and use once-untouched land. It provokes contemplation of what is off-limits to human development and when do/should humans draw the line on creating artificial objects in natural areas. The exhibition, hung in Schiltkamp Art Gallery, is on display until April 16th and serves as a very thought-provoking and enlightening exhibition, also bringing a taste of country life to a student-populated city.

A Silent Conversation by Celia Hoffman '06

  "A Journey Continued" is a strongly themed collection of black and white photographs taken by two colleagues Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme now showing at Clark University's Schiltkamp Gallery. The barren landscapes, often desolate and decaying, manage to convey a narrative quality more readily found in photographs of people. Both photographers have decided to focus on places that have been abandoned but marked with the residue of the people that were once there. With an eye toward the human hand, these photographs tell the stories that begin after a traditional narrative ends. They describe place after all have left.

The photograph that seems most literally to follow this theme is Armstrong's Carmi, Illinois. The subject is a cement brick wall sprinkled with different pairs of hands--some leaving a dark, more realized impression and some so faint they are barely decipherable. Translating this picture as a metaphor for both photographers' collections is easily done. The handprint of man can be found in so much of our natural landscape--sometimes it is clear and obvious, sometimes far more subtle and unrecognizable, but almost always present. Even Rumme's photography of what he calls "wide-open spaces" are often complicated by the weathered mark of man. In his piece titled Fence the subject of the title stands erect only in the foreground of the picture while the remaining fence posts spread out along the beach, almost blending into the texture of the sand as they lie flat against the ground.
The artists have carefully described man's dialogue with the land in this exhibit, especially their own. Because Rumme and Armstrong explore such similar themes in their work, their photographs are wonderful complements to each other. Additionally, the way the images have been grouped—clustering photographs that are most similar together—allows the focus to be taken off the individual image and laid more heavily on the idea behind the image. These photographs act as a kind of invisible mark the artist makes on the land, like a handprint in Armstrong’s image that is so faint the viewer cannot see it at all. This choice to photograph other marks becomes an affirmation of the photographer’s own presence. The moments this land represents are the moments when man reached out his hand to touch it and in a way describe it as his own. Within the walls of the gallery, Armstrong and Rumme do just this.

The Big Bend of the Journey by Bridget Kane '07

  Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme are old friends. Both began working as photographers during the 1960s, but their personal paths did not cross until 1985. The two became fast friends, meeting regularly to photograph their way through America.

A Journey Continued brings these two men together in a more formal setting—the gallery. There is a sense of neutrality and precision within the installation; the walls were grey, and each large black and white image was in a large black frame and matted in white. The arrangement of the gallery was symmetrical; it was divided in half so that each of them to had his own space to exhibit in. The exhibition focused on their individual interests in subject matter, but came together as an examination of how human beings interact with the rest of the world.

For Armstrong, this is best seen through his upfront and ironic images. His images seem to be very quiet around the edges, and the focal point is usually dead center or a bit off center, with the subject matter in foregound playing and interacting with the quietness of the background. The most startling of these images is Santa Fe County, New Mexico 2002, in which a jackrabbit is seen dead in the middle of a gravel road. We see the tire tracks of whatever automobile brought on his demise on either side of him. As this is a black and white photo, the carcass of the jackrabbit seems to blend organically with the natural environment.

In Rumme’s work, we see how time and people change things manmade. He studies what he has titled “markings” of human life- usually one person’s marking interacting with another person’s (previous) marking on the side of a manmade structure, such as a farm or place of business. In Marking #110 – Corpus Christi, Texas, we see the side of a cement brick wall. Atop the wall, we see a memorial with a checkerboard design atop a layered under spray-painted graffiti. This is modern anthropology at its most raw-- the interaction of man and manmade things, and the act of photographer documenting it.
These photographers are similar to one another in their gritty subject matter, the size of their photographs, and their printing technique. On a more close examination, one will see these gentlemen have their own distinct voices. Though both focus on human impact on the environment, Armstrong tends to focus on how humans contribute to decay and abandonment, and Rumme captures what people add to already manmade things. Though they may explore America together, they come out of it with their own very distinct stories.

Time as a Catalyst of Beautiful Decay by Carly Kopper '08

  Imagine taking a leisurely road trip across the country and stopping to photograph everything that sparked your interest or sense of beauty. ForAllen Rumme and Frank Armstrong, this is not a dream, but reality. The Traina Center is currently running an exhibit of these two photographers’work titled "A Journey Continued." Frank Armstrong is a professor of photography at Clark, which gives the exhibit a personal connection to the university.

The exhibit immerses one in a world of black and white, where sunlight passing through tree branches takes on a heavenly glow, and run-down buildings of an abandoned mill town whisper the stories of all those whowere familiar presences a long time ago. Rumme and Armstrong share the common goal of explaining the relationship between man and nature through the medium of photography.

Rumme’s work opens the exhibition as you enter from the front door of the Traina Center. It ranges from natural landscapes to artificial wallscapes. The “wallscapes” are photographs of graffiti or painting on public buildings left by anonymous writers. Marking #27 from Central Texas shows the universal symbol of a heart with initials; what sets this example apart is Rumme’s decision to include the crumbling plaster and the dripping, dissolving paint that show the impermanence of the scrawl and human emotion itself. Time as an element of nature overpowers man.

A partition neatly divides the exhibition in two, allowing the viewer to digest the diverse elements of Rumme’s section before continuing on to Armstrong’s space. Armstrong’s photographs use the strategic absence of human figures to emphasize what is left behind in the struggle between nature and humankind. The image of a rabbit carcass, probably killed by an automobile, jumps at you from the right in the second half of thegallery. The lack of activity or human figures make the scene an eerily peaceful reminder of the rabbit’s violent death. Much of Armstrong’ssubject matter is in an oddly beautiful “state of decay,” as he refers to it in his personal explanation of the exhibition. Time is a catalyst of this decay, but it is a natural force which can overtake any man-made influences on the environment, as Armstrong’s photos of buildings and landscapes illustrate.

"A Journey Continued" functions on many levels, illustrating the power of black-and-white photography, the hidden beauty of the American landscape, and the transitory quality of our lives in the face of time and natural change. The dimmed lighting of the Schiltkamp gallery serves as the perfect accent for the collection of photographs, while the blue-grey walls emphasize each of the individual images. Rumme and Armstrong accomplish their goal of memorializing man’s interaction with nature, but one must visit the exhibition and personally decide which photographs are most striking.

A Journey to Recall Others by Greg LeMieux '07

  As one walks through the Schiltkamp Gallery of black and white photography from Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme, a number of journeys are being continued (as alluded in the title of the show). First is the journey the photographers have made in their own lives in capturing their images. Second are the images themselves, which each document a life once lived and the aftermath of that journey. The third is the journey taken by the viewer. Walking through the gallery each image brings the viewer to a very specific place while at the same time having a very general subject such as a brick building. But it is the light and shadow on the brick wall that helps to recall experiences of our own and the building we have seen in our own personal journey.

The images are a mix of natural and urban landscapes from across the United States, from Texas to New Hampshire. While they are from various areas there is a sense of unity within them, as if they are all part of the same story. It is the documentation of Armstrong and Rumme's travels, but it is much more than simply their vacation or road trip. It is the journey of every person that becomes visible. As one looks at the image of Rumme's Terlingua Cemetery Brewster Co TX one can't help but think of the lives of the people the crosses represent, and the families who have visited those graves. As the shadow falls on the porch of Armstrong's Seaton Texas one can only think of a summer afternoon spent as a child when the days seemed so long. It is the ability of these photographers to take the viewer to someplace very specific, such as the Worcester County Hospital, and make it relatable in your own life. The way the paint peels from the walls is perhaps reminiscent of an abandoned building or back ally-way in the town that you grew up and have since moved from. The story of one aged building transitions to another more personal one.
While all of the photos are relevant to one another, the gallery has them divided, with Rumme's work in the first room and Armstrong's in the second. Perhaps the only possible criticism would be to say that there are too many pieces in such a small area. Although it would be difficult to take any of the images out of the show, one is overwhelmed with the number placed closely side-by-side and below one another. If the show consisted of half the amount of prints, it still would have been effective in conveying the world that the artists are trying to create. As it is, one may not look long enough to do justice to each work. Perhaps the exhibition can be seen as productive, in that there are so many beautiful images all around, it gives the viewer an idea of the potential that any place, rural or urban can have. Rumme and Armstrong's work is able to translate art into experience and vice versa, and by viewing their journey we are reminded of our own.

A Rare Perspective by Maddy Mitchell '09

  When most people travel they see the beauty in the predictable- a sunset, a vast mountain range, a babbling brook in the forest, etc. This is not the case for Allen Rumme and Frank Armstrong. Together they travel the country looking for beauty in the unexpected and documenting the impact of humans on the land and what they leave behind to represent themselves. Their photographs are never glorified, their subject, the American landscape, never altered from how they have found it. A Journey Continued is a glimpse into the photographic genius of these two men and their view of our surroundings.

Rumme’s Milkweed jumped out at me. The broken fence with a field of weeds behind it has a simplistic beauty and a sense of abandonment at the same time. There is something about the light that makes the tall, flowering weeds beautiful, playful, and inviting, yet you know the only reason they are there is because of a lack of human activity. The fence clearly represents a human interruption in nature. The fact that it needs to be repaired signifies nature’s power over man: despite the interruption, the weeds are still growing. Looking at it, you want to fix the fence but its brokenness is part of its appeal because it is a window into its history and a reminder of who was there before.

I thought Armstrong’s photograph of a scene in Marlin, Texas was a perfect example of finding the beauty in the unexpected and capturing what the average passerby would not even notice. The two old, decrepit reclining chairs look as though they are claiming this spot in front of the tree but it does not appear to be a spot you would want to claim. The factory buildings in the background give the location a false sense of productivity because it is clear they have not been used in some time. There is trash on the ground, the buildings are grimy and in decay and it is hard to understand why anyone would want to sit down in the midst of all the griminess and relax, as one does in a reclining chair. Everything in the scene is run down and forgotten-looking, but the tree, although sad and droopy, gives a sense of vitality and hope because it is the one living entity in the photograph. Your first instinct is to disregard the photograph and move on but the chairs and tree are intriguing and draw you in.

Rumme and Armstrong are fairly united in their goal of capturing the effect of human impact on the American landscape. However, Rumme is more attracted to wide open spaces and “markings,” as he calls them, than Armstrong is. Abandonment is a common theme in Rumme’s work, which contrasts with the theme of decay in Armstrong’s. Although the concepts of abandonment and decay are similar the final results in both of the artists’ work are completely different. Abandonment in Rumme’s work implies forgotten while the decay in Armstrong’s suggests actual decomposing and the falling apart of buildings. The difference is subtle but is definitely present.
I was impressed with the installation of this show. The gray walls and crisp, direct lighting gave it a very clean look that flowed well with the simplicity of the black and white photographs. The photographs were grouped closely together and the works in each grouping complemented each other nicely. The only complaint I have is that you feel overwhelmed trying to take in all the images at once since they are in such close proximity to each other. All the photographs are mounted in the same black frames and therefore already look uniform, so placing them close together takes away from their uniqueness even more. It is difficult to absorb all the details of one photograph while you have three others vying for your attention at the same time.

Remains of a Journey Continued by Patille Nargozian '09

  A couple hours outside our urban and homogenous landscape littered with fast food restaurants and chain stores there exist remnants of our natural and untouched earth. There are endless miles of land and preserved parks that hold enough beauty to last a lifetime. A “journey,” as Webster’s dictionary defines it, is “a process or course likened to traveling; a passage.” A Journey Continued captures the extended travels of Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme to these unmarked and desolate areas on black and white silver gelatin prints.

Hung at eye level and placed roughly an inch apart from each other, these photographs seem cluttered at first glance, but in fact enable the viewer to compare and contrast them. They are uniformly framed and are grouped together based on the subject of the images, including landscapes, wallscapes and nature with traces of human markings. These photographs have a low contrast between black and white, capturing a wide range of grey tones within the shadows and fine details of the land.

The two artists have similar subjects in their images, yet there exist slight features that distinguish one from the other. Frank Armstrong is interested in the signs, images, and artifacts that people have left behind as representations of themselves. He calls these “social landscapes.” Allen Rumme is a landscape photographer, drawn to wide open spaces, as well as human impact as a feature in his images through what he calls “markings.” These include graffiti, structures, graveyards, and rickety fences in desolate areas. Neither artist has people presented in their works, and it would be possible to mistake one for the other because their photographs are often similar in subjects and content.

Frank Armstrong describes his photos as “social landscapes” because they encompass “the interaction of people’s symbols with nature.” He claims to be a revealer, stating “I would like for people to feel some measure of the feeling the subject of the photographs originally inspired in me.” His Harrison County, Texas print captures a brilliant image of reaching clouds and vast marshland with a solitary tree reaching into the sky. This photo is juxtaposed against three others with open fields and a handful of trees clustered in the center. The open fields show where humans have deforested the land and what is left after humans have swept through.

Allen Rumme’s White Sands, NM captures three layers of desert land, showing great depth in each ripple along the sand. The second farthest dune is cast by a dark shadow, where the lines in the sand are exquisitely vivid and as intense as the emptiness and tranquility of the land itself. This is a representation of his earlier work, which were mostly landscapes and showed no signs of human interaction. This is similar to Frank Armstrong’s Harrison County, Texas, in that the vast openness and beauty of the land is captured. However, there has been no human influence on the sands, whereas in Armstrong’s piece it is unclear what impact people have had on the marshland. These landscapes are breathtaking in their beauty and are reminiscent of our mother earth which is often forgotten in the fast paced lives we live.
The artists explore the theme of their show through capturing what is left once humans have inhabited an area. They encompass the power that nature ultimately has over human constructions, as well as the beauty in what nature breaks down.

Photography Continued: The Journey of Armstrong and Rumme by Cade Overton '08

  In Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme’s show in the Traina Center, the title says it all. The photos evoke a strong sense of travel, adventure, and shared love for all of the locations depicted. The viewer is transported to each place and sees all of it through the benevolent eyes of the photographer. Both artists comment on the desolate tranquility of the places to which they travel, and also on the arrival, effect, and abandonment of each place by humans. They avoid clutter, and instead approach each image with an emphasis on minimalism, giving the subjects of each photograph a solidarity that resonates more soundly with the viewer. They somehow avoid the sense of decay and neglect that each place doubtlessly displays, and find a way to bring out the serene beauty of each scene.

Allen Rumme’s Fence in Brewster County, Texas is one example of how this is achieved to perfection. The vast space displays no signs of life and no evidence of human intrusion, save the fence posts in various states of rot and leaning at many different angles. Without the presence of the fence, the viewer would not be attracted to the photograph, while at the same time there is something about the image that makes one glad that there is no life present. The landscape, while empty, has such a life of its own that there is no need for anything besides the life conveyed by the emptiness; it makes the viewer simply want to be there. It makes the viewer want to feel the way the photograph does. The solitude of the empty space transcends the appeal of human solitude. It makes being alone seem like a beautiful, desirable thing. Rumme’s photographs of wall markings contrast with his landscapes, showing graffiti and old advertisements in such harsh stages of desolation that their age is obvious and they could be nothing but forgotten by the people around them. He gives them new importance with his images, making even obscene and potentially offensive graffiti beautiful.
Frank Armstrong’s images display more remnants of the intrusion of the human race upon the landscape than Rumme’s; however, he again avoids the sense of human clutter successfully. His use of abandoned, lonely buildings, headstones, and empty chairs bring to mind a sense of peaceful finality. The lighting of Armstrong’s images leaves little room for darkness or depression and instead conveys a feeling of warm calm. His photographs of Highway 166 north and south emphasize endless space. The inclusion of the road surface gives the photographs a sense of limitless freedom, something that is very important to travel. His caring eye even lends peace to a photograph of roadkill on a dirt road. His photographs, located further back in the gallery than Rumme’s, offer an excellent closure to the journey so successfully shared with the art community and the viewer of the show.

Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme’s Documents of their Journeys Together by Monica Piedrahita '08

  In Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme’s black and white photography exhibition A Journey Continued the artists present an excellent portrayal of their personal experiences traveling though the Midwest together. Although Allen and Frank shared many of the same experiences on their voyage, each of their works express the individual and personal emotions that they felt while traveling. This show is a presentation of how many people may experience similar events, yet what they see and feel can be completely different from one person to the next.

At first glance, Armstrong and Rumme’s photographs appear to be very similar, yet when looking at each separately, the viewer can feel what the artist was experiencing at the time by the way the image was captured within the small frame that the artist has to work with. Features such as context, tonality and how the photo is cropped and placed all work together in each piece to present a unique experience and emotion. The goal of the artist is to present this experience as best they can to the viewer. In Allen Rumme’s photo Wallscape #103, a picture of a graffiti-covered wall is shown; this is something that many people would overlook or not consider beautiful. Yet the way the photo is presented, the viewer can experience a sense of emotion and passion that the artist had while at this particular place.

In addition the theme of the viewer feeling the emotions and experiences that the artist had while taking each picture, it is evident that Rumme and Armstrong are depicting two very different emotions and experiences from their travels. Frank Armstrong focuses mainly on the absence of life with his use of abandoned furniture and other objects used by humans in places where the land seems very desolate. On the other hand, Allen Rumme seems to focus more on things left behind by people, and the effect that they had on nature. Rumme’s reoccurring images of graffiti are an example of his interest in the relationship between humans and nature, and the trail that is left behind after people have left. These two different focuses let the viewer relate to the unique experiences that each artist felt while traveling in certain areas.

The installation of Armstrong and Rumme’s photographs is very successful in presenting the art as well as reflecting the theme of the show. Since the viewer is able to see the work at eye-level, it invites a personal interaction between the individual and the art. The small rooms of the gallery as well as the short distance between each photo add to the personal connection one feels when looking at the photos. Along with this aspect, the bright lighting and medium-grey paint on the walls illuminate the photos, showing off the crisp blacks and pure whites in each image.
Overall, I felt the theme and presentation of Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme’s exhibition “A Journey Continued” to be very successful. The gallery space and lighting, as well as the artists’ presentation and consistent black and white photos, allow the audience to appreciate the aesthetic beauty in the photographs as well as the meaning, emotion and experiences behind them.

Varying Perspectives on Social Landscape by Lauren Sabbath '08

  Allen Rumme and Frank Armstrong conclude yet another journey across America with their joint exhibit: A Journey Continued, shown in The Schiltkamp Gallery at Traina Center for the Arts. Using black and white photography, they have each displayed their individual explorations of an underlying theme: the human relationship to environmental surroundings. The majority of Armstrong’s work displays conventional looking landscapes. What’s different about these landscapes is that they contain subtle motifs which suggest intentional and unintentional human interactions. Rumme’s photographs more blatantly depict human impact by capturing a wide range of “markings” he encountered throughout the journey. The successful execution of the exhibit’s concept resulted in an intriguing comparison between the two artists. It displays visual and conceptual differences of interpretation regarding a common theme and shared journey.

The arrangement of the gallery space complemented this exhibit’s content. A single wall reached halfway across the room, separating Armstrong and Rumme’s work without isolating either section.

Frank Armstrong utilizes his close relationship with the landscapes to capture intentional and unintentional human interactions with nature. His photographs pick up on subtle signs of human interaction which might otherwise be overlooked. The image titled, Red River County, Texas 2003, draws attention to a small grouping of trees isolated in the center of an open field. The isolation of this group of trees conveys one of two things. It gives the impression that they had been planted in that one section of the land, or that the surrounding field was generated by clearing a significant quantity of trees. Either way, the image is representative of human interference with the natural landscape. The continual presence of this theme throughout Armstrong’s photography acts as an invitation towards the viewer to figure out the human influence within each image.

Allen Rumme’s work displays a variation of markings on landscapes. He best accomplishes this with his three series: markings, wallscapes, and urbanscapes. His depiction of markings from diverse locations results in a thorough demonstration of the different ways to show ownership of property. Cuero, Texas, (taken from the wallscapes series) depicts a weathered, concrete bridge with a sign stating state policies of firearm possession on the property. Advancing on the concrete surface are multiple series of branches, showing a possible attempt of nature to reclaim ownership over this industrialized landscape. The image puts an interesting variation on the focus of Rumme’s work, demonstrating that it is not only humans, but also nature, that can seem to own a property. The branches encroaching on a human landscape is an alternate form of “marking,” this time done by nature.
Frank Armstrong and Allen Rumme have started and completed their journey together. A goal they shared was to use photography to display relationships between people and nature. Their close friendship acts as the liaison connecting the two independent collections of images. A Journey Continued provokes an assessment of personal impact on landscape, as well as a heightened awareness for indications of marks left by others.

Scapetacular Images by Susan Sharp '07

  The photography exhibit featuring Allen Rumme and Frank Armstrong captures the essence of the Southwest and the Northeast regions by providing landscape and architectural images. Although some of these depict images of human markings or graffiti, they never show the human form responsible for them. The exhibition has two sections, one for each artist with a partition separating them. While the barrier at first seems isolationist, considering the photographers travel the country together in their quest for photographic material, the divide pays respect to their unique creative perspectives. The division clarifies the role of each artist’s eye and ideas about photography; although the literal subject matter of Armstrong and Rumme’s pieces are similar, the artistic outcome, or what actually appears in the frame, prove different.

Allen Rumme’s photographs are displayed in the front part of the gallery. His works focus on two subjects, landscapes and social landscapes marked by graffiti. Broad landscape images encompass land, vegetation and sky, showing how each element interacts with the other. In one graffiti piece, Rumme captures the sinister scrawling of “666" in a haunting manner. He isolates the mark from the human who left it, leaving confusion as to the individual marker’s motivation, and what he or she intended viewers to see and think. The blurry, indecipherable wall behind the marking highlights the writing, transforming it from simple graffiti to a bone-chilling, other worldly symbol. Rumme appropriates this image, bringing a new meaning and ascribing his authorship. He casts a ghastly glow that evokes the horrors of humanity on what was probably a simple tag. By framing another’s work, he melds his own intent—analyzing the others’ mark—with the original message of the marker.

Frank Armstrong’s pieces reflect architecture and detail within nature. Several photos depict small portions of decaying walls, while others show the porous details of rocks. Images of Southern churches and run-down buildings juxtapose the stereotypical, religious South with the real, forgotten South and the poverty that surrounds it. Armstrong’s nature photos portray vegetation and other natural elements as surreal and fantastical. A photograph of a marsh lake exemplifies his ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. From a vine-filled, marshy lake, he distills the shapes of trees and vines as they bleed into the lake’s reflective powers, manipulating the representation of nature through his own artistic interpretation. He masks the water line, making it nearly impossible to tell where the real trees end and the reflected trees begin, which gives the plants a reflexive and transcendental quality; the trees appear to have no limit to them, they seem infinite and beyond nature. At the same time, only the lake water’s surface is addressed and the aquatic life beneath is forgotten.
The dual exposition proves high effective, as the viewers have the opportunity to compare photographic interpretations of regions. It illuminates the role of the photographer and the control he or she possesses in the outcome of a finished piece, challenging assumptions that photography is easy or low-impact.

Man versus Nature by Laurill Spinazola '08

  Landscape photography certainly is not a new subject for Frank Armstrong or Allen Rumme, both whom have been doing it for years. “A Journey Continued” displays many photos from the two that share a theme of human interaction or impact on landscape, mainly in rural areas of the U.S. The majority of the black and white photographs on view in this exhibit encompass these themes through subjects that are not hidden, but are often considered mundane and go unnoticed.

Though both photographers are very similar in choice of subject matter, their approaches do vary. Armstrong tends to approach subject matter in a way that captures a sense of abandonment. Rumme’s photos, on the other hand, appear inspire a sense of harmony in the way that the relationship between man and the landscape is portrayed.

The silver gelatin print Tiaban, New Mexico, by Armstrong is one example of how many of his photographs depict a sense of abandonment through man’s impact on landscape. The viewer’s attention is immediately drawn to the center of the photo where a decayed structure stands, surrounded by open land with shrubs overgrowing the property. The way the subject was framed adds to the sense of abandonment. The small skeleton of the former dwelling is isolated in a desolate looking environment. When you examine the background of the picture you can see far in the distance and still no other man-made structure is visible. In the photograph the light falls onto the structure emphasizing the lack of upkeep on its tainted white siding. At the same time, shadows fall in the gaps where windows and a door once were, echoing the emptiness of the interior.

Rumme’s silver gelatin print Fence, Brewster Co., TX, first draws you to the remainders of a rotting fence in the bottom right corner of the print. The fence posts furthest to the right stand looking weathered and frail. The other posts, however, lay horizontally on the ground disappearing into the mesas in the far off distance in the upper left of the photograph. Though the thin lines of wire still connect the posts to each other, it’s rendered useless for its intended function. The way the fence seems to disappear into the landscape until it is indistinguishable from the soil offers a sense of unity between the man-made structure and nature, exemplifying Rumme’s theme of harmony.
The arrangement of these photographs in the exhibit was well thought-out. They all are hung at eye level on a neutral gray wall, which ensures the viewer’s attention won’t be detracted from the black and white prints. The lighting was done in such a way that it provided a soft glow, as opposed to a harsh light, that fell conveniently to focus your view on each piece. The photographs were separated by photographer through a partition in the middle of the gallery space, but still flowed because they were occupying the same room and portraying similar themes. The theme of human impact on the landscape as well as decay was effectively exposed in this exhibit. Because of this, these photographs beautifully illustrate the cycle of man versus nature. It seems ironic that after land is abandoned, nature then takes over man’s structures, as man’s structure ones took over the landscape.

Life in Abandon by Jessica Wilkinson '06

  Artists Allen Rumme and Frank Armstrong see the world through different lenses. Their friendship and passion drives them to discover and explore the West and find an abundance of life where there appears to be only abandonment. Their passion and talent is beautifully captured in their dual show, A Journey Continued.

Allen Rumme is the first artist that greets the audience upon stepping into the gallery space. Throughout, the silver gray walls contrast against the white matting surrounding each photograph, creating an eye-catching series of intriguing forms within their frames. Grouped by similar themes, Rumme explores landscapes found in nature and through human designed abstract ‘markings.’ Each photograph shows a masterfully created image, highlighting texture and pattern. Nature is glorified by Rumme through his unique perspective. Fences weathered and broken giving way to decay find a new life, crystallized vision of the grace of nature abandoning man.

Traces of a society past, the aforementioned ‘markings’ show the human interpretation of pattern and texture through various decorative images, resembling relics of our diverse society.

Livingston House, Big Bend National Park, 2001 by Rumme, works as a beautiful transition into Armstrong’s portion of the exhibit. A view from the interior of a monotone abandoned house looks through the windows onto nature. The most captivating aspect of this piece is the bright white light on the floor of the house. It is in this piece that the natural element of light is used as a man-made architectural ‘marking.’ The pure light focal point is almost a human element in its own right; it represents the manipulation of nature to benefit man, and it remains when man is not there. Armstrong fully captivates this idea of human abandonment and imprint in nature.

On a wall next to Rumme’s signature piece hang two of the most powerful pieces in Armstrong’s display, Texas Hwy 166N, Texas Hwy 166S, and above it, Santa Fe County New Mexico. Much like Rumme, Armstrong depicts nature without humans. However, Armstrong emphasizes the human element in this abandon. He focuses on humans’ negative imprint on nature, the places humans have removed themselves and how our presence works against the landscape. In Santa Fe County, a run-over hare is worn into the earthen road tracks. This is juxtaposed by Texas Hwy, where a black cement road fades into the distance, its contours mimicking the beautiful landscape it trails into.

On a separate wall, Armstrong has four photographs of nature, untouched by man. The jutting rocks and winding canyons explore an element of invasion and obtrusion within nature. These picturesque scenes are made more powerful in comparison to the photographs on the wall next to them, where humans are inflicting their presence on nature.
Through the use of these patterns and texture Armstrong’s photography shows human existence without its presence. He is perhaps more satirical than Rumme, but nonetheless poetic and inspiring. Together, these artists show a multi-dimensional relationship, contrasting each other through subtle juxtapositions in their interpretations of nature and mankind.