CH artist unspools time and motion

Eddie's Irises, composite photograph by Greg Donley.

In announcing a new exhibition of work by artist Greg Donley, Foothill Galleries owner Michael Weil wrote, "We get the sense [Greg] often is looking down and up and side to side, smiling, looking closely, historically, conscientiously, joyfully, photographically. That is the genesis of his 'still films,' as he calls them."

Still Moving, G.M. Donley's third exhibition at Foothill Galleries, will run through the month of February, and into at least mid-March. (A closing date has not been set.) Foothill Galleries is located at 2450 Fairmount Blvd., Suite M291.

The show will open on Thursday, Jan. 26, with an morning preview, 8–10 a.m., and an evening reception, 5–7:30 p.m.

Donley, a Cleveland Heights resident, said of Still Moving, "A lot of the works concern themselves explicitly with motion. There's a group that's all out bikes—from a local bicycle track race to the Tour De France, and a sequence made during a bike ride in Hunting Valley.

"Others are landscape images that reflect the passage of time in one way or another—flowers blooming, seasons changing, glaciers retreating."

Donley creates each piece through superimposing and overlapping a series of 20 to 40 images to make a single, "super-wide," composite image, measuring 8-inches high, by 6- to 8-feet wide.

"Because the images are so wide," said Donley, "you can't really take it in all at once. You can see it from a distance, but without the detail; and you lean close to get the detail, but then you can't see the whole thing. You literally have to take a few steps to get all the detail. So you experience it over time, just as the images were originally captured over time." 

"The extremely horizontal format kind of forces a viewer to understand it as a timeline in some way, especially since the sequence embodied in each piece does take place over time," explained Donley. "I see this body of work as like still films: it's a single image, but made up of other still images that have been grabbed over some amount of time, from a few seconds to a few minutes, or even longer sometimes. The look of it is a little bit disjointed, almost like when movies used to get off their tracks and kind of stutter between frames in old-style film projectors. Our handy human brains take that disjointed material and fill in blanks to make sense of it, make it into a narrative."

Donley, a volunteer editor for the Heights Observer, was the original designer for the publication, establishing many of the style and layout elements that are still used by the current production team.

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer, and a former Cuyahoga County master gardener volunteer who thinks this might be the year that her own garden takes steps toward presentability.

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 11:24 AM, 01.23.2023