TUNKHANNOCK — When photographer Kenny Ganz first started making pictures of neon signs more than 35 years ago, he had no idea where the project would lead him or how he would eventually display the images.
“All those years I was taking these photos, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. …I am very visual and I was very fascinated with this,” he said, adding his initial goal was to simply record these pieces of American history.
A portion of these photos, which the Clarks Summit resident captured all across the country, are now on display through the end of February at the Dietrich Theater, along with the works of two other area artists: Nature and landscape photographer Tom Sheridan and folk artist Carol Moyer.
The timeliness of the exhibit is not lost on the Dietrich, which recently replaced its own neon marquee with a new LED-lit sign.
“Neon was very expensive and difficult to maintain, due to its sensitivity to the cold,” explains a card placed on a wall in the gallery. “However, we honor our long neon past with this exhibit.
“From the 1920’s up until just recently neon signs have permeated the American advertising landscape from coast to coast. Even though neon signs were more expensive than electric signage, advertisers were immediately receptive to them for several reasons. The color of the light, while easy on the eye, is more compelling and individualized. Because of the versatility of its tubing, neon is highly flexible for creating difficult designs and patterns along with the vast color range possible.”
Ironically, Granz’s photos are printed on a special transparency-like material and back-lit with LED lights.
To create the pieces, the artist first scanned his original slides onto a computer. Next, he grouped them together in a series of themed collages, which he sent to a company that printed the final product to be illuminated by LED.
Sheridan, who hesitates to call himself an artist, but is considered one just the same by the others, takes a more traditional approach to displaying his photos. Matted and framed with colors that subtly accent those in the subjects, the photography collection lines a full hallway at the Dietrich.
Titled “The Favorite Photographs of Tom Sheridan,” the exhibit features wildlife and landscapes, both local and exotic. The prized pieces of the collection are those of the Kermode bear, a rare subspecies of the black bear only found in British Columbia. According to an exhibit card, one in every 10 births produces a white or cream-colored bear, not to be confused with albino bears. The subject of the other photos, most of which he took in the last three years, range from a bald eagle to a colorful sunset.
When asked what inspires him to take a photo, the Tunkhannock resident said, “If it’s something I like, I take it, and that’s about it.”
He enjoys travelling, and in addition to British Columbia, the display includes photos from his trips to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies.
Moyer began her artistic journey in the early ’90s while at home recovering from surgery. One of her first pieces was a decorative ladder, made from tree posts and painted in layers.
Her artwork would be difficult to fit into a single category. It is exhibited in several glass box displays. A canoe made from a gourd, a doll-sized bench adorned with nickles, painted wine glasses, decorated neckties and wall hangings made from linoleum are just some examples.
The Lake Carey resident said she collects the materials she uses in her artwork mostly from yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores.
“There’s just so much for people to learn, to smile about, to make them happy,” she said, adding she considers herself “blessed.”
“When I sit down and do it, I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said. “I just think of something and it clicks.”
All three exhibits can be viewed whenever movies are shown or by appointment. For more information, call the theater at 570-996-1500.