• THE OREGONIAN, Review of Blue Sky Gallery, Natural Findings, Cheryle St. Onge, April 8, 2015

    THE OREGONIAN, April 8th 2015

    Galleries saturate their walls for Portland Photo Month

    Blue Sky Gallery, Natural Findings, Cheryle St. Onge

    Have you ever held a baby chick in your hands? Or a bird's nest? How about a wasp's nest?

    Cheryle St. Onge recalls a child's first discoveries with nature in a show of black-and-white vertical prints called "Natural Findings." Using a large, 8x10-inch camera, she captures light in stunning detail, including pinpricks of light illuminating tiny bubbles in bowl of frogs.

    "At first, they look like someone's diary," says Zemie Barr, Blue Sky's exhibitions manager. "But when you look closer, her compositions are very complicated and unusual."

    St. Onge, who lives in New Hampshire and won Photolucida's prestigious Critical Mass Solo Exhibition Award last year, also displays her personal journals, providing a glimpse of what inspires her. She ties the pages back with horsehair or other natural material, and attaches Polaroid pictures. Often, she wrote in her journal while her  children were doing activities.

    Her photographs and journals have a cohesion, even a narrative, but they don't tell a linear story. Family plays an important role our early encounters with nature, she writes. Those moments "when an older sibling offers up a jar of glowing fireflies, or grandmother puts a Winter Berry on your tongue, they are in a colloquial, familiar manner forging a path and beckoning to share the natural world."

    Through May 3, Blue Sky Gallery, 122 N.W. 8th Ave. 

    -- David Stabler