‘BROADEN THE APERTURE:’ Expressing photography in a new lens


A naked woman holds prickly pear pads in a black and white photograph. In another, she caresses a cotton plant along the back of her neck.

Visual artist Karen Hymer, who manages the photo lab at Pima Community College’s West Campus, created the images using photogravure etching on polymer plates.

Her work, images from six other artists, will be on display Feb. 1-March 1 in an exhibit titled “Broaden the Aperture” at the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery.

This year would have marked Bernal’s 75th birthday, so Hymer feels especially blessed by the opportunity to show her work.

Other artists featured in the exhibit are David Emitt Adams, Kathleen Spain, Carol Shinn, Karen Strom, Joseph Labate and Alejandra Platt-Torres.

The gallery will hold an exhibit reception on Feb. 11 from 5-7 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres available. The event is free and open to the public.

Gallery director David Andrés said the exhibit showcases how different photographic techniques can be used to create art. He developed the idea while reviewing artists’ work for another exhibit.

“The concept of how contemporary artists use photography kept coming back to me while I was visiting artists’ studios,” he said.

Andrés selected some of the exhibit’s artists by recommendation and others from viewing their work. Many are well-known in Arizona.

Because PCC will host guest speakers from an International Friends of Fiber tour on Feb. 20, Andrés chose work from different mediums, including fibers.

“My desire in exhibiting these artists together was to start a conversation about how photography has influenced these artists, and to cross disciplines and mediums to help educate the Pima students,” he said.

Hymer, who holds degrees in fine art photography, learned photogravure from a PCC printmaking class taught by Andrés, and has been using it in her work for about three years.

“I chose this etching technique because of the way the photo translates into ink on paper,” she said. “The photographic detail is beautiful and the tones are full and rich. Since it is an etching process, I mix the ink to what ever color or tone I like.”

The other artists in the “Broaden the Aperture” exhibit employ a variety of mediums and techniques.

Adams, for example, uses an early form of photography called wet-plate collodion, and attaches the resulting film to rusted objects.

Spain employs the trompe l’eoil style to create an illusion of photographic reality in clay.

Shinn creates objects with thread through photography.

Strom, who died several years ago, used Adobe Photoshop to layer assembled images.

Platt-Torres’ images are striking in color contrast.

Hymer posts informational videos on some of these photographic processes on her website, karenhymer.com, so that students can learn more about the work involved.

Bernal Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is free.

Pg09-Joseph Labate-Brush Creek
Joseph Labate’s “Brush Creek” will be on display at Bernal Gallery.
Pg09-KHymer_Remnants 202, 2014 Photogravure
Pima Community College photo lab manager Karen Hymer uses the photogravure style in her piece, “Remnants 202.” (Photos courtesy of PCC Center for the Arts)


“Broaden the Aperture”

When: Feb. 1-March 1

Where: Bernal Gallery,

Center for the Arts,

West Campus

Admission: Free

Details: 206-6942 or


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