The Chehalem Cultural Center's new exhibit features a series of photographs of the winemaking process from local photographer Adrian Chitty, who spent a year with A to Z Wineworks to get an inside look at one of the Chehalem Valley's primary economic engines.
"I originally came to this project with the idea of creating a series of environmental portraits of the people who make the wine on your table," Chitty wrote in his artist's statement. "I wanted to showcase the craftsmanship that occurs over the course of a full year in the life of a winery, and to capture the grittiness and the physical work involved. I wanted to celebrate the people that make the magic happen behind the scenes."
Chitty spent 20 years as a software engineer before taking up his creative arts. His photos prominently feature workers at the winery putting in the hours required for a signature Oregon pinot noir, with sleek metal basins and stark wooden barrels surrounding them. The inside of a winery's workings is familiar to those who have worked, toured or tasted in their halls, but are captured with artistic flair in Chitty's photos.
"In my previous career, I used to find beauty in elegant analytical and mathematical solutions to complex problems, in precisely formatted source code, and in patterns in large datasets," Chitty said. "I now see strong overlaps in what appeals to me aesthetically in different fields. Perhaps these worlds might not be so far apart after all?
"This exhibition represents multiple 'Transformations,' with the most obvious being the transformation from grape to wine. As this is my first public photography exhibition, it also represents my personal transformation from software engineer to photographer."
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Chehalem Cultural Center has limited capacity and adjusted viewing hours, along with the requirement that attendees wear face coverings while viewing the exhibit. The gallery is open for viewing and art purchase from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
"A transformation necessarily retains parts of the original," Chitty wrote. "We are not replacing, we are taking what was there before and shaping it to a new purpose. Wine is a transformation of the grape, retaining elements as diverse as soil, aspect and climate. Similarly, over the course of this residency, I have come to incorporate many aspects of my previous experience into my photography.
"As you view these pictures, I invite you to consider transformations in your own world, and to recognize and honor what those transformations contain that has gone before."
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