."Focus on Form" features the photography of seven members from The Silver Circle. According to Ron Caplain, who founded the group 35 years ago before digital printing, "the name Silver Circle came about because our work was created in the darkroom and silver was a component of the paper used to print our photographs! The primary function of the group is as a forum for expressing problems, ideas, inspiration and technical innovation." Exhibiting sculptor Karen Nash relates that "Assemblage sculpture is a never-ending adventure, a deep dive into the hidden relationships among the things that we accumulate, use, and discard. Once the relationship is discovered, that stuff can rise, phoenix-like, from the waste bin to the gallery pedestal, as a whole new entity. "
First time in Times Square since pandemic - now fully open - but not quite as crowded - still fun.
(Vector Images from Photographs)
A camera means different things to different people. For me, a camera captures compositions. My job when I use a camera is to arrive at a pleasing and interesting two dimensional organization of shapes on the camera's sensor.
For a few years now I've been working directly with the shapes I see in images. There are various ways to do this. For example, Adobe Illustrator's Live Trace will break an image into a sort of jigsaw puzzle of shapes. There are various other image segmentation methods. The one I use in the vectorgraphs I show here comes from an open source computer vision software library called OpenCV.
The creation of one of these vectorgraphs starts by segmenting an image into its component shapes. Then I sort these and select shapes of interest. I discard shapes that are either too large or too small. Very large shapes dominate and may sometimes overpower an image. Very small shapes draw the observer into looking closely. While adding interest, small shapes do tend to draw attention away from the overall composition. The exclusion of very small details is one of the primary reasons my vectorgraphs are composed of shapes rather than pixels! For some images I further thin out what remains by randomly discarding shapes. The idea is to suggest a scene rather than render it in detail, just as a painter might selectively depict a few bricks to suggest a brick wall.
Once I have my final set of shapes I simplify, exaggerate or otherwise embelish each one. Then I choose a level of transparency for every shape's fill and for its outline. Finally, I assemble everything into a final composition by overlaying each shape on a clean (virtual) canvas. All of this is done with a few hundred lines of Java code, code that I constantly tweak to see how variations affect the final outcome.
The point of this treatment is to arrive at a pleasing composition of interesting shapes that suggests a scene. This allows the viewer to have a bit of fun and interest discovering what a scene might depict. Is such an abstraction better than a more literal image? That would be like asking, is a dream better than reality? Each has its place. Personally, I find both to be quite satisfying and enriching experiences.
In my images, I am attempting to use a visual language to create the same impact as a good poem -- I try to extract the nature of my interaction with the subject. If you look at one of my images and have just a flash of a memory or a feeling without knowing why or what, I’ll feel that I’ve succeeded. However, if you look my images and enjoy doing so, I’ll be just as happy….
I'm happiest with my images when they look more like paintings than photographs. So why don't I just paint then, you might ask? Because I don't have any talent in that regard. Also, this work is a complete departure from my day job as a university photographer giving me the freedom to experiment, and more importantly, to play. The images presented in this exhibition represent my attempt to create photographs with a painterly quality. They're abstract and sometimes layered to achieve this result adding a hint of mystery. There may be more going on than what you see at first glance.
My photographs explore how everyday life is affected by the events happening around us. I focus on common objects and found items as symbols and arrange them in unique ways. The viewer is invited to interpret the images from their personal story and shared experiences.
sculpture is a never-ending adventure, a deep dive into the
hidden relationships among the stuff that we accumulate, use,
and discard. Once the relationship is discovered, that stuff can
rise, phoenix-like, from the waste bin to the gallery pedestal,
as a whole new entity. In the process, some intriguing symbolism
can emerge from the juxtaposition of the components.
For several years, I’ve hoarded a collection of paint chips, knowing that I wanted to use them in a statement about the mythical “color line” that has divided human society. For this show, Focus on Form, I finally understood what form that statement needed to take. My assemblage, Skinfinity, applies those paint chips, in all the shades of human skin, to the “impossible” surface of a Moebius strip. Visually, the strip has two sides, yet if one traces the flat surface around the curves of the infinity symbol, it becomes clear that the form has only one continuous surface which goes on without interruption until it returns to the starting point. My aim is to illustrate that there is only one race, regardless of color: the human race.
Other works I’ve created for this show are more playful, exploring how unrelated forms might be arranged into a new form, perhaps nonsensical or puzzling, that nudges the viewer’s thoughts in new directions. Transparent or opaque, that’s how I share my artistic process.
My artistic passion never wanes but it surely waivers with time and currents. I find it takes longer to create a painting than to create a photograph but the challenge of originality is greater in photography since nearly everyone on the planet has a good quality, easy to use camera in their pocket. My current goal is to seek out the less obvious and to use my work to cut through the dark side of social media. Light always wins.
Firefly Mandalas are impermanent Eco-Art. Foraged natural materials are assembled into intricate Mandala designs and forms. Once the design is photographed, it is release back into its environment. Only the digital files remain.