Monday, September 19, 2011

"Point of View"...Through the Lens and Back

                 "Shaolin" by Jeffrey Brosbe, Photographer

Hello All,

How's this for an "eye opener"?  Or, should I say a "lens opener"?  "Po-tay-toe...Po-tah-toe", either way it's certain that the "Point of View" photographic and digital art exhibit showing at Gallery 21 will open up your eyes and your mind!  It is a visual feast for the eye no matter who's lens it is seen through.  Yours, mine, the photographers'...none will go lacking, I promise.

The show runs from 9/7 - 9/19/11 at Gallery 21, located in Spanish Village Art Center at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California.  One or more of the super talented photographers will be on hand to greet guests from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and will walk them through the exhibit with friendly exuberance.  Amateur and professional shutterbugs alike will marvel at the range and variety of images, and techniques presented by the group.  Collectors will not want to miss this magnificent experience.

There are five photographers in this year's exhibition.  The are Jeffrey R. Brosbe, Janine Free, Dana Levine, John Valois and Judi Works.  What an accomplished group of artists they are.  And, believe me, folks, no one had to twist my arm or ask me to put a "plug" in for them.  Their work speaks for itself.  It spoke to me in myriad shades and tones, black and white and living color!  Just you go and see!

                       "Mela Sonepur" by Jeffrey R. Brosbe, Photographer

Magnificent is the color of Jeffrey R. Brosbe's palette.  Vivid and large as life are his subjects.  Clarity and instancy are his instruments of delivery as he freezes emotion, intense and palpable, in every frame.  I gravitate to the essence of the moment in each photograph.  His eye has no rival.  This is my immediate reaction to the photography of Jeff Brosbe.  My initial reaction to the maestro, himself, was one of deja vu.

As he walked toward me, in introduction, the walls of Gallery 21 receded, and I imagined myself in a sun splashed salon in Tuscany or the piazza in Verona, Italy as I watched an unknown, yet familiar, presence approaching.  I assure you, I haven't the slightest idea if Jeffrey Brosbe is of Italian descent, but the "cut of his jib", the refinement of his manner and the spotless perfection of his couture most reminded me of that time and place.  A resplendent Renaissance man.  I almost started humming "Figaro, Figaro..." under my breath.  The man and the art are, likewise, the same..."immediate and brilliant".  As he introduced himself and took my hand, I fairly expected him to brush it, ever so courteously, with a kiss.

Meeting Jeff and experiencing his photography are much the same.  One is captured in the moment and completely mesmerized (charmed, as it were) by some inexplicable aura.  The frozen fluidity of the dancers in, "Shaolin" exactly defines the mastery of Jeffrey Brosbe's lens, as does the photo of "Mela Sonepur" where he pauses time in an Indian marketplace set under a tree, and bathed in the rays of a rising sun.  Once again, "immediacy" brilliantly captured.  There is no mistaking the emotional quotient that Jeffrey's photos evoke in the viewer.  It is like a living, breathing thing surrounding you, welcome and inviting.  And, then, there is Jeffrey R. Brosbe, himself..."Figaro, Figaro, Figaro..."

                        "Rainy Day Muse", by Dana Levine, Photographer
                        IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED


As enlivening as color is, there is something about images captured in black and white that I can't resist.  In this realm, Dana Levine excels.  She has an exceptional ability of capturing forms in neutral tones, and creating movement and emotion with "still" subject matter.  Just as impressive is her mastery of discretion in locating and freezing straight lines and angles, as well as curving biomorphic shapes juxtaposed with or against each other.

In most cases of art work using full color scale, I am enamored; but within Dana's unusual plane of neutrals...whites, grays and blacks, I am completely entranced when I stand in front of them; and my hand rises of its own volition to touch.  (Of course, out of respect for the artwork and Dana, I still my hand in mid-reach.)  But, it is the emotion that she evokes in me, and spectators alike, that is key here.  Just take a look at "Rainy Day Muse" and "Trolley Dancer, No 1."  Two completely different photographs with unlike subject matter...straight lines and angles versus biomorphic and natural shapes.  Both are an excellent usage of neutrals...blacks, whites and grays.

Additionally, I was taught, and completely agree with my professors and peers, that if one can capture "it" (the tonal perfection of light and dark) in black and white without the advantage of the color spectrum, then one has certainly arrived at the ultimate level of observation and accomplishment.  Tonal perfection and balance...the IT of awareness in Art.  It is a sure thing that Dana has reached this level.  Dana Levine has, as they say, "IT".  Bravo!             

                                    "Trolley Dancer, No. 1", by Dana Levine, Photographer
                                    IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED

And, then there is something else to be said for COLOR.  Color, glorious color.  When it comes to color, I have to admit that, " I am All In".  "A little bit of this...a little bit of that".  MORE THAT!  Color, that is.  Just take a gander at John Valois' virtual ooze of color and pattern in, "Memories Spawning".  Through his meticulous Photoshop adjustments, John transforms his photographs of everyday recognizable objects into magnificent swirls of color and light.  He thus, creates a new energy and art form for the delight of eye and psyche.  One almost forgets they are looking at a photograph.  His work fools the eye (trompe l'oeil) into believing that it is really seeing a painting.

A rebirth of photography as an art form.  How interesting...Art reborn from Art.  Sort of like the "Begats", if you catch my drift.  Let's hear it for John Valois, COLOR and the "Begats".  Who Knew?  "Art begets Art".  MORE...THAT, John.

                                  "Memories Spawning", by John Valois, Photographer
                                  IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED

And, back to's a hard choice. Hmmm.  Oh Heck, I love 'em All.  Thanks, Judi.  You really know how to perplex a girl.  Back to that same neutral tone mesmerizing effect with Judi Works' misty portrayal of fishing boats enveloped in swirls of early morning mist..."floating" along a riverbank.  Maybe this is what they meant, when they said,"A river runs through it"!  The mood and ambiance that is captured, excellently, in Judi's "Driftboats", needs no words.  It is a visual presentation of perfection..."Light, dark and chill humidity on an early morning excursion along a experience that many a fisherman has loved (my dad, included) and lived.  My question is, "Where was Judi when she took this shot?"  Sweet.

                       "Driftboats" by Judi Works, Photographer

And now for Janine Free.  I only have one thing to say about photographer, Janine FreeC'est Magnifique!  True to form, Janine has awed us all once again with her floating images set in an almost 3-dimensional format.  At least that is how it appears to the eye.  I marvel at the myriad objects and scenery that Janine captures with her camera lens, each time I look at her photographs.

In actuality, these images are right in front of us everyday each time we look through a pane of glass.  This is what truly amazes me.  We (that's the population, in general) see these same objects all the time without having full cognisance of them.  I liken it to looking with only "half an eye" or "minimized observation"...a mere, and complacent, glance at life that is happening all around us in parallel planes and multiple layers of existence.  Sound kind of far fetched?  Well, just take a look at this first.

                       "Le Noir" by Janine Free, Photographer

Janine sees objects  and scenery in this parallel plane world.  The trick of Janine's true talent is getting others to recognize the existence of that which is not seen or automatically perceived.  She has a natural sense of projection when it comes to this sort of thing.  Her expertise at it is "unparalleled".  I, and all others, who marvel at her photographs smile, take in a quick breath and, simultaneously, think, "Why didn't I ever notice that?"  "Of, course.  I see it, now."  A real "eye opener" isn't it?

I will quote an excerpt from my past blog, dated 9/29/10, "The Real Life of Mannequins" featuring the digital photography of Janine Free:

"Janine's mastery of her subject matter is based on reflected imagery and the play of light off of surfaces and glass.  Everything that is seen in her photographs is actually in the scene she originally shoots."  " ...Carefully and creatively manipulated, the many layers of images, that one perceives in her photos, have been exaggerated or diminished, moved forward or into the background to create the effect that she wants one to see.  Janine takes only one photograph in her process..."

And, so to be honest, I have thought, on more than one occasion, that Janine has the perfect and most appropriate name.  So in tune with the direction of her thoughts and vision..."Free".  Free to see what others miss or ignore.  Free to capture the element of "freedom", itself; and then to set it free.  Free to set inanimate objects free of spatial bounds.  Ah, yes... "to freely set free the elements of perception, and thereby, free the mind and soul from a singular plane of awareness and confinement."  Make sense?  Ask, Janine Free.  I bet she knows exactly what I mean.

                    "Tortured by Beauty", by Janine Free, Photographer

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
All images, content and text copyrighted, 2011, all rights reserved

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