JONATHAN STARK © 2014

                                                                                         JONATHAN STARK © 2014


The concepts of awareness, openness, trust, honesty, and effort are at the root of all that I do. I have said that even when I am shooting an inanimate object, I am involved in an emotional relationship with that object. All my work is hopefully both honest and emotional at it’s core.


In collaboration with five outstanding photographers 555 Gallery brings you an exhibition that is both beautiful and thought provoking. Please join this celebration of images created with intelligence and high attention to process and craft.

The strength and power of a woman lies within authentic self-expression. "Ravishing", the second exhibition at 555 Gallery, celebrates women triumphing over personal adversities, in portraits and self-portraits of multi-faceted lives, as reinvented classical beauties, and shielding themselves from eye contact.

Featuring the work of:

Jonathan Stark, Leonard Nimoy, Bear Kirkpatrick, Alicia Savage and Jeffrey Heyne 

HITS BACK                                                                                                                                                   JONATHAN STARK © 2012

HITS BACK                                                                                                                                                   JONATHAN STARK © 2012

GROUNDED 2                                                                                                                                               ALICIA SAVAGE © 2012

GROUNDED 2                                                                                                                                               ALICIA SAVAGE © 2012


ODALISQUE                                                                                                                                                   JEFFREY HEYNE © 2014

ODALISQUE                                                                                                                                                   JEFFREY HEYNE © 2014


  NIKOLE : THE ADORATION OF THE MYSTIC LAMB                                                                            BEAR KIRKPATRICK  © 2014  

  NIKOLE : THE ADORATION OF THE MYSTIC LAMB                                                                            BEAR KIRKPATRICK  © 2014

 


 164-48                                                                                                                                                       LEONARD NIMOY

 164-48                                                                                                                                                       LEONARD NIMOY


APRIL 2, 2014

Ravishing”: breathlessly beautiful, overwhelming, transporting.  A word used to describe the extraordinary.  In the group exhibit of the same name at Boston’s newest photography venue, 555 Gallery, five photographers reach beyond physical beauty to delve into facets of female strength and spirit.  Interestingly, almost all of the artists have explored the visual representation of qualities that are usually invisible to the naked eye by incorporating some sort of head or body covering.

The impetus for this show came from the work of Jonathan Stark, whose collection “Emergence” focuses on the transformation of women who have undergone a physical or psychological ordeal and emerged stronger.  Stark’s subjects coat, streak and letter their bodies with mud which cracks and falls away to reveal the skin beneath as a metaphorical expression of their inner transitions.  Stark’s approach is multi-faceted, from sensual close-ups of the torso to full-body compositions that capitalize on facial expression and postural language, to double-exposed portraits whose layering creates deeper psychological dimensionality.  Using a hand-held camera and B&W film, Stark’s imagery is dynamic, texturally rich and emotionally powerful.

“I Am More IV, 2012” gelatin silver print by Jonathan Stark

“I Am More IV, 2012” gelatin silver print by Jonathan Stark

“Grounded II, 2012” by Alicia Savage Alicia Savage is the only artist in the show who did not use body coverings symbolically, as well as being the sole female exhibitor.  Her athletic self-portraits exemplify the power of a soaring female spirit in her anti-gravitational series, “Grounded”.  An invigorating exploration of color, shape and composition, Savage’s photographs feature her diagonal figure caught touching down before a plain studio backdrop with minimal, dramatic lighting.  Emancipation fairly radiates from the frame as Savage’s gracefully outstretched body, flowing fabric swirling about her, resists the earth’s pull.  Her striking compositions are surreal and exhilarating.

“Grounded II, 2012” by Alicia Savage

Alicia Savage is the only artist in the show who did not use body coverings symbolically, as well as being the sole female exhibitor.  Her athletic self-portraits exemplify the power of a soaring female spirit in her anti-gravitational series, “Grounded”.  An invigorating exploration of color, shape and composition, Savage’s photographs feature her diagonal figure caught touching down before a plain studio backdrop with minimal, dramatic lighting.  Emancipation fairly radiates from the frame as Savage’s gracefully outstretched body, flowing fabric swirling about her, resists the earth’s pull.  Her striking compositions are surreal and exhilarating.

“Wallportrait Margaret 2: The Winter Skaters, 2014” archival pigment print by Bear Kirkpatrick Bear Kirkpatrick delves into a very different aspect of female spirituality in his elaborate series of life-sized “Wallportraits”.  Playing with the power of head and body coverings to evoke underlying character, Kirpatrick adorns, decorates, covers and coats his models.  After the portrait session, each one is electronically woven into an appropriated wall painting that suggests a history.  The direct, compelling expressions of his subjects are central to his composition and message.  With fantastical narrative overlays, Kirkpatrick attempts to layer the physical with the metaphysical, using his camera “to find the ghosts of presence and memory, the vestigial elements we carry about us as invisibly as spirits”.

“Wallportrait Margaret 2: The Winter Skaters, 2014” archival pigment print by Bear Kirkpatrick

Bear Kirkpatrick delves into a very different aspect of female spirituality in his elaborate series of life-sized “Wallportraits”.  Playing with the power of head and body coverings to evoke underlying character, Kirpatrick adorns, decorates, covers and coats his models.  After the portrait session, each one is electronically woven into an appropriated wall painting that suggests a history.  The direct, compelling expressions of his subjects are central to his composition and message.  With fantastical narrative overlays, Kirkpatrick attempts to layer the physical with the metaphysical, using his camera “to find the ghosts of presence and memory, the vestigial elements we carry about us as invisibly as spirits”.

“Odalisque, 2014” archival pigment print by Jeffrey Heyne In his colorful series, “Voile”, Jeffrey Heyne explores the ability of a woman’s veil to “conceal, reveal and deceive”.   He appropriates historic female figures from the postcards of famous paintings by Boticelli, Ingres and others, then “blends in a digitally created vertical veil, similar to a hanging shear curtain, with (super-saturated) colors derived from the painting palette itself.”  The conspicuous contrast between these classically painted women and their vivid pop-art “veils” serves to amplify the effect of a veil to impart the competing attributes of chaste virtue and eroticism.  I found Heyne’s approach to the female portrait unusual and fresh.

“Odalisque, 2014” archival pigment print by Jeffrey Heyne

In his colorful series, “Voile”, Jeffrey Heyne explores the ability of a woman’s veil to “conceal, reveal and deceive”.   He appropriates historic female figures from the postcards of famous paintings by Boticelli, Ingres and others, then “blends in a digitally created vertical veil, similar to a hanging shear curtain, with (super-saturated) colors derived from the painting palette itself.”  The conspicuous contrast between these classically painted women and their vivid pop-art “veils” serves to amplify the effect of a veil to impart the competing attributes of chaste virtue and eroticism.  I found Heyne’s approach to the female portrait unusual and fresh.

From the series “Eye Contact”, gelatin silver print by Leonard Nimoy

From the series “Eye Contact”, gelatin silver print by Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy uses veiling to explore eroticism in classical B&W nude studies.  In his collection “Eye Contact”, Nimoy strives to capture “the instant between the private and the seen, that brief affirmation of the self, which I find deeply affecting.”  Paradoxically, none of the models makes eye contact, their heads always averted, shadowed or veiled.  Nimoy explains this was done in an attempt to release the models from their inhibitions but, to me, it seems to impart a denial of self.  Despite some dramatic posing, Nimoy’s figures appear static and objectified in his small and beautifully printed high-contrast gelatin silver photographs.

 “Ravishing” is a purposely provocative show.  555 Gallery owner and curator, Susan Nalband, offers: “Photography of the female body often lingers between beauty and cruelty, between documentary and fictional repertoire, revealing what lies beneath. The works of the five photographers chosen for this show will excite, sadden, amuse and anger the viewers. The images are as unique as women themselves.”

“Ravishing” will be on exhibit at 555 Gallery in South Boston through May 3, 2014, with a gallery talk by photographer Jonathan Stark on April 19th.  For information and directions, go to: www.555Gallery.com