Monday, December 12, 2011

Keith Parks - Artist of Distinction - Inventive Photographer

Keith Parks was recently named an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: The Abstraction Attraction! He also received a Portfolio Award and, as a result, will have a portfolio of his work published in the gallery's art and literary journal, Still Point Arts Quarterly


Keith Parks' photography is unique, inventive, and revealing of a mind of extraordinary creativity. His five images in this exhibition, of which three are shown here, are from Parks' extensive Paper Series. In this series, Parks uses paper and a camera to explore color, hue, light, shadow, contrast, and, of course...composition. Extraordinary composition. Extraordinary creativity.

Born in Los Angeles, Keith Parks grew up in the town of Oxnard, California, where his father converted an old shed in their backyard into a darkroom to "keep him off the streets" while he was in high school. Parks began college at California State University, Northridge as a photography major, but as graduation approached and he realized there were no "Help Wanted: Photographer" ads in the classified section, but plenty of entry-level graphics jobs, he switched his emphasis to graphic art in his final year. In 1980 he received his B.A. in Art.

That led to a career of more than thirty years in graphic design. In 2008, with his daughter about to depart for college, and his midlife artistic crisis in full bloom, Parks felt the time was right to take a stab at some purely personal artwork. He devoted a couple of years to building a body of work, and posted the resulting images to an online artist's community, eliciting positive reviews and valuable feedback. By 2010, with his hard drive filling up with image files, he began to submit entries to art shows and to have work appearing in shows around the country. Since then Parks' work has been showing in galleries throughout the country and online.
I have been taking and making pictures since the days when it made your fingers smell (aaahhh... fixer). At first I lamented the departure of film, but the digital medium certainly has its advantages. So while I do some computer processing of most of my images, I try and limit it to things that I could have done in the darkroom. It is important to me that the pictures are not overly synthetic.

The series of paper images began quite by chance. While shooting some food pictures, I realized that the paper I was using as a backdrop was quite interesting on its own. And as I worked more and more with paper, I came to see it as the perfect subject. Paper is cheap, comes in almost endless colors and textures, and is quite willing to sit for hours under the lights while I cut, fold, reposition, and take multiple shots. In this series I continue to explore abstracts, still life, figurative images, conceptual pieces, and my own variations on historical art imagery. Ultimately I am most inspired by the phenomenon of nature that we call “light”, by its human offspring vision and perception, and by the amazing things that happen when the three come together. I also love a nice picture of a cute kitten now and then.
Nightshade. 20 x 20 inches. Color photograph. Framed, $395.
Crash. 20 x 20 inches. Color photograph. Framed, $395. 
Visit Keith Parks' website 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Nomi Drory - Artist of Distinction

Nomi Drory was recently named an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: The Abstraction Attraction! She also received a Portfolio Award and, as a result, will have a portfolio of her work published in the gallery's art and literary journal, Still Point Arts Quarterly
Nomi Drory was born in Bolivia, raised in Israel, and then moved to Canada as an adult. Through her experience as an immigrant she developed both a pervasive sense of dislocation and a paradoxical attachment to disparate places. The contrasting cultures and the combination of man-made and natural environments experienced on four different continents have helped to direct the material and thematic content of Drory's art. In addition, her training in Israel as an architect between 1983 and 1989 influenced her artistic process and concerns.
Gray Memorial and Wall

Nomi Drory has four paintings in the exhibition; two are shown here. These are from her Dichotomy Series. In her words:
In this series, I have attempted to distill the symbolic and utilitarian essence of two iconic, monumental architectural structures, the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and the Israeli West Bank Barrier,  highlighting their metahistorical independence and interdependence. I have also sought simultaneously to explore and confront two of the darkest elements of my personal identity and familial history.

I am the daughter of a father who was born in the Hungarian-speaking region of the former Yugoslavia. The sole member of his family to survive the Holocaust, he escaped Europe to the newly-founded State of Israel, which became for him not only a refuge but a guardian. His first home in Israel was the abandoned house of a Palestinian Arab family. I am also the daughter of an Israeli-born mother, a non-religious socialist and human rights advocate who saw herself as more of a Canaanite than a Jew.

Red Memorial and Wall
Dedicated in May 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial commemorates the murder of six million Jews at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi forces. Designed by Peter Eisenman, it occupies 19,000 square meters of space near the Brandenburg Gate and is made up of 2,711 gray stone slabs of various heights that bear no markings. The Israeli West Bank Barrier is a border separation comprised of fences, vehicle-barrier trenches, and an 8-meter-tall concrete wall built partly along the 1949 Armistice Line between Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. The barrier is referred to by Israelis as the Anti-Terrorist Fence and by Palestinians as the Apartheid Wall.
In juxtaposing Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial with the Israeli West Bank Barrier, I have attempted to represent viscerally the tragic dichotomy inherent in the founding of Israel: the creation of a safe home for the historically victimized Jewish people and the displacement of the Palestinian people. I was drawn to depict these two monumental structures because of their symbolic resonance and literal physical architectures.
The wall upon which the pieces in this series are hung also evoke for me my personal reality here and now in Canada. Though the subject matter of this series is drawn from the politics of Israel and Palestine, I see this series as quintessentially Canadian. Moving to Canada in my late twenties, especially to multicultural Toronto, enabled me to gain the geographical and socio-cultural distance necessary to listen to and hear the voice of the Other--which is what is at the heart of this series.  
During her career Nomi Drory has explored a variety of art media and disciplines. She began exhibiting in Israel in 1989; at that time she was studying architecture and presented and received honors for her work in that field. In 1995 she exhibited drawings and ceramic sculptures in Sydney, Australia. By 1999 she had turning to painting and, since then, her work has been shown in New York and extensively throughout Toronto. 
Gray Memorial and Wall. 48 x 24 inches. Mixed media on board. $1500
Red Memorial and Wall. 40 x 20 inches. Mixed media on board. $1200
Visit Nomi Drory's website