Mixing Vintage Images with Modern Techniques
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (February 18, 2009) – "Investigating Light," an exhibition of digitally treated vintage images by fine arts photographer Walter Plotnick will be featured in the next show at Saint Joseph's University Gallery. Plotnick is influenced by Bauhaus constructivist and surrealist photographers, and uses a combination of digital process and wet photography to create photograms of vintage objects layered on dramatic scenes from 1940s circus shows and the 1939 New York World's Fair. The exhibit will be on display from Monday, Feb. 23 to Friday, Mar. 27. An artist's reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 27, from 6-8 p.m.
Plotnick's use of the photogram, an image created in a darkroom without a camera, gives his work a unique edge. He places vintage objects directly on photo paper and then exposes the paper to a light source in the darkroom. This creates what Plotnick calls "temporary still lifes."
"By manipulating a variety of light sources and then digitally combining, repeating or adding images, I am able to visually explore an abstract environment with objects and light that create movement, form and tension," said Plotnick. "Blending darkroom practices with digital technology adds a layer of complexity to the photographic process of making images."
The vintage feel of Plotnick's work may derive from his first artistic influencers, his parents. Plotnick says that he has been playing with images for most of his life. As a young boy, his father taught him how to process film, and he was inspired by his mother's work as a mannequin face painter in the '40s.
Jeanne Bracy, associate gallery director, finds that Plotnick's techniques make his eclectic influences come together brilliantly in "Investigating Light."
"Plotnick's images are captivating because they seem mysterious and obscure," said Bracy. "Many of his pieces are photograms, and the viewer can attempt to dissect the piece to determine the objects used to create the compositions. Some of his images have an architectural sense, while others seem anthropomorphic, but all have the same obscure, dramatic feel."
Plotnick's work is included in private collections in New York, Los Angeles, Austria and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He received his B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art and his M.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
An educator as well as an artist, Plotnick teaches at Penn State University Abington Campus and Montgomery County Community College. He also runs his own studio, Walter Plotnick Photography and Design, located in Philadelphia.
The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue between 54th Street and Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit www.sju.edu/gallery.