Image and imagination are, in some ways, natural enemies. The fixing of the image removes it from the realm of imagination. Conversely, imagination often distorts the image, losing or changing details in the recollection. However, there is some positive symbiosis. Photographers see one image, while their camera sees another. The imagination is the tool they use to bridge that gap. Abstract painters often work directly from the imagination, willing mental images into reality with the stroke of a brush.

 

These methodologies mingled at Hammond Residential Real Estate’s South End office on April 23rd, 2015. The occasion was “Images and Imagination,” an exhibition featuring the artwork of photographer Jib Bowers and visual artist Carolyn Lovit. The event was well-attended, with family, friends, co-workers and well-wishers coming out to enjoy the art and support the artists over hors d’oeuvres and wine.

 

Jib Bowers -photo credit R.Stenberg

Jib Bowers grew up in Hawaii. As a boy, he almost always carried a camera with him, snapping away and learning from experience all the while. Family and friends began to see Bowers and the camera as inseparable. “Jib will have the camera,” they would say before leaving the house, knowing that Bowers would be ready to take family photos during any outing.

 

Bowers left the islands eventually, and made his way to the East Coast. When his father passed away, he decided to go back to school – for photography. Though he had been shooting for decades, he had little to no formal training. At the exhibition, Bowers recalled that one of his first lectures – a three-hour marathon about color temperature – left him reeling. Bowers had the unpleasant feeling that he was learning all of the things he didn’t know about the science and technique of photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, there were some positive reinforcements and new challenges. One night photography class had prerequisites beyond Bowers’ transcript. However, when the professor had a good look at Bowers’ portfolio, he invited him to enroll. Some sessions of that particular class stretched from 9 pm to 6 am.

 

Still enrolled part-time at the time of the exhibition, Bowers said that he sometimes “cheats,” going back to his intuitive shooting style to avoid overthinking things – like his sources of light. However, the education has been a boon, supplementing his previous skills with valuable method and theory.

 

Bowers is a trim and energetic fellow – gregarious in greeting the many guests at the exhibition, he became very warm and earnest in one-on-one conversation. His photography is also very warm and earnest, much of it centered on scenes of natural beauty. Among the exhibition photos were sunsets, sunrises, ocean views, nautical scenes, gardens, statues and flowers. There were also a few playful pieces. Solarized Listings is a series of four 17 x 14 in. interior shots of actual properties (Bowers works in real estate by day), taken to extremes of color. The results are an arresting blend that bring to mind both psychedelia and thermal imaging. When one guest perhaps jokingly asked whether Bowers simply adds color in Photoshop, he replied “Noooo” with some horror.

 

 

 

The most arresting work on display from Bowers was Solarized Engine House Series – a wall full of 7 x 9 in. photos of an old engine house bearing the words “Torrent Six” over its entrance. The photos bear a wide variety of strange hues, almost all off-primary, and each having distinct effects on the appearance, proportions, mood and character of the photo. At first glance, one might wonder whether the prints are really all the same image.

 

 

 

 

Carolyn Lovit – photo credit-R.Stenberg

 

 

 

If Bowers was the ambassador of the image, then painter Carolyn Lovit represented the imagination. Lovit began her foray into visual art around 2008, painting realistically in watercolor. As in Bowers’ photographs, coastal subjects were prevalent in Lovit’s paintings. Bass Rocks depicts a wave crashing into a rocky shore, the water spraying violent and white against the dark blue ocean and pale blue sky.

 

Lovit said she grew “static,” and sought to push herself in a new direction. A number of paintings from Hall’s Pond captured her transition to less definite forms. The shift was made manifest in Lovit’s Untitled series of acrylic abstract paintings, all completed in the months since September 2014. Arrayed together on one long wall, they sang out their wild colors and varied textures, representing a variety of methods and explorations.

 

She pointed out her personal favorite, Untitled #9, which is based on the superposition of abstracted yoga poses onto a group of shapes reminiscent of green leaves against a blue sky. Lovit was not classically trained as an artist before she began painting, but she has not allowed that to limit her. “I really decided the only way I can fail at this is if I don’t try it,” she said, surveying her finished canvases.

 

Written  By: David Sano 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery Images: Hammond Residential Real Estate’s South End office on April 23rd, 2015.

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