Where it all began......
The Brush/Lens Project is an exhibition on many levels. It compares and contrasts photography and painting with their mutual affinity for color and light. This exhibit is also a contemporary continuation of the relationship between the paintbrush and the camera. Photography caused painting to evolve into Impressionism in the 1860’s and now digital technology is effecting photography to develop into a whole new medium.
Historically, Long Island has been fertile ground for innumerable artists…Cindy Sherman, Fairfield Porter, William Merritt Chase…but most curious and coincidental is the creative connection that Ward Hooper and Holly Gordon discovered, quite by chance, the artistic union between two celebrated early American Abstract artists, Arthur Dove and Helen Torr.
Arthur Dove and Helen Torr spent seven years sailing on their houseboat before coming to Centerport Harbor in 1924 and deciding to stay here where Long Island’s North Shore provided enormous inspiration for their paintings. The art of Dove and Torr was intertwined and interdependent as are Gordon’s to Hooper’s. The North Shore was the center of their inspiration and has been Ward Hooper’s focus for the past 50 years. Bringing Gordon into his world has generated a renewed vitality for Hooper and an enormous leap in Gordon’s artistry…and their creative alignment shines at the Art League of Long Island this August 2015.
Dove was an illustrator and Hooper was in advertising in an earlier life. Gordon was an art teacher and a painter; and like Torr, was influenced by
Georgia O’Keeffe. Dove loved pure hot color and color radiates from every work in this exhibition. Also, like Torr and Dove, the unique perspective of Hooper and Gordon is connected...and was connected even before they collided into this collaboration. Torr painted her reality on canvas, and Gordon paints with her camera, re-creating what she see through her lens and intuitive digital development. She then prints her images to make her reality concrete. Hooper’s paintings explode with color and light, reveling in the visual dynamic relationship of weather on the landscape.
Nearly 100 years later painter Ward Hooper introduced his North Shore Long Island inspiration locations with photographer Holly Gordon. The Brush/Lens Project exhibition and gallery talk celebrates this unique contemporary creative alliance.
What began as a Facebook connection in 2014 celebrates much more than talent and creativity. A year of collaboration, energized by discovery and inspiration has bloomed into a special friendship between two artists who share a painter’s eye for color and technique…yet one is a painter and the other, a photographer.
Side by side hang more than thirty paired paintings and photographic images, each with photo record shots of the locations that inspired their art. Some pairs were actually created independently before they met and their similarities are stunning.
Most of this exhibit, however, is comprised of Ward’s sharing 50 years of North Shore Long Island painting locations with Holly, who photographed these locations to use as inspiration to create her respective photographic images. Topaz Labs, a leading image editing Software Company, became so enthusiastic with Gordon’s intuitive use of their Simplify software and how her work contrasted with Hooper’s paintings, immediately gave her their complete photography collection software and agreed to become a sponsor for this exhibit. The parallels of Hooper’s and Gordon’s lives are pretty amazing and then to discover creative parallels with the early artists, Dove and Torr, compounds the magic of The Brush/Lens Project.
Ward Hooper’s paintings have been exhibited in juried shows throughout Long Island. His numerous awards and honors include the “Peacock Award” from the Chelsea Center in Muttontown, NY for his painting in the watercolor category and received favored reviews from Helen Harrison, New York Times. He was also featured in American Artist Watercolor Magazine. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from The New York City College of Technology, the City University of NY and attending the Art Students League, his career included over thirty years as an Art Director and award winning Design Director for the J.C. Penney Co. and as VP of one of the largest design firms in the country. Ward has been on the teaching staff at the Art League of LI for 12 years. His watercolors are in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and he is represented by La Mantia Gallery in Northport, NY.