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Art Review: From Both Sides Now by Josh Garrick

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Art Review: From Both Sides Now by Josh Garrick
by Will Benton
Faith Arts Village Orlando, Orlando, Florida USA

 

Photographer, writer, curator, and lecturer Josh Garrick has created a photography exhibit – including several installations and ways of looking at photographs – never seen before.  Titled From Both Sides Now – Photographs of the Treasures of Greece, one is first struck by the obvious love this photographer has for his subject.  Not only is the exhibit an immersion into ancient Greek history, but the installation called “Athens Reigns” includes colorful, perceptive, and often witty photographic moments of life on the streets of Greece today.

 

What I see in this exhibit are juxtapositions of living images of today with the images of stone treasures of ancient Greece that only someone who has visited that country could see – and hang – side by side. A whole series of photos of stone structures and sculptures are presented as printed on brushed aluminum surfaces that give an almost 3-dimensional quality to 2-dimensional photos. They are hard structures presented on a hard surface but offered with reverence for the subject.

 

Plato and Socrates blue sky

Plato and Socrates blue sky

 

On Opening Night a very large work – 3 feet by 5 feet – was presented to the Art & History Museums – Maitland for their permanent collection.  That work, presented in large scale and showing striking details of the colossal pillars of the Propylea – with the Parthenon in the distance – seem to invite the viewer into history and into the mind of the photographer.

 

Garrick in front of the large work donated to Maitland by the Kassianedes Family

Garrick in front of the large work donated to Maitland by the Kassianedes Family

 

Patrons George and Catherine Kassianides, who presented the work to the Museum, are American citizens who were both born in Greece. They summed up the way in which the work speaks to them by saying, “We are delighted and honored to call Josh Garrick a friend.  Being Greek, we find it fascinating that someone who is not Greek identifies himself so much with the arts, culture and civilization of our beautiful country of birth. He is a true Philhellene. Josh's image of the Parthenon seen through the Propylaia is a stunning work of art and the fact that it is going to the Art and History Museum in Maitland is simply perfect – a great home for this unique piece.”

 

Kassianides family presenting large work

Kassianides family presenting large work

 

And while Greece’s 2400 year old treasured artifacts, as captured by Garrick’s camera, are stone sculptures or buildings that have many shadows but little color, Garrick’s eye finds images of sculptures of Socrates and Plato in white marble but with a sky that is hard-to-believe-blue. His image of Marathon Man is enhanced with a burgundy background, while The Little Jockey, viewed from an angle never seen in history books, is all the more striking with its red background. These colors beautify and enhance the details of what is seen through the photographer’s lens.

 

photos printed on brushed aluminum

photos printed on brushed aluminum

 

A particularly popular installation exhibits more of Garrick’s colorful work on 5 inch by 7 inch Plexiglas panels hung from the ceiling – reminiscent of Greek pillars – and inviting the viewer to walk among them and “touch the art.”  As a teacher at New York City’s prestigious School of Visual Arts, Garrick would teach his students that, “the job of the photographer is to help the viewer SEE in a new way.”  That is the case with this inviting new installation, especially as a recurring comment through the evening was about being invited to “touch the art.” 

 

the fun of touching the art

the fun of touching the art

 

All photographs from this exhibit are new to the year 2012. Garrick, a professor of Ancient Greek Art and Culture at the School of Visual Arts, has led American students on 15 trips to Greece, and in recognition of his teachings has been afforded unique access to the Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum.

 

Photographer Josh Garrick captures images from a country far away from my United States that explore renovations, elevations and skylines of respected artifacts, reminding us how precious history  and culture may impact lives all over the world. We are all richer for it.

 

 

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