Another Way to See John Puffer’s Photography
November 7th’s First Friday reception for John Puffer’s show Other Places, Other Spaces was the largest gathering Art Space Vincennes has hosted since the doors opened a year ago. We are happy to see that people are learning about us and recognizing the high quality of art and its presentation that ASV endeavors to offer. More artworks have been sold than in previous shows. This is an important factor in our being able to continue offering these artistic opportunities. Though many of you have already seen the show, we would like to invite you back for a second and deeper look. Please consider coming back to Art Space Vincennes on Black Friday and Saturday or the First Friday Art Walk Reception the following week. The artist will be there during all of these times! We are open Tuesday – Saturday, so you can find a quiet and contemplative space to decompress from your shopping sprees and recenter yourselves through the art (see hours below). You can just enjoy the images or you can actually purchase a piece, or the small book that documents the exhibition. We generally include the book with a purchase of the artist’s work.
In my previous post I talked about composition and a connection with ancient life in regard to John Puffer’s work, but in this post I wish to offer another way of appreciating his images. I’ll try to do this by contrasting his work with another photographer. Consider the work of a current French photographer, Léo Caillard, who works with a digital editor Alexis Persani, who created this clothed figure of a Neo-classical sculpture created by François Joseph Bosio.
Bosio “was a French sculptor who achieved distinction in the first quarter of the nineteenth century with his work for Napoleon and for the restored French monarchy.” (Wikipedia) His purpose as an artist was to exalt the ideals of a great French leader and the greatness of a nation that imposed itself on much of Europe. The art reflects classical ideals of ancient Greece, the culture that invented democracy. The stone carving is exquisite and must have attracted the respect of the public, or at least the aristocracy during that time. Bosio’s sculpture inspired a renewed interest in humanism, idealism and the classical harmony and balance seen in ancient art. Even the US in its early days drew upon classical art and architecture as seen in our Capital and other buildings in D.C. The Cyrus Allen Building, where Art Space Vincennes is housed, is a direct example of that influence with its Greek Revival architecture, as is the Old State Bank on second street and the building Jewelcraft Jewelry occupies. In a sense many of us still live in the 19th century, carrying forward Neo-classical attitudes toward country and civic duty.
Photographer Léo Caillard and photo-editor Alexis Persani work with tools more facile than stone, that is, the camera and photoshop. Their collaborations essentially create one-line statements, much like an ad in the fashion industry. Caillard photographs a clothed model and Persani, through digital editing, copies the clothing of the model and pastes it into a photo of the sculpture. In doing so, he turns the high and noble thinking of Bosio’s marble piece into a joke, but he also challenges our assumptions about our perceptions of people in light of the clothing they wear. Some would regard such a joke as offensive. It is not unusual for art from the 20th century on to ridicule the art of the past. The Dadaists very directly rebelled against all western art and its values that led the world to the “Great War” in 1914. We can say that Caillard and Persani’s art though slick, superficial, and fashion-oriented, can be also be read as cynical commentary.
John Puffer’s work is none of that. It transcends current social concerns and cynicism. His photographs can be read as beautiful landscapes and architectural scenes that also delve into a sense of ancient existence, the unknowable in this life and the beautiful natural and manmade trace evidence of this over millennia. Stop in to see John’s work, even if you have already.
Art Space Vincennes Hours :
Thanksgiving week: Tuesday and Black Friday: Noon to 5 pm; Saturday: 10 am to 2 pm (The artist will be present Black Friday and Saturday.)
Next week: Tuesday – Thursday: Noon – 5 pm; Friday: Noon – 8 pm (First Friday Art Walk begins at 5:00 – 8:00 pm after Christmas tree parade). The artist will be at the First Friday Reception.
Art Space Vincennes LLC 521 Main Street Vincennes, IN 47591