In a pleasing juxtaposition of shapes and media, Bird’s Eye View balances large format black and white landscape photography with ceramic and wire bird constructions. Sixteen of Johnson’s breathtaking Midwestern landscapes and twenty of Breakstone’s delicate birds, reminiscent of Japanese rod puppets, will be on view at PHD Gallery September 25 through November 6, 2010, with a free reception for the artists on Saturday, September 25 from 7-10PM.
Jerry Breakstone is a graduate of the Washington University School of Architecture. He creates wispy and intricate bird sculptures using slab building techniques and wire rod armatures. The artist glazes his pieces using both dipping and spraying techniques, and gets surprising variations with the classic Japanese shino glaze known for its unpredictability and sophisticated beauty.
Washington University professor Leslie Laskey, trained in the European Bauhaus tradition, inspired in Jerry a passion for art and design. His architectural career spanned 25 years with several highly regarded architectural firms including Harry Weese, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Chicago, and Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum in St. Louis. After working in Chicago and prior to joining HOK in St. Louis, Jerry taught for three years at California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California. In St. Louis, he taught design at the Washington University School of Architecture and at St. Louis Community College, Meramec.
Michael Johnson has been photographing rural America for more than thirty-five years. He is a traditional large format photographer, producing limited edition silver gelatin prints from 5 x 7” view camera negatives. His large black and white photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. They are acquired by museums, corporations, hospitals, and private collectors.
A self-taught photographer, Johnson traces his inspiration to the European master painters of the 17th century. However, his vision has been shaped by the land itself, especially by the landscape of the driftless area of Northwestern Illinois. Johnson's love for the land extends to other areas of his life as well. He and his wife, Patricia, have planted thousands of trees on their family tree farm near Mount Carroll, Illinois, where they operate a small sawmill and sustainable hardwood lumber business. The American Tree Farm System named them Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmers in 2003.
"Making photographs is a highly intentional process for me. Rather than exposing many negatives in the hope that some will turn out well, I spend most of my time looking at the land and planning the finished image. Composition is particularly important, both for creating an illusion of three-dimensional space in a photograph and for constructing a dynamic design. Consequently, I often return to a promising landscape when the light or clouds are more favorable, or wait for hours while shadows sweep across the land." ~Michael Johnson
Added by PHD Gallery on September 2, 2010