Volakis Gallery in Yountville is proud to present the work of Brian Oglesbee, a black & white photographic exhibition entitled the Water Series, from September 15 through November 11, and host the release of Aquatique, Oglesbee’s new book.
The Water Series is a collection of large-format silver gelatin photographs, representing a 14-year period of experimentation with the visual interaction of water and the human figure. With no manipulation after the initial exposure, either in the darkroom or by digital means, the resulting collection of images amaze and surprise the viewer.
Aquatique, published by Palace Press Inter- national and distributed by Random House, is the artist’s choice of photographs from the Water Series. All of the images were created in his New York studio. Oglesbee set out to create the illusion of water in nature, to mimic the natural light of the sky and the effects of the outdoors. In doing so, he learned to build sets and devices that allowed the creation of otherworldly visual environments with wave forms, splashes, and fields of lensing bubbles.
In all the photographs of Aquatique, waves of water and light, bubbles, groupings of foliage and stones embrace figures whose gestures in turn shape their surroundings. Fertile waters bring the world and its spirits into existence, just as solutions of exotic chemicals give substance to the latent images of photosensitive film and paper.
Essayist Lesley Brill states in the Foreword of Aquatique, “Complete and self sufficient, Oglesbee’s photographs ask only for thoughtful, engaged viewing. Aquatique has an objectivity, an innocent straightforwardness, that is characteristic of the most primitive, simplest art—and the most sophisticated.”
Says Oglesbee, “For more than a decade, I have been experimenting in my studio with the optics of water and the potency of its visual metaphors. Water is essential for the very presence of life. As a symbol, it is remarkably compelling and, when combined with an equally powerful icon, the human form, it has allowed for a rich visual exploration to unfold.”
Brian Oglesbee was born in Chicago in 1951 and has been a student of photography since youth, working with Edward Sturr and in commercial studios while still in high school. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied etching and photoengraving with Vera Berdich, and photomechanical printmaking with Sonia Sheridan, and collaborated on artist’s books with Keith Smith.
Following a commercial photography career at Vogue-Wright Studios in Chicago, he moved to upstate New York where he taught the art of photography and printmaking at Alfred University.
In 1993, He was granted a U.S. patent for the invention of the Oglesbee Studio System, an array of modular components for set-building, camera support, and lighting control.
Oglesbee has been widely exhibited in one- person and group shows throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and China and is represented in such collections as the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), the International Center of Photography (New York, NY), the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg, FL), the Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne, Switzerland), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), and many private collections, including the Sir Elton John Collection (Atlanta, GA). He has given lectures and gallery talks throughout the United States, and has twice been granted fellowships by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
His work has been included in Face: The New Photographic Portrait, Flora Photographica:Masterpieces of Flower Photography. Portfolios of his work have appeared in View Camera, American Photo, Photo/Design and Metropolitan Home among other magazines.