Seeing Through Water: Photographs by Allyn S. Hart

Main Library
tags: Art Exhibits

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Seeing Through Water
Photographs by Allyn S. Hart
Reception: Sat, Mar 8, 4-5:30pm

The two parts of my life that continually need balance are the desire to make things, and the desire to experience the outdoors. When I received my first digital camera about 7 years ago, this allowed for an easy resolution. I could wander outdoors while gathering information that I could later use in my work. This idea of gathering information broke down some of my preconceived ideas of how a photograph should look. As an avid user of Adobe Photoshop, I can take just about any kind of information and work it into something that has meaning for me.

Almost immediately, I found myself attracted to images of moving water. Living in the vicinity of so many small streams, I would stop my hikes mid-stream, and take an obscene number of photographs of the water as it moved over the rocks.

As someone who prefers to work quickly, and re-work later, I tend to keep my complicated camera set to automatic. Reviewing my work afterwards, I became aware of how many different layers of visual information were made available at once.

The quality of light affects the nature of surface reflection. The colors from the surrounding landscape contribute to the overall appearance by means of the reflective surface. The transparency of the water allows for the inclusion of information about what is below the surface. The speed of the water movement affects how light is cast onto the stream bottom. The fact of so many levels of information enables me to break down a photograph into pieces and then play with the pieces until a new whole is created.

In the end, this is how most of my artwork evolves. I collect things outdoors (rocks, sticks, in this case, visual information), then bring it back to my studio and begin the process of play by re-arranging, making choices about what to emphasize, withdraw, pulling things out, pushing things away, until I arrive at the final arrangement of one particular collection.

With photography, it is the interplay of these layers, and the choices about what to keep, how to best arrange and display what I want to reveal, which shapes the final photograph.

In the end I just want to be outside and collect whatever interests me. Come home when I’m tired and play around with it until I can recreate the emotional impact I felt upon first seeing it.

I was born in Ohio and soon after relocated to Chicago, Illinois. When I was 4, my family settled in Southern California because my father had "heard there were mountains". My two younger brothers and I were treated to an extensive education in natural history, spending weekends and vacations exploring the deserts, mountains, beaches, forests, gardens, museums, art galleries and libraries of California.

Having two parents who were curious, adventurous and open-minded gave us kids a great opportunity and inspiration to explore on our own.

After attending college in California for a few years, I moved to Utah for the skiing in Alta, and the hiking in southern Utah. I met my husband in Alta where we worked together managing a ski rental property for 30 years. During the summers we built a small house together in southwestern Colorado. We spend summers there hiking, biking and pursuing our interests in art.

In my late 30’s, I finished my undergraduate degree and in my early 40’s my masters degree in Fine Art at the University of Utah, where for a number of years thereafter I taught drawing, design, art appreciation and sculpture. I taught children’s art at the Alta elementary school, printmaking and bookmaking at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride, CO, and in a graduate painting program for the University of Maine. I have participated in a couple of workshops at the University of Utah Book Arts Center. I’ve also taught individual lessons to children, teens and adults.

My art interests have included: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, assemblage, bookmaking, collage and photography.

Location: Main Library, Gallery at Library Square

Contact Information: 801-524-8200