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March 31, 2010

Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery Presents Music of the Mind: Jaromir Stephany Photographs and Digital Images

April 6 - June 11, 2010

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts & Culture

Note: This release is available as a pdf file.

Image by Jaromir StephanyThe Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents Music of the Mind: Jaromir Stephany Photographs and Digital Images, curated by Tom Beck, on display from April 6th through June 11th. Stephany is a specialist in the art form of clichés verre, and is the only artist to devote so much of his career to making them.

On April 14th at 4 pm, the Gallery will host a Faculty-Alumni Panel discussion to explore Stephany's legacy. The panel will include former students of the artist.

On April 20th at 4 pm, the Gallery will present a lecture by Lyle Rexer, author of The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography.

Jaromir "Jerry" Stephany was born and raised in one of the world capitals of photography—Rochester, New York. He began making photographs as a youngster during the Depression, and was trained as a U.S. Army combat photographer at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, early during the Cold War. He was stationed at Rhein Main Air Force Base in Germany, and, as a draftee armed with a camera, fought the battle of the Officer's Club. (His photographs of officers and their girlfriends many years later formed the basis of a satirical body of work titled "Non-War Years.") After military service Stephany went to school, first at RIT for an undergraduate degree, and then to Indiana University for a graduate degree. His teachers were such luminaries as Minor White, Ansel Adams, and Henry Holmes Smith. During the early 1960s, he worked at George Eastman House where he assisted famed photographic historian Beaumont Newhall in teaching history of photography to RIT students. Soon Stephany took over the class and was solely responsible for it.

Throughout his life Stephany has been enamored of music, particularly composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Bruckner, and Tchaikovsky, and found expression for the emotionality of their music in his photographs. Like composer Aaron Copland, who believed that the power of music came from its emotional qualities, Stephany also considered that the true nature of music and art was the distillation of sentiments, the essence of experience transfused and heightened, and emotion expressed such that we may contemplate it at the same moment that we are swayed by it. He found the form of his expression in clichés verre, cameraless photographs made by drawing on glass and printing the images onto photographic paper. Traditional clichés verre were made by covering a piece of glass with an etching ground, then scratching lines through the ground with an etching needle or other device to allow light to pass through when the glass plate was contact printed onto photographic paper. Artists who made traditional clichés verre included nineteenth century painters Asher B. Durand and Camille Corot. Their use of the technique was for reproducing drawings.

The modernist style of clichés verre that Stephany has made is quite experimental compared to the traditional ones. He learned the technique at Indiana University from his mentor Henry Holmes Smith who covered a glass plate with Karo syrup and water, then exposed the plate to enlarger light. Stephany immediately improved the technique by using flash lighting instead of incandescent to prevent the blur that resulted from movement of the liquids. The visual results of Stephany's approach are rooted in Abstract Expressionism, and has the goal of expressing emotions as powerful as those felt while listening to music. He says: "Some of the images never would have occurred if I had not been listening to Beethoven. One of the strongest influences was Bruckner's Ninth Symphony." Drawing upon such musical influences, Stephany made non-representational images that for him often suggest both inner terrain as well as outer space.

Gallery Information
The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery serves as one of the principal art galleries in the Baltimore region. Objects from the Special Collections Department, as well as art and artifacts from all over the world, are displayed in challenging and informative exhibitions for the University community and the public. Moreover, traveling exhibitions are occasionally presented, and the Gallery sends some exhibits on tour to other institutions nationwide. Admission to the Gallery and its programs is free.

The presentation of this exhibition is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts & Sciences, the Friends of the Library & Gallery, the Libby Kuhn Foundation, and individual contributions.

Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri: 12 pm - 4:30 pm
Thursday: 12 pm - 8 pm
Sat/Sun: 1 pm - 5 pm

Image by Jaromir Stephany

General Gallery information: 410-455-2270

UMBC Arts & Culture Calendar:
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery:
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UMBC is located approximately 10 minutes from downtown Baltimore and 20 minutes from I-495.
-- From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Walker Avenue Garage or Albin O. Kuhn Library.
-- From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Walker Avenue Garage or Albin O. Kuhn Library.
-- From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Walker Avenue Garage or Albin O. Kuhn Library.
-- Daytime metered visitor parking is available in the Walker Avenue Garage. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days.

Image by Jaromir Stephany

Posted by tmoore at March 31, 2010 3:46 PM