LIVINGSTON, NJ - On Monday, September 16, The Arts Council of Livingston held a reception at Town Hall to celebrate Livingston photographers Raime and Jan Press' photography exhibition titled, "Found Art." The public is invited to admire and purchase the photos, which will continue to adorn the walls of Town Hall until September 30.
All images measure 24x36 and are mounted on Masonite. They can be acquired for an investment of $500 each. Other sizes and image treatments are also available upon request. Fifty percent of the proceeds of the images purchased during the exhibit will be donated to the Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside.
This "Found Art," exhibition is part of the large personal collection of images amassed by Raime and Jan over their careers. These images are very different from the types they take on a daily basis for their portrait, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah and corporate clients. Rather than being photos of people, these large-scale color photographs are created from normal everyday mundane objects. Through their eyes, by taking these images out of context, these photographers offer another vision producing an "Object of Art."
“Most people walk right past reflections in puddles, rust on a dumpster or worn down spots on utility poles and billboards,” said Jan. “Unlike most people, Raime and I find beauty in what others ignore. We see the color, the form, the texture, and the beauty in these natural or manmade objects.”
“They are both very talented in very different ways and I enjoy seeing the world through their eyes,” said Ila Press, Jan’s wife and Raime’s mom. “This is found art repurposed. They take what Mother Nature has given us all and have repurposed it.”
“I remember driving around with my father Jan, when I was young, and him stopping suddenly upon seeing at a beat up old truck and jumping out of the car to take photos of rust spots,” said Raime. “That is how I got my eye for this type of photography. I am hyperaware of the elements comprising an object. I don’t take photos of a whole truck, or a building, rather I take photos of the parts of them that I am drawn to.”
“This is free expression—something we really love to do,” said Jan. “Raime has a movie type eye and sees beauty in light and reflections.”
“I like to say that I just follow the light,” said Raime. “I never use a flash, just the natural light. And, I only take a photo once. I don’t take multiple ones to get it ‘just right.’”
A list of the 30 pieces being displayed is available at Town Hall. Each photographic artist is showing 15 pieces.
“Number 4, called ‘Bloomfield Billboard,’ is a billboard with stuff peeled off that most people would drive by,” said Jan. “I saw the texture and form and it really caught my eye.”
“This one is the bottom of a recycling bin where there was a paint can, and upon removing it, I say a ring of bright rust,” said Jan, pointing to image number 6, called “Medallion.
“Number 12, called ‘Miami Grime,’ is rust and paint on the side of a dumpster,” said Jan.
While some of Raime’s images are of water reflections, three were shot during Hurricane Sandy.
“This one is a shot of traffic lights on the wet street when many people were without electricity,” explained Raime of number 24 called, ‘Sandy’s Floor.’”
“That is a photo of a tree falling down,” said Raime of ‘Sandy’s Home,’ number 25. “And, those are leaves,” he said of ‘Sandy’s Trees,’ number 26.
Raime, who likes to travel, is also showing a few photos taken in Nova Scotia.
“I like to go somewhere new and spend some time looking for and capturing reflections of light in that place,” said Raime pointing to number 23 called, ‘Nocturnal Ripples,” a photo of water following the light, and 16 called ‘Reflections of Peggy,’ an image of a rock shot into the water.
Raime’s image, number 18, called ‘Homeless,’ is a reflection of light on the brick of a building.
“I love the light, the sparseness and the bleakness and I thought of how that spot would look from the perspective of a homeless person,” said Raime.
Many attendees were impressed with the artwork and tossed around adjectives like incredible, amazing and true art.
“They are incredibly talented men,” said Mike Bernstein of Livingston. “It is hard to tell these are photos, they are true art.”
“I think it is amazing that what they see as art others would pass by,” said Georgia Solotoff, owner of PIP Printing in Livingston.
Ken Addler, a commercial artist from West Orange said, “I like looking at the dimensions of the photos, and actually had to touch one of the photos to see if it was three dimensional.”
This is the second show for the father-son team. Their first show was held last year at Temple B’nai Jeshurun. They plan to have another show at the Gallery run by The Arts Council of Livingston this year. The Arts Council sponsors a different art display at Town Hall each month, with the next one starting on October 7. The Council will also be officially relocating its Gallery to another location within Town Center next week.
“When we were building Town Hall, it was very important to us to continue to be able to provide artists with a place to display their artwork,” said Mayor Rudy Fernandez. “So, having the opportunity to allow Jan and Raime display their incredible art for all residents who come into Town Hall to enjoy is very rewarding.”
We are very excited to have had the opportunity to show Jan and Raime’s work,” said Vivian Olshen, Vice President of Visual Arts for the Arts Council of Livingston. “Together they are two of the most creative people in town. We had so much fun hanging the art with Jan and members of the Public Works Department.”
“Jan Press is an artist first, photographer second,” said Irene Feigen, who heads the Arts Council of Livingston. “The work he has done comes from the heart and he is a true gentleman. Both men are very talented.”