New exhibition showcases previously unseen Solowey photographs
September 30 – October 22, 2006
At the Studio of Ben Solowey
BEDMINSTER, PA — The Studio of Ben Solowey is pleased to announce a new exhibition SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Photographs by Ben Solowey 1924 – 1944, which is the first exhibition devoted to Ben Solowey’s photography. These recently discovered images have been assembled in a new show by guest curator, Barbara Swanda. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday September 30th at the Solowey Studio in Bedminster, PA with a reception from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The installation will continue Saturdays and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., through October 22, 2006.“As is often the case, talented people frequently excel in more than one arena,” says Swanda. “Ben Solowey is a most notable example of this phenomenon. His reputation as an outstanding artist, portrait painter and sculptor are nationally known. However, his talents do not end there. He was also a skilled furniture and frame maker, gardener and, yes, a photographer.”Ben Solowey (1900–1978) shot and developed more than 700 photographs over the period of 1924 to 1944. These images were not used as visual reference for his easel paintings, but represent a previously unexplored part of his oeuvre.“His photographs caught my attention immediately. The images are wonderful on their own merit, but I was equally drawn to the element of surprise and insight in this work,” explains Swanda. “Solowey’s eye toward composition and light is readily apparent in the photos, but so is his curiosity and determination to master a new medium. He meticulously recorded the aperture settings, light sources, and atmospheric conditions for most shots, to continually perfect his craft. That’s why the thought of presenting a photography exhibit of a revered 20th century Bucks County oil painter grabbed my interest. Who knew?! Well, we did.”
“The images include a range of topics,” observes Swanda. “In this exhibition, the viewer accompanies Ben to Europe as a student in 1924, as well as Ben and Rae on their New England sojourns in the early 1930s. We witness their life in New York City, and endure the rehabilitation of their 18th century farmstead in Bucks County.
“The relatively small size of these contact print images—which Ben developed and printed himself—request the viewer to intimately examine their content. And, that appeals to me. I love making people stop; making them take a second, more attentive look at things that surround them. I love to have an element of surprise for the viewer. Make it memorable, fascinating, enlightening.”