PERRY – Step into someone else’s world at the latest exhibit at the Arts Council for Wyoming County, 31 South Main St.
“At Work, At Rest: Portraits 2019-2021” consists of six life-size portraits and 12 smaller portraits. Robert Doyle said the project has been going on for 40 years.
“There are a lot of layers in the whole process,” he said. “These photos were built and executed with this scale in mind.”
The photos chosen for the exhibition were partly related to the space he had. The larger photographs are 8-by-9-foot portraits while the smaller are 18-by-24-inch prints.
Subjects are all friends and acquaintances in a space or place with which they have a relationship. Most of them are local.
Doyle has been taking photos since the late 1960s or early 1970s. He said he had always been involved in the arts since he was a child and that photography was one of his activities. While in the Air Force in the early 1970s, Doyle said he was able to obtain decent photographic equipment. After leaving the service, he went to art school in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Doyle taught photography until the early 2000s. He also taught video production, organized and programmed films and videos at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester.
Doyle moved to western New York in 1984 and has been based in Perry for several years.
Doyle’s work has been featured in several ACWC exhibitions over the past decade, both in group and individual exhibitions, including ‘Our Farms, Our Families’ of 2019.
In 2018, he also turned his small South Main Street photography studio into an art installation. “Work Prints @ 21 South Main Street” greeted passers-by with massive and varied photographs – a black and white film from the 70s, local colors from festivals and gardens, glimpses of everyday life in a rural county – book projects and even print media to sell.
Her work has also been exhibited at Halwalls, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, MCC Mercer Gallery and Visual Studies Workshop as well as other galleries. In 2014, he received an ACWC Artist Community Collaboration Grant to work with a small group of residents to produce a photo book showing life in the county.
Many of these previous exhibitions featured panoramic works, showing local communities in simple and evocative images. They showed diners on the roadside closed; Civil war memorials in the middle of small towns; a roadside stand at a crossroads in Gainesville; and rural swamps and streams seemingly untouched over the decades.
Doyle said he started photographing people a few years ago.
“As you do things over time, you look at what’s there and what’s not there. How you deal with certain subjects. That sort of thing, ”Doyle said. “I just decided to start a project that dealt with portraiture.”
He said that since the photographs are life-size, they become more sculptural and less photographic. Doyle said you can almost walk in the space the subjects are in.
Each of the life-size photographs consists of 12 different photographs to constitute an image. Doyle explained that this is how people see it.
“You don’t see a full scene,” he said. “You see little fragments of a situation, and then your mind pulls them together into a scene. “
WHAT: “At Work, At Rest: Portraits 2019-2021”, an exhibition of photographs by Robert Doyle.
O: Wyoming County Arts Board, 31 South Main St., Perry.
WHEN: Until December 17th. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.
HOURS: The gallery’s regular opening hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The gallery is closed to the public on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
NOTES: Social distancing, including wearing of masks, will be observed during the opening reception as per CDC guidelines. Reservations are not required but would be appreciated.