A spontaneous perspective: ARC Gallery

In an alcove between Kaladi Brothers Coffee and the Consortium Library lies the little-known ARC Gallery. This gallery boasts an array of local artists’ work, and the current display is no exception.

“One thing my associate and friend, Alan Finch, and I have always had in common has been a joy in discovering the abstract nature of the world around us through our pursuit of art. Our work has influenced each other for years,” Jones said.

Finch and Jones met in 1985, and quickly built a bond around a love for spontaneity and improvisational elements in their artwork. They began displaying work together in 1987.

“It’s crazy to try to do art for a living,” Finch said. “It’s like a calling. If you are not called … don’t do it!”

Finch has been a jack-of-all-trades in the art world. He began as a painter, moved onto stone sculpture and finally rested on photography. Finch has an eye for creative composition and materials.

“My current work is abstract nature photography that people walk by and never notice,” Finch said. “The photos are taken in one of the most remote areas of Big South Fork National Park.”

The collection has a unique presence and interest factor for photography buffs, because of the avant-garde approach to materials used in the production and the distance from which the photographs were taken.

“This is the beginning of a new body of work,” Jones said. “And I have challenged myself with the new nature of digital photography to be less concerned with technical perfection and concern myself more with my impression and interpretation of the subject matter.”

Jones’ photographs have a strong presence within the col- laborative collection because of their perspective and the material that many of them are printed upon. Jones’ “shinier” work is printed on aluminum metal.

“I realized there was a whole new dynamic to how photography could be expressed as an art medium,” Jones said. “I believe the choice of output materials and even the final size of the piece is a part of my interpretation of the subject.”

The collection, titled “As Above So Below,” captures a moment in time, a freeze frame of something abstract and glorious that has occurred quite suddenly, but that essence does not accurately represent the amount of time invested in each piece.

Finch collected over 150 photographs on various occasions for a single piece titled “Native Woman.” The gorge where Finch finds his inspiration is buried six miles within the Big South Fork National Park over a winding, rugged trail. Finch retraces his steps regularly to apply charcoal and pigments to the rocks that excite him. Each trip back results in another layer of pigment, another photograph and another mind-boggling result.

“If you could see this place, it’s unique to the Eastern United States,” Finch said. “It’s a narrow gorge with high cliffs and Indian cave houses, one after another. I have never been in a place that has more beauty in the rocks.”

As Above So Below” will be displayed until early March 1 at the ARC Gallery. The gallery is open from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10-10p.m. Saturday and noon-10 Sunday.

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