No. 31. Pop-Art Revisited or Make Art Great Again

I was recently tasked with sending out a notice to the Berks Art Alliance of an upcoming art exhibit entitled “Make Art Great Again: Right, Left & In-Between Today’s Political World,” with only text provided. I scratched my head trying to come up with an appropriate graphic and tinkered with a 2014 photo I had shot in the Louvre to give it a pseudo-Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art look.

Though I rather liked the resulting picture, I didn’t end up using it for that project—choosing instead an old satirical political cartoon. The two other pieces included here are digital Pop Art style images printed on heavy watercolor paper, coated with encaustic medium, and mounted on deep birch painting panels. Upon Photography No. 37 and Upon Reflection No. 10 will be included in an exhibit “Reflections” at West Reading Tavern by members of Art Plus Gallery, which will be hung September 11, 2017. Upon Reflection No. 10 was created in 2010 and has been shown on a number of occasions.

It was created using a filter in a PhotoShop add-on in Nik Color Efex 3.0. That particular filter is no longer available in the current version of the Nik suite.  Upon Reflection No. 37 was shot in 2011. As with Mona Lisa Madness, I created it using a combination of tools in Photoshop without the benefit of pre-constructed filters.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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