fine photo exhibit
- I had the great pleasure this afternoon of seeing Kevin Hass' photo exhibit. I had wanted to attend the opening last weekend at the Avenue 50 Studio, but a bad cold got in the way. Perhaps it is better, too, that I had the space to myself and could indulge in their beauty. The space is the small room between the gallery and neighboring studios, devoted exclusively to Hass' 24 framed photos. The motif is trains of the steam age, something that has fascinated him from childhood; yet these are not trains in any simple sense. They are closer-in celebrations of trains' elements -- to the point in one case of abstraction ("Rust and Rivets"). As I looked from one to the next and around and around, I felt their depth. Some might say they are "painterly," but here I take exception. Hass, who develops and prints all his color work (from FILM), has on exhibit what real photography can be. By itself the camera work is exceptional. But he also has the eye of the artist coupled with the rare skills of the color darkroom. The pieces are sumptuous but not soft, edgy but not hard. The images have depth and texture. In one, you want to touch the denim ("Stenciled"); in another, recoil from red hot steel ("Firebox"). No gimmicks, no flourishes, just straight-ahead beauty of a sort one seldom sees.
Trains don't need to be your thing to appreciate what Kevin Hass has done. Stop in. Don't let the exhibit pass you by -- it ends April 7 at the Avenue 50 Studio, 131 N. Ave 50, Highland Park. Check for hours at 323-258-1435.