Monday, January 30, 2012

SoLow, Clint Thomas @ Cafe Bohemia

Cafe Bohemia interior, "SoLow" exhibit.

Clint Thomas has been photographing for decades. In this show we see mostly racing motorcycles, some abstracts, carnival rides, and women. He goes far back enough to have made the transition from film to digital, one that he embraced and ran with. Digital manipulation is one of Thomas' strong points. The original capture is a departure point for his imagination.

Clint Thomas, "Queen of Spades"

Some of the images of women in this show look vintage, others contemporary. This can be discerned from the hairstyles, fashions and photographic style, something Thomas, who is very open and transparent about his work, verifies. Some are in conventional modeling-type poses, indicating formality between the photographer and subject. Some of the women are very specific, as in "Queen of Spades". Others have been abstracted towards the generic, though personal attitude and body language still comes through.

Clint Thomas, "Sand and Sols"

In "Sand and Sols" we have a trio of near-abstracted figures in a near-vacant subtle background. In reality, they were girls at a wedding posing on the beach. In this photograph, their faces are somewhat abstracted, the dresses mostly whited out, which allows their poses/body language to emerge. "Sand and Sols", which I assume is an allusion to the parasols, looks nostalgic. Here the photographer makes a contemporary image look vintage.

Clint Thomas, "Rain"

"Rain" is the name of the performer in this picture. I happened to be present when this exposure was made (with a pocket point-and-shoot). The degree of digital manipulation here is considerable, yet a certain amount of the feel of the original scene is retained. It's a peak moment, photographically speaking, and a spectacular print.

Clint Thomas, "Ride Envy"

There are other pictures of motorcycles and machines (fair rides) in this show, but with this one, the artist's background in motorcycles is made clear. This is a Modernist (very similar to Strand's explorations of the Akeley Camera) paean to classic bike tech. It is an insider's picture as much of an illustration as it is formally evocative. Beautifully done.

The two works on the right, the upper being "Moon Manq", and the lower "Good Vibrations" present an interesting juxtaposition between what appear to be pictures of two women, except "Manq" is a storefront mannekin. The stylization and emphasis on composition  in it is prominent. In "Good Vibrations" a spectacularly expressive moment of a woman gleefully laughing, we have something almost diametrically opposite, yet connected, to the photo above. Ecstatic, organic, mercurial expression versus formal, frozen but very studied and careful composition. The ideal and the real, something Thomas explores at length in his pictures.

Congratulations to Clint Thomas and Matt Neal of Cafe Bohemia for a memorable show.

Cafe Bohemia is one of Art Taco's favorite hangouts. It is an indie cafe located at 937 Central Ave., St Pete. They make excellent coffees, sandwiches (the Bohemian being my favorite) and the best falafels in the area.

---- Luis

1 comment:

  1. I have not been to the Bohemia in years, I should stop in and see this exhibit and grab a sandwich!