Curators' Statements

Stephen Althouse

-SHROUDS-
an Exhibition of Photography by Stephen Althouse
Atrium Gallery of Art at St. Thomas University, Miami, Florida
April 19 - May 18, 2001

Artist-photographer Stephen Althouse was born in Washington, DC in 1948, raised in rural Pennsylvania, and supplemented his education with foreign study in South America. He resides in Miami, where he holds a faculty position in the Department of Fine Arts at Barry University, and periodically teaches in France, England, Spain, and South America.

Although he uses photography as his primary creative medium, Althouse is also a sculptor and the sculptural tradition of making and manipulating subject matter is carried over into his photography. His images appear to be ritualistic in nature, often cryptically blending mysteries of passage from his youth and adulthood, experiences during his travels, and emotional reactions to people and events which have impacted upon his life.

In covering his subjects in shrouds, Althouse seems to be withholding information, dropping clues and raising questions. Phrases written in Braille, which have been important elements in many of his works since the late 1960’s, add to the indecipherable quality of Althouse’s art. Braille additionally implies blindness, reflecting his view of human existence; “that of groping and stumbling throughout history”. He states that blindness also describes his state of mind whenever he feels the absence of creativity.

Althouse is experimenting with photographic film grain incorporated into his images, exaggerated by large scale printing, film development, and point source illumination in the darkroom. Two of the pieces in this exhibition, The Five Talents and Dart, are technical departures and representative of a series of his most current work created entirely on the computer. Using neither camera nor film for these two examples, Althouse places his subjects directly upon a scanner to capture his images digitally.

The crossover between his use of photography and digital imaging is consistent and fluid and his pieces continue to be highly creative and personal, with their meanings “shrouded” in mystery.

Jorge Sardinas, Director
Atrium Gallery of Art at St. Thomas University

Dart, 2001
The Five Talents, 2000
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and Shroud, 1999
Shrouded Gauntlet, 1999
Shrouded Wrench, 1999
Wrapped Ribs, 1999
Mask VI, 1999
Mask VII, 1999
Shrouded Stealth Bomber, 1999
Crown of Small Flowers, 1999
Shrouded Swords, 1999
Shrouded Helmet, 1999
Hex Nuts and Wrenches, 1999
Gauntlets, 1994

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