R E V I E W
This show is not one to miss...
The Photographer, The Painter, The Romance
by Philip Golabuk
There are two
artists in Winter Park who have shattered the image of the aesthetic prima donna in a
collaboration the likes of which this town hasn't seen. During the entire month of
February, painter Anni Adkins and photographer Joe Hoover will be showing their work at the Winter Park
Library, a charming place which has blossomed into a something of an in spot for area artists.
Anni Adkins describes herself as a photo-realist; to be sure, she offers an
impressive control of content, perspective, color, and light - the tools of any
representational painter. A child pupil under the French painter John Pierre Alexander,
Annie went on to study for three years at Le Cecile de Beaux Arts, in Orleans, France.
Since then, she has become an accomplished make-up artist, a set designer, an interior
decorator, and a mural painter. Many of her canvases hang in private collections and she
is regularly commissioned to do portraits and other works. This, you may think, is the
rest of the Joe and Anni story. But there's more . . .
Biography ~ Anni Adkins
Joe is a documentary photographer with a mathematical sense of lighting and a gift for
composition. A seasoned technician who cut his teeth as one of the first Air Force combat
cameramen in Southeast Asia, a Cannes Film Festival Award Winner, and a veteran
cinematographer, Joe brings to his work an uncanny sense for subliminal but sudden
associations which deliver a tremendous payoff. Look at the images Joe has captured on
photographic paper and you will undoubtedly chuckle, grimace, grin, even shudder. But you
will not be able to remain aloof, safe, outside his sometimes whimsical, sometimes
profound influence. With all this, not even half the story has been told . . .
Biography ~ Joe Hoover
The seed was planted over six years ago when Joe and Anni met and recognized that their
artistic visions coincided in a kind of impressionistic commitment: each sought to
represent precise moments, as they occurred, within their respective media. As a result,
Anni began to "paint through the eye of the camera. She and Joe would set up a shot,
he would execute it. This photograph, as a photograph, then became the subject of Anni's
painting; that is, she would paint not only the subject appearing in Joe's finished print,
but would paint it as seen by the camera, translating the graphic dynamics and
"vocabulary" of the lens and shutter into brush, paint, and canvas. Sometimes,
in this translation, something unexpected would happen and the photographic image would
take on new life in its new medium. The process, though premeditated, depends on a
readiness for the miracle, something unplanned but recognized by the artist. A kind of
give and take.
That is just the beginning. For, depending on what presents itself in the living moment of
this transfer from camera to paintbrush, Joe might then enter the collaborative venture
again and shoot Annie's finished painting (of the fine photograph). Mirror facing mirrors,
cross-media translations, each generation adding its influence, its structure, its moment
on the artwork. With each new approach, the original subject and treatment evolve. In some
cases, Joe even enlarges the new photo for Anni to hand color. The resulting image, quite
apart from its often brilliant subject matter, composition, and set up, is extraordinary.
In some cases, one can't be sure whether one is looking at a photograph of a painting, a
painting of a photograph, or a photograph of a painting of a photograph.
Joe and Anni's February debut at the Winter Park Library, "The Photographer, The
Painter, The Romance,' is the first public showing of their amazing collaboration. The
exhibit is certain, by virtue of its quality and uniqueness, and the level of artistic
interest of Winter Park and Orlando residents, to draw a considerable number of attendees
who will delight in the impact of their special work; that is, the photographs and the
paintings. But what is apt to be less visible, is the romance...
It is a rare artistry that is not possessive, not credit-seeking, not insecure, but
generous, adaptive, willing to be acted upon by someone elses vision. Neither Joe
nor Anni seems to feel there is anything exceptional about creating raw material for each
other. There is no preoccupation with comparison, no sense of attachment to the
"finished" product, because the nature of the collaboration keeps the artwork in
a state of potentially perpetual development. There is only the joint commitment to
create, to provide each other with inspiration and talent and vision so the work may
continue to evolve. There is nothing in the way they answer questions about what they do
that even remotely insinuates the separate camps one might expect to come one of
commitments to very different media. They are at home in their artistic generosity and in
sharing their obvious gifts with each other, to enrich each other, themselves, and the
works of art they produce - which neither one of them could produce alone.
Philip Golabuk is the author of Mending the Broken Heart; Walls, Windows, and Doorways;
and The Sunset Grill Chronicles. He is the Director of The