Artist Jack Jackowetz is a firm believer in taking a step back from his work to find new perspectives.
The Brantford artist’s work currently on display at the Brantford Station Gallery is just his second local exhibit in two years.
“I had a display at Glenhyrst (Art Gallery of Brant) in January, but didn’t show for over a year and a half before that,” Jackowetz said. “Sometimes, you have to take a step back. It allowed me to produce some more pieces.”
Jackowetz’s work is what he likes to call “post-impressionism photography.” Starting with a photograph, usually of a local landmark, Jackowetz manipulates the image to highlight subtleties, remove extraneous elements and tie together a colour scheme that brings unique perspectives to images that might otherwise be mundane.
Downtime from displaying his work allowed Jackowetz to evolve his style.
“As I settled in beyond the first dozen or so pieces I did, I was tending to be a bit more real with the work,” he said. “You would see detail, but not so real that you would mistake it for a photograph.
“But I got tired of that. As my technique has improved, I find myself leaning more toward the abstract. It not only interests me more, but it gives the images a nice feel that they wouldn’t really have if the image were sharp. My work starts to look more like a painting.”
Jackowetz describes his process as being the opposite of what a traditional artist might do.
“If you are a painter, you start with a white piece of canvas and everything you put on the canvas you add,” he said. “I start with the canvas already full because I start with a photograph. My work is subtraction. It sometimes takes scores of viewings to find all the things I don’t like.”
Besides honing his technique during his break, Jackowetz was also trying to expand the market for his work beyond Brantford.
“I was doing some more Norfolk pieces, the Finger Lakes region of New York and Sudbury,” he said. “As I try to go into a new market, I basically have to start from scratch.”
One of the local pieces Jackowetz is proud to display at the current exhibition is of the Bell Memorial in Brantford. He said it wouldn’t be there without the time he took to improve his technique.
“I captured the original image four years ago and worked at it on and off since then,” he said. “Because of the texture and lighting, I could never get enough detail that I was satisfied to make it interesting. But, as I become more familiar with the tools that I use, I was able to pull more out of it to get something I am happy with.”
Becoming more skilled at his brand of post-impressionism photography doesn’t make things easier, though.
“I am finding that as I gain more experience it takes more time, not less,” he said. “I have become more fussy because I am able to deal with small details.”
Jackowetz’s show at the Brantford Station Gallery is titled “Meet Me at the Station” and will remain on display until the end of June. More of his work can be seen online at www.jjackowetz.com.
“I was actually the second person to have an exhibition (at the Brantford Station Gallery) more than three years ago,” he said. “I was trying to come up with a name for it and nothing came to me. After it started, I came up with ‘Meet Me at the Station’ and I’ve been waiting three years to use it. Luckily, no one took it before me.”