Robert Johnston photo show opens at Cooperative Gallery

An exciting and touching exhibition opened Thursday (June 3) at the  Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State St., Binghamton, and will continue through June 26, including special hours today (June 4) for First Friday. It’s exciting because it is a curated retrospective of the work of Robert C. Johnston, one of the area’s premier black-and-white photographers, and touching because he died very recently before being able to see his lifetime of work honored by this exhibit.

“Images in Silver: Artists’ Choice” was curated by Susan Kendrot, a painter, and her husband, Richard, an architect and sculptor. With artists’ eyes they selected 20 silver prints spanning many decades and themes. Johnston was known for his natural and urban landscapes, his eye for detail and his fine printing technique.

“The premise was to look at and comment upon the prints with other than a photographer’s eye and voice,” said Susan Kendrot. “Form, line, shape, contrast, repetition, light, etc. are elements common to all the arts, be they dance, visual art, music or architecture.” As the exhibit was being curated, Johnston, who died May 22 at age 93, commented: “It’s revealing to see what others see in your work, and I valued their comments on each photographic grouping.”

To celebrate and honor Johnston’s 80 years of picture taking, Images in Silvers: Artists’ Choice, a soft-cover book created specially for the exhibit, is on sale at the gallery. It also is available online at http://www.blurb.com/books/1368871.

The Johnston exhibition is running in conjunction with another fine arts exhibit, “It Is What It Is,” featuring the work of Karen Fedzcuk and Alexandra Davis. A special Third Thursday Artist Talk will begin at 7 p.m. June 17.

Gallery hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays (until 9 p.m. during the First Friday Art Walk) and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For a special appointment, call (607) 724-3462. For more information, visit www.cooperativegallery.com.  

Bob Johnston was a remarkable man, strong of character, a man of great integrity, self-sufficient, talented as a  photographer, chemist, builder, peace activist and swimmer. He built a cabin in the Adirondacks, which he would bike to from here; built his own house when in his 70s, earned a PhD in chemistry; strove constantly for social justice and world peace; helped found the Cooperative Gallery 213 and in his 70s and 80s was a world-class swimmer at the Masters level, holding many regional and national records and, in spite of his accomplishments, was actually a quiet and unassuming man. A memorial reception will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday (June 6) at Cooperative Gallery 213.

Please feel free to post any memories you have that would honor Bob’s life.

 

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