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Gallery Visit — Logan Bellew

Photography is a difficult art form. It amazes me how much visual stimulation we are exposed to everyday. We are bombarded with photos in advertising, on the web, on television, billboards, and even on our cell phones. It seems that everyone can be a photographer these days. So, for a photo to stand out from the rest and make a lasting impression, it is hard to be powerful, thoughtful, timely, or shocking (or all of the above). The easy route these days, is to shock.

Logan Bellew in the middle of his current show at the EyeLounge:
“The Episodic Nature of Forgetting”

I am happy to report that Logan Bellew’s work (now showing at the EyeLounge gallery) does not rely on tricks, but is thoughtful, interesting, and beautiful. His exhibition incorporates over a hundred small photos of shirtless young men meticulously placed (and pinned) next to each other (Logan mentioned that his mom helped him with pinning these to the wall). These men are mostly expressionless, and while distinct individuals, they “blend” into each other after awhile.

Another view of the EyeLounge show:
“The Episodic Nature of Forgetting”

Some viewers might ”read” these photos like a Eadweard Mybridge series, where, when together,  they seem to move and suggest a motion picture. The light pastel colors of these photos have a dreamy effect, suggesting innocence, but also may suggest faded illicit gay photographs.

I got a chance to interview Logan after his opening. Following are some questions that I had for him.

Don’t forget to check out the Project Room of the EyeLounge for a continuation
of Logan Bellew’s show.

Could you tell us a little about your current show?

The show grew out of my interests in the failures of memory, sexual identity, and installation. They seem like really disparate areas (probably because they ARE really disparate), but these are themes and techniques that tend to run through my work. In the past I don’t think I ever allowed myself to explore my own sexual identity as openly as I did with this work, which is largely about the problematic nature of identification in queer culture.

So, what you are trying to accomplish?

I wanted to find some way of showing this problematic nature, and using a memory device like “forgetting” allowed me to create both memorable and transient faces in the installation, and tethered it to the whole idea of “gay” by photographing young shirtless men.

Another view of the Project Room of the EyeLounge.

It seems that your work is always incorporates the space where you show. Is that true?

Yes, this is true. I have always struggled with the notion of a framed and matted photograph or any other work of art. For some reason I sometimes struggle to access work that is so formally displayed, and can’t seem to separate the context the work is displayed in from the actual work. I find myself attracted to installations since they take into account the context they’re seen in, or rather create their own context apart from the notion of “the gallery.” Previously in my own work, I was exploring alternative methods of photographic installation since it never felt like my pictures fit the standard matte/frame format. I think I’ve moved beyond the semantics of “alternative methods of photographic installation” and am now taking the entire installation into consideration, focusing less on photography as a medium and more on the creation of an environment and spacial context.

What inspires you right now?
I never used to take photographs of people other than myself in the past (it was always an integral part of my work that the viewer know there was nobody else involved with or in the photographs I used to make). Earlier this year, I started taking pictures of people I am emotionally close to and have found that I draw much more inspiration from photographing people than objects, for the most part. I’ve also become much more honest with myself about what I like to photograph, and I have derived a lot of momentum from that.

As a child were you interested in art?

I never wanted to be an artist as a child. I wanted to be a scientist for a while, and then from the time I was ten I thought I was going to be a violinist. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I realized I wasn’t anywhere near prepared enough to audition for a conservatory.

Then, how did you bec0me interested in photography?

I was drawn to photography because, unlike the violin, I was able to remove myself from the final product and examine it. The whole idea really appealed to the analytical side of my personality as well, plus it allowed me to explore the idea of performance through a completely different but engaging lens… pun intended.

Aretheir books, artists, or other influences that inspire your work?

I’ve been reading a lot of medical books on memory disorders looking at a lot of the work by Pierre et Gilles, Gilbert and George, Roni Horn, and Annette Messager. I’ve also watched every documentary involving anything gay on Netflix.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m focusing on the next stage of this project which will most likely be photographing men older than those in my exhibition at Eye Lounge (volunteers?), and exploring more installation work. I am also doing a lot of research on the history and political climate of Cyprus. After spending the summer there working on an archaeological dig, I applied for a grant to return and photograph the youth and their culture in both the divided Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. I have a box of over 600 negatives from my time in Cyprus this summer that I have yet to go through, but there’s something interesting in there, and early next year I will be completing a collaboration with a neuroscience PhD student doing motor cortex research.

The Project Room of the EyeLounge.


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