Press Releases

Robert Stivers: Veiled Image

For Release: July 28, 2012

Featuring works drawn exclusively from the Akron Art Museum’s expansive photography collection, Robert Stivers: Veiled Image represents several series the artist created over a twelve-year period. These non-traditional photographs will be on view July 28, 2012 – January 20, 2013, in the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery.

The gallery will be filled with approximately 40 emotional images from Robert Stivers’s shadowy world. The installation is a stream-of-consciousness arrangement void of wall labels allowing visitors the opportunity to create their own narrative.

Stivers’s photographs feature haunting dream imagery where objects tend to hover and pose or be caught in mid-gesture, reflecting his history as a dancer and choreographer. He uses his own body or that of friends in his images. Stivers also includes imagery found in the natural world, domestic interiors, historic paintings and sculpture. These are all captured with a similar sense of distortion, blurred vision or hazy memory.

John Stauffer, in Robert Stivers’s monograph Listening to Cement, wrote, “He is a unique and original vision at a time when many critics and artists have lost faith in the originality of the artist and the uniqueness of the art object.”

Self-taught in the art of photography, Stivers prides himself on his printing skills. He views art as synonymous with craftsmanship and his photographs are carefully printed on matte papers and often hand-toned or manipulated in the darkroom. His evocative combination of technique and imagery results in entrancing, disjointed narratives that require the viewer to fill in the details of the story.

About the Artist
Currently a resident of New Mexico, Robert Stivers (b. 1953) received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Irvine before continuing on to earn a master’s degree in dance from New York University. A back injury in the early 1980s ended the artist’s dance career, which was followed by a short stint as a stockbroker and insurance agent. He found renewed creative inspiration with photography in 1988. His work has appeared in museums and galleries from New York to London to Cologne and he has been written about in the New Yorker, Village Voice and Art News.

This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the museum’s Evelyne Shaffer Endowment for Exhibitions.

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