9 Lives | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It

9 Lives 

Photography has always been a passion for Charles Bremer, inspired first by his grandfather, then by his father, who first met Ansel Adams in the 1940s at Yellowstone National Park, and went on to study with the famous landscape photographer. “I was weaned on Edward Weston and Paul Strand,” Bremer recalls. “I had learned darkroom techniques by the time I was seven or eight.”
Bremer married his high-school sweetheart and, after studying art at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, determined that he wanted to live life as an artist. “I gave up my day job 30 years ago. I had one for about 6 months, and gave it up.” The couple bought a 100-acre farm in Otego, New York, just west of Oneonta, in the remote heart of rural upstate. He converted the barn into a studio and made his home a center of creative energy.
At the heart of Bremer’s philosophy is working by hand. He studied ceramics in college, and did the building around his house himself. “The foundation of learning about human life is learning how to work with your hands,” he maintains. “Your eye, your ear, your imagination, can be guided through your body, through having a physical relationship with things. If you can transform a raw material into something, you understand where self-confidence comes from.”
His artwork is similarly handmade. He began a series of female figures by scoring his negatives with abrasive grit so that the resulting print had “the quality of an etching or lithograph—all the specificity of a photograph, but also a whole other detail of handwork.” Bremer then hand-colored the images with materials ranging from coffee and walnut extract to silk dye, and impregnated them with
a beeswax glaze, a technique known as encaustic.
Each of the figures is isolated against a black background, a choice inspired by the famous photo of Earth suspended in the blackness of space. “That’s the image that defines all of us,” he says. “Th e only image that all of us are in.”
His new series of photographs operates under the same metaphor, but this time the subjects are objects, not figures. Th e red Eveready arrived via serendipity this past winter. “I was working with some old equipment, and this battery popped out,” Bremer says. “I started off just liking the black cat, and saying, ‘Look at that, there’s Weaselmuffin,’ as we call our cat.” So he took a picture.
From this first photo, Bremer embarked on a series about commercial objects with animals on them. “I’m interested in images that transcend the product itself and elicit the mystery of the animal.” By now, he understands his battery picture more deeply. “It’s almost as if it becomes an allegory for all the energy that a living being can encounter in his life.”
Bremer’s images are on exhibit through November 25 at Amrose Sable Gallery, 306 Hudson Avenue, Albany. A reception with the artist is scheduled for November 2. (607) 437-6977; www.amrosesablegallery.com.

Speaking of...

  • Gardiner Art Crawl
  • Gardiner Art Crawl

    The crawl combines three Gardiner events over the course of the weekend of June 3 and June 4.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • MAYfest
  • MAYfest

    MAYfest runs May 26 through May 28 at Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Spring.
    • May 1, 2017
  • Beacon Open Studios
  • Beacon Open Studios

    The ninth annual Beacon Open Studios tour features a self-guided tour of over 50 artist's studios the weekend of May 13-14.
    • May 1, 2017
  • More »
Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Carrie On

    • May 1, 2016
  • Parting Shot: Michael Crawford

    The painter and cartoonist who was a longtime contributor to The New Yorker passed away on July 12 at his home in Kingston.
    • Sep 1, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Ritz Kidz Summer Theater Workshop @ Safe Harbors Lobby at the Ritz

Ritz Kidz Summer Theater Workshop

Mondays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Continues through Aug. 24 — Through Aug. 24. Open to ages 10-15. Registration forms are due by...

Introduction to Tai Chi Series

Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Continues through June 5 — There are many aspects to Tai Chi. Tai Chi involves body and...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

Related to Visual Art

More by Timothy Cahill

  • Bronze Ages

    “Cast Images: American Bronze Sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art” continues at the New York State Museum through February 24, 2008.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • Sanam

    The idea for the painting _Sanam_ came to Troy-based artist Jon Gernon, as he puts it, in a “flash” when he saw a family friend wearing a T-shirt she’d made based on the “Coexist” bumper sticker.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • December's Featured Contributors

    Joseph Dalton, William Doiron, Michael Fallarino, and Nina Shengold contribute to December's issue.
    • Nov 30, 2007
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets