Friday, September 17, 2010

Mike and Karen Stroup

Mike Stroup with "The Crossing"
Wednesday evening Satch and I were invited by Mike and Karen Stroup to attend, at the University of Indianapolis' Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Art Gallery, the 2010 Invision photography exhibit.

The evening began at Santorini's, a fine Greek restaurant in the Fountain Square area. Karen treated us to a feast of Greek foods fresh from Santorini's kitchen - hummus, Tzaziki, feta, olives, delicious pita bread, etc., etc. We were warmed by the towering flames while the server prepared Saganiki (flaming goat cheese). Karen, Mike and Satch enjoyed a bowl of mushroom soup while I attacked a Greek salad. The meal was finished off with Galaktabouriko, a sweet Greek custard garnished with powdered sugar and cinnamon. This is so good that is almost wrong.

Karen had set up the evening to celebrate Mike's work in the exhibit. We were so pleased to be asked to be a part of it.

Vowing to return in the near future, we bid αντίο to Santorini's and the four of us headed down to the exhibit. The Gallery in the Fine Arts Center is beautifully accomplished. It is a simple rectangular cube, but an inviting, room with high ceilings and excellent lighting. The design of the room makes the exhibited art the focus.

Mike exhibited four pieces, as did the other Invision artists. He chose to show two pairs of photographs. The first pair is from a fair and the second is from a location somewhere in rural America.

The fair photographs are studies in dimension, light and motion and human connection. The rural photographs are studies in, life's choices and journey and mortality.

Mike's contemporary work is full of various emotions. It is thought provoking but in an emotional way that is vague, leading the viewer to introspection. When I say his work is emotionally vague, I mean this in the best possible way. His work isn't "in your face" but it draws one in, evoking emotions that requires one while studying the work to mentally interact with the photographs.

The Crossing

"The Crossing" (I believe that is the correct title) just knocks me out. The elements and light in the photograph, in tandem with Mike's treatments, produces a photograph that is, in my mind, essentially flawless.

So, big and huge congratulations to Mike and the work he is exhibiting at the 2010 Invision exhibit. He told me that he is continuing to pursue his current direction and will be producing more work in the near future. I will try to patiently wait.

And, big and huge thanks to Karen and Mike for an excellent evening.

I've always been a supporter of Mike and his work and Satch and I deeply value our relationship with Karen and him. In the past I have written about them and how important they have been to me personally and to my work. Here's a link to a past post on my blog. I invite you to please take the time to read it. Thanks.

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