Untitled, archival photograph on aluminum, 2014


Ballet & Botanica: A Show of Beauty, Grace and Form
By Julius Friedman

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Julius Friedman has been exhibiting long enough that it is easy to take for granted his practiced eye and impeccable sense of design. The ongoing series of photographs of Louisville Ballet dancer Erica De La O, which have dominated his recent efforts, are still present in this new exhibit, but a renewed interest in botanical images takes the focus, in an unexpectedly symbiotic relationship with the ballet photos.


Untitled (Erica De La O), archival photograph on aluminum, 2014

The first section juxtaposes a series of large ballet images above a single row of smaller botanicals, all printed on aluminum, most in warm monochromatic tones. The placement emphasizes the relationships between the shape and movement of the dancer’s costume and the petals on the flowers, and beautifully highlights the organic core of the dancer’s forms. One is born in nature, the other created through arduous training and discipline, yet, as captured by this artist’s eye, both illuminate the divinity and grace of existence.

flower_O9B1165A copy

Untitled, archival photograph on aluminum, 2014

On the other wall, the botanicals are everything, and the color and textures are magnificent. The aluminum surface gives these photographs sharp resolution and an almost hyperrealist feeling. Simple, close-up compositions find delicate petal surfaces enlarged and color so richly expressed that the viewer cannot help but be enveloped by the damp, dewy world of the flowers. The carefully judged compositions are distinct in their impact and highlight the vivid sensuality of the subject. That sensuality underscores other parallels between the dancers and the botanicals as well. The dancer’s legs emerge from the gauzy folds of fabric in the same way that the pistils of the flowers are enfolded by the deliberate structure of the petals, evoking the fundamental structure of a pure, innocent sexuality.

Beyond such academic visual deconstruction, we are reminded that human desires are a part of a larger, grander cycle of life, and that only arrogance limits our understanding of the role we play in that cycle. Rather than think we are above nature, we must reconnect to it in ways that have meaning. Mr. Freidman’s images help ground us


Ballet & Botanica: A Show of Beauty, Grace and Form
By Julius Friedman

July 4-28, 2014

Monday-Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 12pm-6pm

Craft(s) Gallery
572 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40202