• December 3, 2011

‘Walls & Light’ Exhibition in Manhattan

10 photographs by Father Paul

On November 10, a crowd of ‘friends’, art lovers and bypassers was gath­ered in the First Things gallery in the Flatiron dis­trict of Manhattan, for the opening of “Walls and Light,” an exhi­bi­tion of 10 pho­tographs by Father Paul Anel, on view until January 9, 2012. Silvia Espinosa, artist and PhD stu­dent in Art History, shares her insights about his inti­mate and con­tem­pla­tive work.

Looking is an act of sal­va­tion, of com­pas­sion, and it is the path Father Paul Anel has taken in his voca­tion as a Catholic priest and pho­tog­ra­pher. The exhi­bi­tion, Walls and Light, at the First Things gallery brings together ten pho­tographs by Fr. Paul that shed light on the beauty and mys­tery of ordi­nary and ephemeral moments in life and nature. Shifting reflec­tions, quiet shadows, moving streams and passing clouds appear as time­less markers of a tran­sient world caught between the infinite and finite, the per­sonal and the uni­versal. In these works, Fr. Paul approaches his sub­ject - an empty stair­well, an urban com­mute, or a frosty morning glare - without any agenda, but the joyful desire to see the world “with the eyes of Christ,” that is, of com­pas­sion and love. Photography embodies the act of looking and in Fr. Paul’s hands or rather eyes, it becomes aspi­ra­tion, prayer and praise.

(...) Though people have been the main sub­ject of his pho­tog­raphy, Fr. Paul’s most recent body of work reveals an interest in the abstract qual­i­ties of light and reflec­tion, par­tic­u­larly on the land­scape and urban envi­ron­ment. John Silvis, the curator of the exhi­bi­tion, saw in these abstract images as much power to speak of the human expe­ri­ence as do his por­traits. “They have a rich poetic quality and invite the viewer to spend time to con­tem­plate. There is a cer­tain com­plexity which takes years of seeing, a com­plexity of form and an under­standing of the visual lan­guage as a medium,” says Silvis.

(...) Fr. Paul’s pho­tographs invite us to con­tem­plate the poetic and sym­bolic expres­sion of light across sur­faces, places and time.

Walls and Light will be on view from November 10, 2011
through January 9, 2012.

Read the whole essay

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