Retired Castleton University communication professor Roy Vestrich showed his varying artistic interests recently, at the Castleton Downtown Gallery.
His exhibit titled “Papered Walls, Photographs from Around the World,” opened Dec. 2, and included Vestrich’s photographs spanning the past 30 years.
The photographs of tattered, weathered, and layered posters on walls were taken during the artist’s numerous travels to Europe, Canada, Australia, and China, as well as the United States.
The project began when Vestrich lived and worked in the South of France in the ‘70s.
“I had been working on an old house restoring it. I did a lot of mortar work, and brick work, and stone work, and I sort of got really interested in the textures and the feelings of scraped walls and ruins … I see myself as a painter who takes photographs rather than a photographer that paints. It’s a photograph, but it’s a painting,” Vestrich said.
Understandably, the project evolved over time. When he began, he was shooting with film cameras and had a taste for walls that were as two dimensional as possible.
“There’s a difference between the older versus the new. Trying not to find shadows and get my own reflection. One of the difficulties is how do you get the camera to not show up in photographs. And I didn’t really like how the paper was coming off and making shadows. I was always trying to avoid that originally when I was shooting this to get more painterly, but I got more into that later, and you’ll see a lot of the newer stuff has these almost three dimensional trompe l’oeil effects,” Vestrich said.
According to Sarah Karczmarczyk, director of Art Galleries, the show was well received and also provided a chance for the author to read some of his writing.
“We actually had new people in that night who had never made it in before, and they made it for his poetry reading … from his book “River People,’” Karczmarczyk said.
Fifty-three year-old Rutland County native Brian McPhee viewed the show the day before it was taken down.
“I thought it was a great show. It was very well laid out and just beautiful work. I’ve never seen a show done with just walls. I thought that was a neat concept,” he said.