West Chicago’s Gallery 200 Welcomes Photographer Uwe Gsedl
Opening Reception for Thru My Eyes
Friday, February 5, 2010
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
High style arrives at West Chicago’s Gallery 200 in February when photographer Uwe (Oova) Gsedl shares his collection
of portrait photographs in an exhibit titled Thru My Eyes. Rivaling those found in fashion magazines, Gsedl’s compelling, sometimes provocative images, leave one breathless.
Although known as a graphic artist by most in his community, Thru My Eyes will break barriers and reveal another facet of Gsedl’s creative prowess to friends and neighbors. Those unfamiliar with the man will discover a fresh, new talent in the world of studio photography.
Beyond the beauty, couture and glamour of his subjects, Gsedl captures attitude. All of his work communicates a singular intensity which may well be his signature. In a recent photo shoot, Gsedl capitalizes on the talents of free-lance model and wardrobe stylist Shalondra Rae who artfully presents this day as a woman cloaked in mystery. Her exterior elegance belies an unknown hidden agenda which is masterfully conveyed through the skilled hand of the photographer, in this piece called Madame.
Equally intriguing is the February exhibit’s title piece, Thru My Eyes. Gsedl has composed a black and white image of up-turned feet which challenge the observer’s perspective and interpretation, a keystone in his work.
Gsedl credits his current photographic ability to his cumulative experiences that span four decades and two continents, when as a teenager in Germany he was given his first camera, an Agfa Agfamatic. His earliest photographs were taken strictly for fun at various concerts he attended.
Later, his journey continued with a typesetter’s apprenticeship in Frankfurt, Germany where he learned elements of graphic orientation, composition and color. After eight years in the printing industry he moved into a career as a print-producer/broker in a German advertising agency. “Once I started earning a salary, the first purchase I made was a new camera,” he admits.
The first visit to West Chicago, Illinois was in 1988, Gsedl was struck by the many similarities between his homeland and the Chicagoland suburb – warm, friendly people, neatly kept neighborhoods and the strong sense of community. He also found Kristina Howard, the woman he has been married to for 17 years. He immigrated to the United States in 1992.
Enduring a turn of fate in 1993, Gsedl suffered a massive stroke which left him partially paralyzed on one side of his body and required years of rehabilitation. It also left him profoundly humbled and grateful for the life he loves so dearly. “If not for the stroke, I wouldn’t be a photographer; I wouldn’t be the father of three small children.” His personal challenge gave him a new perspective and opened doors to fresh interests and pursuits.
One of these interests led him to photography classes at the College of DuPage – a creative turning point for him. It was in a Portrait Studio Lighting class that he admits to “…having seen the light. It was my ‘ah ha moment’.” Assignments shooting photographs of subjects ranging from scuba divers, farmers, high fashion models and more taught him how to control the light and capture the personality of his subjects. He later became associated with websites designed to connect models with photographers so that each could build a portfolio.
“I do not measure success by money,” he shared when speaking about his artistic motivation. “I once asked my photography instructor and mentor if I could be collective, or job-worthy. He replied, ‘Yes, but so was Van Gogh.’ I have since found the journey to be more interesting than the destination, and would rather simply have someone look at my work and say, ‘Hmm, he is good’”.
A free Opening Reception for Thru My Eyes is planned for Friday, February 5, 2010, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Gallery 200, located at 200 Main Street (map). Gsedl will be joined by a number of his models from the Chicago area to discuss the work exhibited.
Gallery 200 is a cultural initiative supported by the City of West Chicago and the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, and is one more reason West Chicago was named an Illinois Arts Friendly Community in 2007. Gallery 200 is open Thursday and Friday from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Open studio hours hosted by the Underground Art group are Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. For more information including a complete list of current art classes, call (630) 293- 9550 or visit www.gallery200.com.