Through the Lens
Oldham County photo contest
honors the late Archambeault
Arts Association of Oldham Co.
presents ‘Pure Kentucky’
LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2019) – Acclaimed Kentucky photographer James Archambeault left behind a legacy of breathtaking photos of Kentucky landscapes. His influence was felt far and wide and is the focus behind a new art exhibit at Gallery 104 in La Grange.
The Arts Association of Oldham County, which runs the gallery, in September launched the exhibit “Pure Kentucky: A James Archambeault Tribute Show.” This exhibit is part of a photo biennial that is offered “every two years,” said Ann Stroth, an arts association member and show chair.
“ ‘Pure Kentucky’ is an element of the Louisville Photo Biennial,” said Jim Cheski, the arts association’s vice president. “The scope of the Biennial is massive.”
Photographer Laura Lenz Bowman earned third place with her entry “Pairing Up,” shown above.
The Louisville Photo Biennial was started in 1999 by four East Market Street galleries. This year it will encompass 60 photographic exhibits at venues throughout Metro Louisville, southern Indiana and central Kentucky. It is a cooperative effort between galleries, museums, colleges, universities and other cultural institutions to celebrate the medium of photography through a variety of exhibit forms such as fine art, documentary, design, historic and everyday snapshot photography.
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Some of the participating venues include 21c Museum Hotel (Louisville), Capital City Museum (Frankfort), ArtSeed Gallery (New Albany, Ind.), Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest Education Center (Clermont, Ky.), Blue Grass Motorsport (Louisville), Brick Street Art Studios (New Albany, Ind.), Downtown Arts Center, City Gallery (Lexington, Ky.), Edenside Gallery (Louisville) and the Filson Historical Society (Louisville).
Stroth, also a photographer, lived in Lexington for 37 years. “I knew Jim and his scenic Kentucky work. He was a master of marketing,” she said. Archambeault, a native of Michigan, died this past spring.
Archambeault’s first book of prints, simply titled “Kentucky,” was published in 1982. He published five additional books and 35 Kentucky calendars.
He once commented to the Lexington Herald-Leader, “I didn’t make Kentucky. I simply went out and recorded what I found.” The scope of his work influenced many and prompted the arts association to dedicate an exhibit to the late photographer.
“Pure Kentucky: A James Archambeault Tribute Show” will be on display until Oct. 19. An opening reception was held on Sept. 26.
Stroth said the arts association received an “invitation from the Biennial organization to participate.” The show was open to adult and students artists, local and regional, and membership in the arts association was not required to participate. Ribbons and prizes were awarded at the opening reception.
Stroth participated in the exhibit “but will not compete. I have two black-and-white 16x20s in the show.” One depicts the Amish from Liberty, Ky., and horse shoeing at the backside of the track at Churchill Downs during Derby Week.
A bonus to the arts association for participating in this Photo Biennial is that “we are listed in the booklet giving each venue and theme. Everyone is encouraged to do a tour of each show,” said Stroth.
Local artist and photographer Laura Lenz Bowman said, “I admire the work of James Archambealt. He captured Kentucky beautifully. I am happy and honored to be participating this year,” in the Biennial exhibit.
Bowman entered three photographs in the Photo Biennial. She said the first is of “a small country church in Milton, Ky., titled “Methodists in the Meadow.” I have passed this church on Highway 421 many times during the “golden hour,” which is just before sunset when the sunlight is golden.”
She often photographs scenes she wants to paint and “thought I would make a painting of it. In the mean time, I was commissioned to do a painting of that very same church for a friend whose in-laws were married there and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past summer. I set out one June evening after those weeks of rain to take some photos. The sun was peaking out and the sky was dramatic. So my reference photo is entered in the Biennial.”
Another entry was a photo of her horses, also taken at the golden hour. “They lined up in two perfect pairs for this photo. The title is “Paired Up.” The third photo is titled “Long May You Run.” It is a photograph of horses running in a pasture.
“These photos were taken at our farm and a neighbor’s farm in Oldham County.”
Bowman has “always been interested in photography. I concentrated in photography as an art major at the University of Louisville 25 years ago prior to the digital age.” She lived in Arizona and Texas before returning to her home state of Kentucky.
“My husband also has a great eye for photography and entered “Faces in the Fence.” It’s a photo of our two cows, Mable and Ruth.”
Both are members of the arts association, and she is a working artist, juried in painting, at Gallery 104. Bowman also teaches art at Butler Traditional High School in Louisville.
“I will be chairing our upcoming ‘Winter in Kentucky’ show that will showcase work from Gallery Artists for the holidays.”
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