The Yadkin Arts Council presents “Handmade: A Portrait of the Artist’s Tools” – by Bryan Rierson – from September 8 to October 28. This large-scale black-and-white photography exhibit features local artisans displaying pieces they themselves have created with their tools. (their hands). In addition to photos, information about each artist will be displayed next to each piece. Featured artisans will also be invited to exhibit a 3D piece of their work on a plinth in the gallery. Rierson has received funding for this project and exhibition from the North Carolina Arts Council through its Artist Support Grants program in 2021 and 2022. There will be an opening reception on September 8 at 5 p.m. to celebrate this spectacle.
A love of handmade craft inspired Rierson to start a project in 2019 photographing portraits of artists and artisans, showing their hands rather than their faces. He titled it “Handmade – Portraits of the Artist’s Tools”. Rierson started with Brandon Edwards, a wet-plate collodion photographer. His portrait shows his chemically stained hands holding a four-inch tintype he made. He has since photographed a variety of artisans displaying different mediums. Each photograph features the artist’s hands holding their work or, in some cases, the tools or materials they use to produce the work. The viewer will be able to decipher who the subject is and what kind of art they create, but the face of the artist will be left to the imagination. All images were shot on film, in black and white. This artisanal aspect of the work helps to link it to the craftsmanship of each of its subjects.
“I find it quite satisfying to create something tangible with my own hands,” Rierson said. “My photographic journey began in the age of cinema when we made our creative decisions before hitting the shutter, creating the final photograph in the darkroom with a process that felt like magic…or alchemy The advent of digital capture took away some of that feeling of craftsmanship, and manipulating images in computer software made my photographs look more like fabricated copies than prints. unique handmade.
“I’m also a hobby carpenter, so I appreciate fine craftsmanship,” Rierson continued. “After years of digital photography, I returned to my roots, ditching the digital camera in favor of traditional film for my artistic work. I photograph people – both posed portraits and real life. J ‘have found that my subjects appreciate the fact that I make their photography using traditional methods, and often they tell me of their passion for something that they too create by hand. inspires me to keep working to perfect my craft.