Friday, January 22, 2010

Interview: george elsasser (1990)

"image of a snow covered car", (c) george elsasser

the following is:
copyright (c) 2010, The Progress-index . Reprinted with permission.
The original article appeared in the Entertainment Guide Friday, June 22, 1990

'Incidents' on display at art league 
by Katie Thomas
P-1 Staff Writer

Petersburg - “Incidents” an exhibition of 26 recent photographs by Virginia Beach artist, George Elsasser, is on display at the Petersburg Area Art League, 13 Rock St., through July 12.  Elsasser's will be the Art League's last major exhibit until September.

Elsasser strives to create feelings or personal remembrances of incidents in objects and contrasts in his work.  He uses images to “accomplish collective symbols that have been passed down.  Symbols in my work hopefully strike an unconscious cord with the viewer,” he said.

“It's not important to me that the viewer gets exactly what I put out.  I hope that his or her life experiences connects somewhere with the imagery,” said Elsasser.

Elsassers finds he is attracted to unusual rather than common subjects.  He attempts to capture the line between the real object and the symbol or feeling it may be attached to.  “Photographs are our most realistic interpetation of real things.  I like to walk the balance between real things and unreal,” Elsasser said.

He often finds the symbolic image or feeling between real and unreal by contrasting objects.  “I like contrasts between beautiful with ugly, death with life.  Death to me is not the literal appearance but a change or moving on from what I was to the new beginning of what I may become,” said Elsasser.

Elsasser sees photography as the opportunity to understand the object and to anticipate what it might look like when it becomes a photographic image.

“It is my hope that my work will hit them on a feeling level with either comfort or unease,” said Elsasser.

Elsasser has been working exclusively in color in the last six years.  He said black and white describes form, but adding color gives the image a whole other dimension while staying part of the form.

The artist's interest in photography began 13 years ago with a college photography class.  Elsasser was shooting the usual “family, sunset, landscape photos until he saw a long surf board with a strip down the middle on a picnic table in a yard.  “I realized if I could present 'X' amount of information and leave a lot away from the viewer then that image would look like a road.  With that image I understood that this art was limitless.”  Since November, Elsasser has been working full time on his art.

Elsasser's works have been featured in many notable shows to include “American Vision” New York University, New York and “Light Images” at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk.  Several of his works are included in the private collections of the First Virginia Bank and the Kirn Memorial Library in Norfolk.

Elsasser holds a fine arts degree from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, and has studied at the Zone VI Workshop in Vermont and Sally Mann-Platinum Printing in Newport News.

“Incidents” will remain on display at the Petersburg Area Art League, from 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Call 861-4611 for information.

"image of morning light striking a shirt & jacket", (c) george elsasser
"image of water drops on car hood", (c) 1985 george elsasser

"image of buildings and corners", (c) 1987 george elsasser

"image of empty grave", (c) 1987 george elsasser

"image of a pool, green hose and parched earth", (c) 1987 george elsasser

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