Saturday, November 2, 2013


PUNCHING THROUGH (C) 2012 Bart Synowiec

This evening, one of my dreams was fulfilled.

There.  I think I'll let that sentence just hang in the air for a minute.  

A few months ago, I was introduced by a mutual friend to a young fine art photographer, Bart Synowiec.  After meeting Bart, I had a look at his website, and was really struck by the images.  They were all unsettling, but never for the same reason.   The composition was striking, but each photograph evoked a powerful sense:  a feeling of vertigo, the vestigial memory of a  long-ago place, profound aloneness, incredible stillness, deep longing, sometimes that heightened awareness that you feel at the edge of the high diving board.  Even looking at the images on Bart's website ( I lost the sense that I was looking at a photograph, and I knew how that place smelled, because I was present, just at the edge of the scene.  I know Ivaan would have shared this sense: a combination of feeling present and having to remind yourself to breathe at the same time.

Bart was soon represented by the Mark Christopher Gallery, on Queen Street West.  I found myself occasionally visiting Bart's website, wondering which I'd choose if I could manage to have only one photograph.  At first, I fixed my covetous eye on a photograph entitled Curvy - I'll let you look it up on his website - and then it was Cooling Tower, and then, during a period wherein I was thinking about the Atlantic, and about ocean liners, I suddenly found myself hardly able to catch my breath while looking at Punching Through.  I was bowled over by the power of the picture, the motion, the enormity.

I made an appointment to go down to the Mark Christopher Gallery, where I met the proprietor, Mark Zadorozny, and spent some time with him and Bart. At this point, I'd never seen any of the photographs in person. They showed me a print of Curvy and it was very tempting just to put it under my arm, hand them my chequebook, and walk out the door.

In the end, I decided I could be impulsive and restrained at the same time: I'd buy Punching Through, but I wouldn't let myself see it until it was mounted and delivered several weeks hence.

Today was the day.  Every time I turn and look at it, I feel like someone turned on the oxygen.  Now, you've got some options. You can go to Bart's website or the gallery website and see it for yourself, or (and I recommend this option) you can come to Atelier Ivaan and see it on the wall.

Just remember to breathe.

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