Ben Groff & Lee Harper
October 6 - November 13, 2021
I was born in Pennsylvania, growing up there and among the little hills of Rockland County, New York. I moved to Seattle after college, later to Lynnwood, and have lived here ever since, enjoying a long career as a nurse at Virginia Mason Hospital. My interests have included hiking, mountaineering, and world travel, from which I draw most of my images. However my deepest concern has always been pan-artistic, spanning music, photography, art, and literature; I have been a fiction writer with many published stories. I am married with two grown children and one lovely granddaughter.
From an early age, I drew pictures in pencil, continuing into my mature years. When I finally came to painting in oils, this emphasis on clarity of line and form carried on into the new medium and I found myself to be by nature a realistic artist. But realism must never be an end in itself; rather the brush must adapt itself to the object and the object to the brush so that a deeper sense of the reality of the scene can emerge. Above all I seek to work with heightened color and light to express the spiritual essence that I find in that sudden, transitory moment of illumination the image contains, making it permanent.
My foray into the world of photography began with taking daily snaps on my iPhone as a way to combat the rainy and dark Seattle winters. Next was my “gateway camera”, a point and shoot. From there it was game on and I was addicted!
In 2017, I completed the Summer Intensive Program at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana. I try to get out as often as I can, sometimes to my front yard, and sometimes for further adventures, like watching the snow geese in Skagit.
I fell in love with the art of printing. Watching my art come to life is as enjoyable as taking photos. I got sick of buying cheap frames to put my art in, and decided I would print and mount my photos on wood. A friend offered to cut the wood for me, allowing me to make art of all sizes. The smallest are 2 inches square, and are my favorite to make. It’s like shrinky dink art!
I have exhibited in several group shows at community art galleries, and individual shows at local coffee shops, bars, and eateries and festivals in Seattle and on Camano Island. This past summer I participated in two pop-up art walks in Phinney and Broadview. It was so much fun to share my art with my neighbors (from a safe distance of course!). Art makes me happy and photography helped me keep my sanity during the pandemic.
Artist Statement - City Critters
I enjoy taking photos of city critters – squirrels, crows, pigeons, turtles and more. They are curious, brave, scrappy and resourceful. And they make me smile. Given their city environment, they are often pretty used to people, and make great subjects. I like doing intimate portraits of them, with a focus on their eyes, their little paws, or their beaks. Most of the animals in this show live in Seattle – at the beach, the Ballard Locks, my front yard, or other local natural areas. I hope you enjoy the city critters and that they make you smile too.