Bill Ray and Suze Woolf
January 6 - February 20, 2021
Bill is an award winning photographer and instructor whose photos have been in juried art shows like the Edmonds Arts Festival and Shack Art Center Everett. He is a lifelong photographer, starting with the Ansel Adams Zone System as a teenager. An early Photoshop user from scanned film, he switched to full digital in 2006, delighted to find his arts avocation had converged with his computer engineering profession. He is an active member of ArtistsConnect Edmonds, Puget Sound Camera Club and Seattle Photographic Society.
I first became passionate about photography doing black and white darkroom work as a teenager, trying to make my pictures look like those of Ansel Adams after taking mine from “above his tripod holes”. Later, the great color nature photographers like Robert Ketchum, Elliot Porter, and Art Wolfe provided inspiration, plus Henri Cartier-Bresson for capturing the decisive moment.
Our eyes generally see more than a photo can display. We can concentrate on part of a scene while staying aware of the totality, then instantly shift focus. The eye can handle a wider range of light and dark in one glance than a camera. I love those times when a photo rises above the technical challenges to capture the beautiful miracle of our world -- plus the times when the camera sees glories beyond our eyes, like the 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
I believe there are deep spiritual reasons why natural beauty stimulates the pleasure circuits hard-wired into our brains. It’s a clue there must be reasons why the Universe exists at all. It reminds us that “dominion over” means to be responsible stewards of the planet. My intent is to refresh a sense of connection beyond humanity’s increasingly urbanized human-centered worldview.
Suze Woolf studied ceramics and printmaking at the University of Washington. An early adopter of computer graphics, her career has included print and interface design. Though known as a watercolorist, she explores a wide range of media from painting, paper-casting, artist books and pyrography to installation – sometimes all together.
She has exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest but also in Utah, British Columbia, Maryland, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Washington DC. Her work is in regional public collections as well as many private ones. She has curated a large travelling exhibit, juried competitions for municipalities and artist organizations, and contributed work to non-profit fundraising.
She has received grants, stipends and exhibits from Artist Trust, Shunpike, The Entrada Institute, Zion Natural History Association, the Museum of Northwest Art and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art. She has been artist in residence in Zion, Glacier, Capitol Reef and North Cascades National Parks. She was a test artist resident at the Grand Canyon Trust’s remote Kane Ranch. 2019 will be her seventh year in Zion’s annual plein air invitational. She has also been an invited resident at art colonies such as the Banff Centre, the Vermont Studio Center, Willowtail Springs, Jentel Foundation and Playa Summer Lake.
Artist Statement - Western Landscapes
Wallace Stegner originally called the national parks our best idea: “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” I’ve spent a lot of time all over the West exploring their landscapes. Besides my sheer joy at being in the midst of such visual feasts, the way I learn a place is by painting it. I’ve been Artist-in-Residence in a number of parks: North Cascades, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef. I’ve also been an art colony resident in Banff, AB (between three Canadian national parks), at Willowtail Springs, CO (next to Mesa Verde), the Vermont Studio Center, the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming and Playa Summer Lake in Oregon. Each time I fall in love with a new landscape. But close observation also makes me aware of the many issues facing those lands. My joy in their beauty becomes a goad to serious work about the threats to them.