Currently on exhibit in the Friends Gallery at Kendal at Oberlin is the work of artist, Stephen Tomasko. For more than thirty years, Stephen has made drawings, paintings, and uncompromising straight photographs of the American life and landscape. The exhibit titled, “Fairgrounds”, captures a vivid, intimate look at the, ever popular Midwest fair.
Stephen Tomasko states that, “Most of the county fairs in the Midwest are old events, by American standards at least, often having been in existence for 150 years or more. Rich in history and tradition, these fairs find the same farm families gathering each year, the sun shining once again on the same patch of land, as yet another version of their complex pageant gets underway.”
The rides, booths, and shows materialize, delivered and assembled overnight by carneys guided by their own particular rituals. A dizzying array of offerings creating sensory overload for all but the most jaded. Then courage is tested, contests and competitions are waged, and countless ribbons are won and lost. There are smiles and tears, all undoubtedly so very similar to the generations that have come before.
Stephen added, “I have been making images of this bit of American heritage during the last eight years, attending more than 50 different fairs, many on a yearly basis. My work is visual storytelling, grown out of the tradition of documentary-style street photography. Shoot first, ask questions later. This approach leads to surprise, spontaneity, and openness – on my part and on that of the subject.”
His work has been displayed and is held in collections, including the permanent collection of the Akron Art Museum, which included his work in exhibitions in 2011 and 2016. In 2017, The Art Museum of Windsor, Ontario, featured his work on its walls, and in the fall of 2018, his series of photographs, Loyal to the Lot, will be the inaugural exhibition of the new Paul Brown Museum in the newly expanded MASSMU, the art museum in Massillon, Ohio.
An artist reception is held on Friday, September 14th at 4:30PM in the Heiser Lounge at Kendal at Oberlin. The show runs through October 1st.
All are welcome…COME TO THE FAIR!