Robert Stivers

Dresses and Shoes

Recent Photographs

October 10 - November 5 2008

Opening Reception:
Sunday, October 12, 6:30 - 9:30 PM

Click Here For Dresses and Shoes Exhibition

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"The world according to Robert Stivers is an anxious place in which vision of all is impaired, and in which no one, introvert or extrovert, can immediately feel entirely comfortable or secure...spun around, unmoored from our reference points, off-center, we are thrust abruptly in this astigmatic dramaturgy, rife with hints of ancient ritual, elemental forms, animal spirits, charged objects, celebrants and mourners, births and sacrifices, rushes and pauses, gaps and proximities."

-AD Coleman

"Robert Stivers profession is alchemy, the transmutation of base materials into gold. If there’s a more succinct description of a photographer’s work, we haven’t heard it. Fortunately they don't burn sorcerers anymore. They give them gallery shows instead."

-Larry Schubert

All photographs are gelatin silver prints.

After Seurat, 2005.

Tornado, 2008.

Double Nude, 2001.

Early American, 2002.

Torso, 2001.

Elizabeth, 2002.

Through the Fog, 2005.

Rosehips, 2000.

The Family, 2002.

The Black Dress, 2004.

Isabel's Hand, 2004.

R, 2003.

San Francisco, 2000.

The Hive, 2005.

The Hive (Brown), 2005.

The Park, 2003.

The Inferno, 2005.

The Struggle, 2005.

The House, 2001

Ancient Tree, 2003

Figure In Oil, 2000


After DeLaroche


Dreams in the Dark Room

The photographs and films of Robert Stivers distort the perceptions of their viewers. Stivers' technique utilizes soft focus, vignettes, and motion blur to create a hazy vision of the world that emboldens the viewers sense of self. A.D. Coleman writes of his photographs, "Spun around, unmoored from our reference points, off-center, stripped of the comfort and clarity of specifics, we are thrust abruptly into this astigmatic dramaturgy" (Photography in New York: International Magazine.) Cloudscapes, shadows, and close-ups offer images of fragmented memories, decaying with time but never vanishing. The haunting aesthetics of early photography and silent film resonate through Stivers' oeuvre, fascilitating the viewer's plunge into a familiar, but distant cultural unconscious.

Stivers manipuates his images through hand-toning and enlargement in the dark room without the aid of digital technology. His distorting power reinvigorates classical tropes like nudes, sculpture, texture, and architecture. Soft lighting likens the materials of sculpture and architecture to human flesh and the body's forms. Vice-a-versa, his portraits of the human figure immortalize the subject like chiseled stone. Stivers' photographs often study and celebrate the contortion and motion of the body, reflecting his years of experience as a professional dancer and choreographer.

In the early 1980s, Stivers suffered a back injury that brought an abrupt end to his promising career in ballet. In 1988, after working as a stockbroker and life insurance agent, he turned to photography to reconcile himself with art and dance. Stivers trained rigorously in the photographic technique and quickly achieved a virtuosity in the craft. He has since exhibited his work extensively in the United States and Europe. His photographs are included in such museums as the LACMA, Getty Center, Metropolitan Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Brooklyn Museum. This exhibition of recent photographs marks his fourth show at the Frank Pictures Gallery.

Kellen Shipley

©2008 All Rights Reserved. Frank Pictures Gallery.