After a back injury in the late 1980s ended Robert Stivers’ first career in dancing, he took up photography. The New Mexico artist taught himself to shoot as he pleased and develop the effects he desired in the darkroom. His use of soft focus, tones of black, white, or sepia, and various technical tricks create deliberately blurred imagery. His work suggests not images of solid objects, but forms glimpsed in smoke or mirages at once vague but vivid.
In 2006, portions of Stivers’ dreamy corpus were donated to the Akron Art Museum. Now for the first time, 40 examples Stivers’ work — drawn from the past 12 years or what Akron Art Museum’s collections manager Arnold Tunstall calls his “mature” period — are on display in their new home. The exhibition, Veiled Image, earns its name honestly. “When Stivers shows you things you’ve seen before — taking away some of the information, taking away the background and foreground — viewers bring a lot of themselves to the work,” says Tunstall. “We’ve been surprised by the variety of responses. Some people find it scary. Some find it beautiful.” The exhibition remains on view through January 20, 2013, at One South High St. in Akron. For more information, call
330-376-9185 or go to akronartmuseum.org.