FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, CA.
The Paul Kopeikin Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition “No Lifeguard on Duty”. For this stunningly calm and exotic series, J Bennett Fitts uses the qualities of light to create a unified vision of a man-altered landscape: abandoned pools. The exhibition will open on January 7th and run through February 4th, 2006. A reception will take place on Saturday, January 7th from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The reception is free and open to the public. The gallery is located at 6150 Wilshire Blvd, just west of Fairfax. For information call 323-937-0765.
J Bennett Fitts has traveled over 20,000 miles around the United States from Salton Sea, California and the Southern California Inland Empire to Arkansas and West Virginia to photograph relics of America’s roadside past. He expresses the contrast between the of the period when these motels were new and attracted the Great American family touring the U.S.A and their modern state: attracting only budget travelers and sites for prostitution and drug use, perhaps even manufacture.
Although there is this residual documentary quality to the photographs, they are not meant to record stories or even the visuals of an architecture that some might even want to restore and preserve. Fitts’s works show a stylized environment that now seems almost completely abstract as if no one could ever have inhabited these spaces. The circular and often atomic shapes of the empty or abandoned pools are set against the linear or cubistic forms of the adjoining or containing closed or sealed motel structures.
Another element to Fitts’s work is the elusive subject of all photography: time. The series documents attitudes toward the time of day or times of life and taps these deep feelings snatched from a moment of life or the life of created objects in the environment and preserves them in photographs of gritty elegance. Each photograph in the series rewards the viewer with the oddities and quirks of Fitts’s vision. Melancholy is projected by each photograph: these are all now objects from a bygone era.
J Bennett Fitts now acclaimed “Golf” series was shown at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery two years ago, and since that time has been featured by Photo District News, selected for the “New American Talent Exhibition 2005” at Arthouse Texas and won first place for Fine Art Landscape at the International Photography Awards. He plans to show in New York in the upcoming year.
Kansas City, Missouri
2003 BFA in photography, Art Center College of Design Pasadena California
2004 “Golf” Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2006 “No Lifeguard on Duty” Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2006 "No Lifeguard on Duty" Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, MA
2006 “No Lifeguard on Duty” Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY
2007 "No Lifeguard on Duty" QPCA Gallery, Portland, OR
2007 "No Lifeguard on Duty" Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, TX
2005 International Photography Awards “Best of”, Farmani Gallery, Los Angeles CA
2005 New American Talent, Jones Center, Austin TX curated by Dan Cameron
2006 International Photography Awards “Best of”, Farmani Gallery, Los Angeles CA
2007 "Utopian Mirage", Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, Poughkeepsie, NY
2007 "Seeing Things", Dorsky Gallery, Long Island, NY
2007 "Slidluck Potshow" Anthony Nex Studio, Los Angeles, CA
2007 "Trans Fotografia" Gdansk, Poland
2004 International Photography Awards, First place, Fine Art Landscape, “Golf”
2004 American Photography Annual, Honorable mention, “Golf”
2005 International Photography Awards, Third place, Fine Art Landscape, “No Lifeguard on Duty”
2006 International Color Awards, First Place “outstanding achievement”, “Huntington”, from the series, “No Lifeguard on Duty”
2007 American Photography Annual, selected images included from the series, "No Lifeguard On Duty"
2005 Austin Chronicle, “Oh, Give Me a Home”, by Rachel Koper
2005 Photo District News, “Par for the Course”, by Edgar Allen Beem
2006 Crown Magazine, Oslo Norway, “ John Bennett Fitts”, by Lars Otenhols
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
O’Donnell Golf Course & Country Club
Creative Artist Agency
In photography my interest has always been held by landscapes; never the heroic imagery most people have come to associate with the term landscape, but rather the beautifully subtle and banal work of the photographers associated with the new topograhics movement. The sense of quiet and isolation that pervades Baltz’s series on Irvine warehouses is something that I always set out to achieve through my own imagery. The photographers showcased in the new topographics exhibition focused on a "social landscape" that explored the way in which man impacts the natural environment. They focused on new subject matter as well, creating imagery that avoided the common themes beauty and emotion. Yet at a certain point during my pursuit I feel that I break off from the strict doctrine of some of the photographers showcased in this movement. In contrast to them, I have chosen a non-industrial subject matter as well as, purposely setting out to achieve a certain sense of aesthetic beauty in all of my images. I want someone with no feeling for the game of golf to be able to walk into the gallery and view my imagery with a great sense of contentment. This body of work is not created for the specific demographic of golfers; it is an attempt to recontextualize the golf landscape and open it up to a whole new audience. In my mind I see the perfect audience for the work as one that will walk into the gallery with no preconceived notions of the game of golf and be able to take something away from the imagery.
My personal association with the game of golf comes about through my living experience in Colorado Springs. I lived in a townhouse that sat beside a course built by the well-known golf course architect Pete Dye. My actual view of the course from my house was quite limited, though all of my north facing windows looked into a 40 foot dry grass hill that was placed there to punish errant shots by golfers on the 14th hole. On the other side of this somewhat barren hill lie the lush and almost surreal color of the course, hidden from my view. I would often wander over the hill in the evening to observe the amazing colors that this man made environment had produced. I remember the multiple times of year that they would take the golf course lake from it’s normal greenish hue and dye it into a deep blue to make it appear as a lake should look in the eyes of the golfer. During the winter they would also attempt to dye the brown grass a pathetic shade of green that did little to fool anyone about it’s actual condition during the Colorado winter. My awareness of these attempts at creating a different golfing reality led me to my own project, and in my eyes the most interesting phenomena within all of golf; the night golf course. It is a place lit so beautifully and theatrically, with such a sense of artificiality that you could almost be fooled as to whether it was actually the evening or midday. The hyper reality of greens created by the color cast of the sodium vapor lights projected onto the course is as artificial and as amazing a tone as there can be. It is this sense of artificiality that has made this project fascinating to me.