The work of an IU alumnus playing with ideas of movement and form will be included among the December exhibits at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.
Doug Paul Case’s collection, “Draping and Motion Studies,” features male models, some of whom are IU students, partially clothed, draped in fabric or fully naked.
The photographs play with blurred and captured motion, slow shutter speed, and the appearance of the human body both underneath cloth and independent of covering.
The show opens at 5 p.m. Friday in Ivy Tech Waldron as part of the Gallery Walk.
Case said the photo series was inspired at first by the idea of creating contemporary versions of classic artistic depictions of the naked male body and includes the draping of a strip of fabric or fig leaf for modesty, which evolved into the final product.
“Initially when I was thinking about what types of fabric served that function, I considered, ‘How does contemporary clothing fit into that sequence?’” Case said. “Then I kind of accidentally started doing these longer exposures, which was kind of a happy accident.”
Bryant Mehay, a senior and one of the models in the show, said he has worked with Case before and the development of the idea throughout the process was part of the fun for him.
“I wasn’t quite clear on the idea when we started because he was still developing it, so it was sort of a ‘Let’s try this and see how this goes,’ and it was being created as we went, which was really great,” Mehay said. “I got to put a lot of my own input into it sometimes.”
The longer exposures allowed for the compression of many moments into one frame, as opposed to traditional photography, which aims to capture just one moment, Case said.
The idea to collect many moments in one frame was inspired by something — déjà vu — Case said he experiences daily.
“I get déjà vu four or five times a day, and it’s kind of distracting because I’ll be convinced that I’ve done something before,” Case said. “A lot of the motion blur, to me, is kind of trying to make visual sense of what déjà vu is.”
The previous project Case and Mehay worked on was titled “The Men in My House,” a series of photographs of various models posing inside Case’s home with double-paned windows.
“I was taking portraits of subjects through that window with that reflection using the natural light,” Case said. “You would see both the person in the house and what they were seeing outside the house.”
In both projects, Case said he found his models on various social media platforms or Craigslist.
Mehay said he found out about “The Men in My House” through a listing online and found it to be a positive experience, which made it easy for him to decide to take part in “Draping and Motion Studies.”
“It was sort of just trying to get day-to-day images of people inside his house, which I thought was very creative,” Mehay said. “I really love art stuff like this. I like being part of it and helping develop and grow it to different ends than it was originally intended or helping create art, which I very much enjoy.”
Case said he is grateful for his models, who put their faith in him as a creative mind on this project.
“It’s a big thing to ask someone, ‘Will you come to my house and pose for photographs and trust me with your image?’” Case said. “I was really impressed these guys’ willingness and openness, and I hope they like the photos too.”
Mehay said, as a model, he doesn’t find it difficult to trust Case and to be photographed even given the personal nature of the modeling, due in part to his understanding of the creative meaning behind the draping.
“It was surprisingly easy to move into it,” Mehay said. “It’s based on a simple concept of putting cloth on the human body, which everyone does, and exploring the artistry behind that.”
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The exhibit is open through Jan. 21.
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