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Head with Open Mouth, 1995

Robert Stivers, Head with Open Mouth, 1995
Gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in.
Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of George Stephanopoulos

Arnold Tunstall at the Arkon Art Museum, a gem of a museum in a formerly grand industrial city –recently introduced me to the work of Robert Stivers.  Mr. Tunstall had organized an exhibit of 40 of Stivers photographs that the museum owns. The work was striking, and the exhibition –hung in a patchwork style– displayed the work perfectly. It gave the impression that each image was trying to reach out of the frame to say something and consequently the room, though eerily silent, felt activated. The images have a pulsating aura, that might emit light in the dark. The feeling was both disconcerting and compelling at the same time. The viewer’s curiosity is peaked and at the same time, one is a little afraid to get too close. A feeling akin to watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film ‘The Master’. You want to look away, but you can’t. We are horrified and mesmerized at the same time…everything is suggestive yet secretive… and it’s all a little bit… creepy ….but in a good way. — Lorraine Davis

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