Rene Bechard loves photography because it captures a moment in time that will never again occur, preserving that moment forever to be enjoyed by generations yet to come. Her brilliant photographs of soap bubbles capture an enchanting landscape that can evoke thoughtful contemplation as well as inspire imaginations to soar. The joyous exhibit of Rene Bechard’s delightful photographs currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery will stimulate conversations as viewers explore the worlds contained within these colorful images.
After Rene moved to Arcanum in 1999, she rediscovered her love of photography, first developed at age sixteen when presented with a Kodak Instamatic disc camera for her birthday. The Connecticut native stumbled onto bubble photography one day while blowing bubbles with her grandson, the joyful experience moving her to attempt capturing the beautiful colors floating around them. After much trial and error, she not only developed her own soap and liquid mixture that she pours on a plate, then blows to form a dome-shaped bubble, but also constructed the lighting rig which makes possible the capture of the intense colors and shapes swirling on the bubble’s surface. “And then,” Rene says, “it was off to the races.”
Although the captured images are mirrored and rotated using Photoshop, no other special effects are utilized to create her striking photographs. Rene titles her work based upon what she sees when the image is printed, and believes that those titles drop into her mind the way that songs flow into composers’ brains. However, she loves that viewers often perceive something else entirely from what she saw when creating the title. “That’s the beautiful thing about art; people can develop their own personal relationship based on their perspective of the image before them,” she stated.
Actually, what one sees in these works can be a kind of Rorschach test, with each individual bringing their own unique interpretation to each piece. “The Plutonian,” a strikingly dramatic black and white image was so named because Rene’s initial response to the finished product was to see a spaceman amid the swirling fluid lines, but you may see something else altogether, and your personal reaction is quite valid even in the artist’s eyes.
“Cotton Candy,” a brilliantly colored work has shades of pink, magenta, green, and yellow swirling around a central figure that looked to me like a magnificent elf wearing a jacket out of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album cover, all made from the sugary confection. “Heart of Love” has the aura of a Victorian valentine exploding with color, the central purple heart framed in gold with blue tendrils trailing down, all topped with a magic lamp-like form. “Phoenix Rising” is somehow full of movement, the blue-winged figure straight from Hogwarts appearing to be ascending out of the panel in which it is encased.
The largest piece on display, a dramatic magnificent orb featuring a plethora of differing elements somehow evoking reverence and awe, is the artist’s favorite. “When I saw it, I instantly entitled it ‘God,’ she explained. Later, a friend looked at the image, and discovered a crucifix among the many shapes contained within the work, somehow confirming the rightness of Rene’s initial response.
All of this beauty and more will remain on display at the Anna Bier Gallery located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall through December 16. An opening night reception will be held on Saturday, November 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. prior to Darke County Center for the Arts Artist Series presentation of a cappella group Six Appeal; the artist will talk about her fascinating work at 7 p.m. The Gallery is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment as well as during special events at Memorial Hall including DCCA’s Family Theatre Series November 19 presentation of A Very Electric Christmas For more information, or to arrange a tour at other times, contact Anna Bier Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.