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    Joe Mays is a contemporary photographer who likes to play with alternative lighting, and his work will be the focus of an opening reception at Blue Heron Gallery and Arts Market on Friday, November 4th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. His exhibit will be curated by Tracey Ippolito and on display from November 4th through December 4th.

    Amongst some of his better known work, Mays has a series of photographs that have captured models in bodypaint under blacklights. The series was a collaboration with bodypainter Jill Morgan. Some of those were accepted into the Nude International exhibition in 2010 and 2011. He then had a solo show in New York in July of 2010.  He says that his art centers around changing the context in which we view the human form by combining the human form with psychedelic imagery.

    "I photograph models under alternative lighting conditions. These include projecting abstract imagery on to the models, moving the imagery, moving other light," says Mays. "Both kind of come out of a fasicnation I have with the human form and psychedelic imagery, and they share the effect of taking the human form out of the realm in which we are used to seeing it. They change the context, allow people to look at something as familiar as another human being and kind of see it for the first time."

    Mays had a solo show in New York in July of 2010, followed by  "the New York Observer" including  one of his photos in a story on nudes in contemporary art in April of 2011. He has also been the curator's choice at Barebrush Gallery in New York several times under different curators.

    The reception Friday will feature Joe's work in addition to "wine, drink, and delectables". The Blue Heron is in its third year of operation at 129 W. Main St (across the street from Blue River Cafe. Ippolito took on the role of facilitator about a year ago, and will be hosting the reception. New artists are interchanged monthly, and the October reception brought in over 100 guests to the gallery. 

    Blue Heron is actually a non-profit cooperative run by a group of artists. Due to their low fees and commissions, they bring in some of the best artists Ipplito has seen. She says that the gallery came to be after the formation of the Blue River Arts Association, now chaired by Mark Woods of the known Blue River Cafe. Senator Richard Young and Ippolito are the other members of the board.

    "We are ever evolving," said Ippolito. "We have great plans for the future. We are still in step one - the gallery. Step two is the arts' walk, and step three is an artist-in-residence. The ultimate aim of the BRAA is to develop the town of Milltown into a high-art artists' colony of sorts. 

    Ippolito further commented, "It would be difficult not to be immediately taken by Joe's work. His composition, selection, and creation within those lines appear flawless. Asking him to join the gallery was a no-brainer."

    Photos supplied by photographer Joe Mays. 

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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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