LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 27, No. 1 - Spring 1981
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1981 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
THE ART OF ALGIMANTAS KEZYS*
* Algimantas Kezys was born in Lithuania in 1928. He came to this
country in 1950, joining the Jesuit order in that year. Artistic inclinations soon led him
to photography, and he presented his first one-man' show in 1963. In 1965 his pictures
were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. This was followed by a series of exhibits
in other parts of the United States and abroad. Loyola University Press published his
first collection of photographs in 1966. His pictures have since appeared in magazines and
books on both sides of the Atlantic, notably in Camera, the international magazine
of photography and cinematography, published in Switzerland; in Famous Photographers
Annual published in the United States in 1969. For his book Form and Content he
has written an essay in which he states fully his attitudes and the relationship of his
photographic work to himself. The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of
Art, Museum of Art — Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh include him in their permanent
collections. He is listed in Who's Who in the Midwest, in Contemporary
Authors, and in Dictionary of International Biography published in England.
The photographs in this issue are from the exhibit at the "Galerija" in January 5-24, 1981.
Should a Lithuanian Gallery show photographs that are not of Lithuania?
Of course. The Art Gallery "Galerija", dedicated to presenting fine talents of Lithuanians anywhere in the world, presented a handsome exhibit of photographs by Algimantas Kezys early this year. None of the photo subjects are Lithuanian. None of the photos have an ethnic mood. The feeling which continues through all of Algimantas Kezys' photos is the universal theme of concern and caring.
Concern for basic design elements is demonstrated by his control of composition, light and shadow, tonal values, clarity and focus, etc. Caring is evident in each photo where this sensitive photographer-artist's eye seeks to present a thought in a picture that may best be described as love. Photographing a swan under a bridge is not new. But Kezys' photographs of the same subject not only provide an indelible image with correct amounts of photo ingredients, but beyond this a sensitivity for both the subject and the viewer. His photographs are not highstyle slick and sterile compositions that leave a reader cold. Instead Kezys makes you pause and ponder qualities of the subject and live not far away from the mood incurred when the bell is tolled for the Angelus. His pictures provoke concern and caring for portions of humanity shown rather than details, such as specific names or places.
Reflections of a youth picking a pebble from a pool is just one of the many photo compositions where his observant eye captured an incident probably not to be seen again. Another such incident is a mist covered lake that becomes a spiritual cloud bank and surrealist background for distant board and a Franciscan monk on the foreground shore. Other situations have found brilliant promise with his eye seeing DuBuffet-like abstract forms in simple situations such as a flooded basement.
Other photos in this memorable exhibit repeat a theme of water reflections of trees, leaves, birds and nature's forms. Concern for design and awareness of such subject matter makes his photo of a rusted barrel dramatic with contemporary pattern.
Most of the photographs do not contain a human image, but those without a person still impart some of the consistent concern and caring for subject. A small girl stretching her hands against a ship's wheel makes one think of her fate and future rather than a specific journey. This caring viewpoint brings each photograph a quiet moment for the viewer to stop, look and move on refreshed. Only one or two photos seem obvious, for example, a metal cut out smiling face of a chair back. Perhaps we should use these few photos with faults, to appraise and applaud even more the ever seeking eye of Kezys who uses his talent to help us see more.
"Galerija", the Lithuanian gallery in Chicago (744 North Wells Street) continues to present exhibitions of the highest quality by artists and photographers of Lithuanian descent.
Donald J. Anderson,
Artist, Teacher, Art Critic
Niagara Falls, Canada 1972
Buena Park, CA 1974
San Antonio, TX 1968
N.Y. World's Fair, 1964
Paris, France 1962
Williamsburg, Virginia 1971
Los Angeles, CA 1978
N.Y. World's Fair, 1964
Ghent, Belgium 1962
Niagara Falls, Canada 1968
Santa Monica, CA 1966
Buena Park, CA 1977.