Quester of Light by Joe Ziolkowski (2023)

Photo above: 20221122-A Elapsed Time Is Hard To Measure During A Time Of An Unprecedented Global Pandemic, Makanda, IL. © Joe Ziolkowski

Quester of Light by Joe Ziolkowski

Opening reception on Friday, August 18 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

The Center for Exploratory & Perceptual Arts (CEPA Gallery) will be hosting Quester of Light, an exhibition by Joe Ziolkowski, from August 18th-September 22nd. There will be an opening reception on August 18th from 5-8 pm. The show is taking place in the historic Market Arcade Building located at 617 Main St in Buffalo, NY. Joe Ziolkowski was the selected winner from the CEPA Gallery Members’ Exhibition (2022). As part of the exhibition, the artist will be installing a walk-in camera obscura in CEPA’s Flux Gallery.

Quester of Light:Behold the accumulation of a single soul; a life lived in intensity and torrent. A dense mountainous cloud shaped from desire and obsession, piling up, engulfing its originator, and sprawling out across the horizon; the overwhelming drive to create, lest one disappear. It is to awaken in the dead of night in a cold sweat, with an abstract yearning. A pull to compulsively document, preserve, protect, and project out into the nebulous future. To shout from the rooftop: my life happened. The people I loved, the things I have suffered, the wonders I have seen, hold significance; they existed. Not merely a blink in eternity, a singular flake in a gust of snow, or tears awash in the rain. Somewhere beyond the intellectual, there is a primal impulsive squall, dictated and directed by desire, to compile. Defying logic, we record light in past moments that no longer exist nor will again.

A self-portrait is an unparalleled act of vulnerability. It is an act of sifting through the pain of existence but at the same time reaching out a hand for human connection. Self-portraiture is a conscious exercise in existentialism; it can be likened to a literary work penned in the first-person. Through the act of self-portraiture, one casts oneself as both protagonist and antagonist in a crafted visual diary.

“A being must carry the shadow to embrace the light and blend these vital breaths to make harmony.”

-Tao Te Ching

Why create and place self-portraits side-by-side, year-by-year? The repetition, the curation, and the exhibition join together as a powerful statement, a litany of existence. These portraits allow one to affirm and internalize their own reality. This intimate visual record confirms “I exist.” As stated by Nan Goldin, “I photograph myself in times of trouble or change in order to find the ground to stand on in the change.” It is a means of centering the mind, whilst engaging the inner dialogue.

The concept of “control” is essential to self-portraiture. We choose what to draw into the light, and which aspects of ourselves to keep in shadow. We seize control of the space and the decisive moment of capture. No other soul can anticipate your thoughts as you can, and this primacy leaves no chance of misunderstanding, or conflicting vision.

The photographer becomes a representational figure within their own images, utilizing personal signifiers within the realms of gender, culture, race, and a myriad of other formative categories, to propel and direct intellectual discourse. We present that which we want others to embrace or confront. While on this quest, we seek enlightenment and truth. Consciously, we document and shape our inner and outer selves, meditating on purpose, community, and our limited time on Earth.

Download the full press release here.

Exhibit Location

CEPA Gallery
Flux Gallery
617 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Exhibit Dates

Friday, August 18, 2023
Friday, September 22, 2023

Free to the public

Exhibit Times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
By appointment
4:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.