Armando “OUTthere” Diaz: “Everybody’s Got A Little Light Under The Sun”
Clerestory Fine Art presents documentary photography by Montclair, NJ native Armando “OUTthere” Diaz. Focusing on Montclair and Newark, NJ, Diaz has amassed a tremendous photographic archive numbering close to 50,000 images, out of which just 30 stellar photographs have been culled for limited printing and exhibition. Diaz’s work highlights icons of the local music community, portraits, and street photography. He sources inspiration from all walks of life, capturing graffiti artists, musicians, dj’s comedians, dancers, painters, and members of our community in full creative flow.
With a background in music production and editing, Diaz has also amassed a large volume of video work which will be projected in the gallery, in addition to a flat screen monitor with images available for review and printing upon request.
As a long-time resident of Montclair, Diaz’s work bears witness to the changing landscape of northern New Jersey, whose rapid development threatens to disrupt existing communities. In this, Diaz carries on the tradition of Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, but he transcends traditional documentary photography as an active participant in the very same communities he captures. His first-hand experience of the consequences of demographic and political shifts, and his dynamic, participatory style, combine to infuse his work with the energy and vitality of local communities and their people.
About the Artist
Armando “OUTthere” Diaz is a Montclair, NJ native who has worked in both personal and collaborative music production and technical media for over 20 years. His documentary photography focuses on the human experience in northern New Jersey. He regularly takes commissions for organizations interested in his candid, un-posed perspective, including three years documenting culture for the Montclair Center Business Improvement District. Diaz has been very involved in local schools and community, raising 5 children through the Montclair School System and actively volunteering for S.O.F.I.A., an organization which provides services for "at risk" women and children in situations of domestic abuse.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.
Mary Young: Arias Chromatic
Oil painter Mary H. Young is known for huge, surreal canvases that explore the psychodrama of being a woman in 2019. Her distinct feminism, color washes, mark making, and symbolism poise her to become a leading figural painter in the rising generation of 21st century artists, and we are honored to launch this deep exploration into her craft.
MARY H. YOUNG was born in Bloomfield, New Jersey in 1989, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her work is heavily influenced by cinema, literature, and contemporary conflicts. Creating narratives of self-exploration, Young places her exposed figures in stage-like settings, allowing the viewer to enter into a world of surreal familiarity. With thick, honest brushstrokes, viewers are quickly seduced into exploring plains of color, line and raw markings. She currently works out of her studio in East Orange, NJ.
Photos by Armando Diaz
BRIAN STYMEST’S WORK was the initial inspiration in the founding of Clerestory Fine Art. I went to visit Stymest in his home studio in Montclair, NJ in the summer of 2018 with the objective of buying a painting of his I had seen on display in a local salon. I fell in love with this painting, Bathers, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. When walking into his home studio in Montclair, NJ, I was left speechless by the volume of paintings throughout his home, stacked in huge piles in his first floor studio and basement. As an art historian and host of The Montclair Figure Drawing Group, I am fascinated by the portrayal of the human form – the most ancient aesthetic subject. The body presents unique angles, curves, three-dimensional form, foreshortening, textures, and the ultimate “intimidating” subject for an artist to recreate, as our human eye is so trained to acknowledge what a body “should” look like.
The boldness of What the Butler Saw enchanted me immediately. At that time, I was co-Director for an incubator for emerging artists in a public space in Montclair. Our exhibitions were extremely well-received, and I enjoyed diving in and curating, but sensitivity to subject matter (no nudes, nothing political) and size challenges limited the scale of work we could highlight. These restrictions meant I could not present Brian’s art to the public in that context, and inspired me to start Clerestory Fine Art to ensure great artists like Brian would get the recognition they richly deserve.
Meeting Brian made me realized there is a unique opportunity in Montclair to connect creators and collectors. He is the first in our stable of artists with fiercely independent aesthetics, all of whom are worthy of scholarly attention and a place in serious collections.
Kathryn Waggener McGuire
CLERESTORY FINE ART