Photorealistic Renderings Downtown



Akron artist Brian Babb’s exhibit, “Rendered: Portraits and Processes”, opened Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2014, and will stay open through Feb. 22, 2014. The opening reception will be held Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Patrick Williams

Five portraits, measured 4 feet by 6 feet, hang in the Kent State School of Art’s Downtown Gallery. Akron artist, Brian Babb painted three of them in black and white. The fourth contains 96 colored photos that he took and pieced together.

Opposite the black and white panels hang three smaller colored photos, again divided up into sections.

“They’re all [of] people that are close to me personally — or places,” Babb said. “There’ll be a few places that are northeast Ohio, places either in my neighborhood or in the general vicinity.”

One is of Portage Path Elementary School in Akron. Another is of the West Side Market in Cleveland.

Babb’s exhibit, “Rendered: Portraits and Processes,” opened Tuesday and will run through Feb. 22. The Gallery will host a reception Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Babb said the exhibit explains, in part, his process for creating photorealistic art, which involves taking photographs and then painting or drawing the subject matter.

The most recent piece Babb created is the 96-section grid portrait. The piece is reminiscent of a grid technique that Babb said he used a lot in his earlier work. It helps translate shapes, lines and values from photographs onto the paintings or drawing.

The gallery also has a time-lapse video of Babb’s process. It shows his self portrait, which is on display, being completed section by section.

“You don’t always get to see how things are made and the process behind it, so I appreciate that,” galley coordinator Lesley Sickle said.

Originally from Hinckley, Ohio, Babb graduated from Hiram College in 2001 with a bachelor’s in fine art and a minor in photography. He currently works in Akron as a director of operations at a pro print lab.

Summit Artspace in Akron and All Go Signs in Cleveland have displayed previous works by Babb. The latter showed a series of his paintings that depicted soldiers and other people, whom he painted in blue.

“There are wars going on away from where we all are and our day-to-day lives aren’t really affected by it,” Babb said of his inspiration for those works. “I took newspaper photos, and they would become the basis for the paintings I did. All the paintings I did were in blue and red and white and black.”

Babb said “Rendered: Portraits and Processes” does not include those pieces or any that have to do with a deep or political meaning. They are all photos that he has taken or photorealism pieces based on photos that he has taken, and the subject matter is personal.

“I love the scale,” Sickle said, looking up at the portraits Babb rendered of himself and his friends.

The gallery is located at 141 E Main St. Hours are posted on the gallery website.

Contact Patrick Williams at [email protected]