It is due to a happy accident that Robin Longerbeam and James Smith are showing together at the Bandon Library Art Gallery for the next two months, allowing me to put together both photographs taken below the literal tide, and paintings of imagined seas and the shadowy life that dwells therein. Together, they give a rich experience of the undersea world.
Jim Smith dives all over the world, and the photographs on display here are just a sample of what he brings back. Taken in the Sudan, Mexico, the Phillipines, and Honduras, his beautifully framed shots emphasize the unique characteristics of the eccentric creatures below, as well as the details of their various environments. It was the undersea world itself which inspired Jim to purchase a camera in order to document what he saw, and then to share it with the rest of us. It's a rare treat to be able to see such work here in Bandon.
The paintings of Robin Longerbeam are studies in detail and texture. Using a variety of acrylic media, she builds texture and depth using both transparent and translucent layers—almost creating a collage effect—until she makes a nearly 3-dimensional underwater space filled with ferny plant life and swimming creatures. Using deep blues combined with contrasting hot colors, then finishing each canvas with a series of glazes, Robin draws you into this mysterious world and holds you there as you explore the many surprises in each image. You will want to take your time.
In the cases, Wilma Levtzow displays her collection of vintage dolls.