Fukurou’s first exhibit features Ramona du Houx’s mystical watercolor like art photographs
by Kitty Greene
Fukurou — Gallery/Books, galleryfukurou.com, will represent Maine artists, as well as foster cross-cultural connections with Japanese artists and others. We will host exhibits, booksignings, have lectures, workshops and other events.
Fukurou means owl, prosperity and health in Japanese. The owl in Ancient Greece often is associated with Athena, the arts and wisdom.
Fukurou is the gallery showroom for the Solon Center for Research and Publishing. The Solon Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Maine Public Benefit Corporation that helps build community in Maine and beyond through educational, literary, scientific and artistic means, with publications, research, exhibits, and other events and initiatives. The Solon Center for Research & Publishing works to help the humanities flourish.
Democracy flourishes when creativity is allowed freedom of expression.
Our Solon Center books have themes of long-term intrinsic value and are published through our imprint, Polar Bear & Company. Over seventy titles have already been published and are available at Fukurou, as well as in bookstores and Amazon.
Solon Center is also a platform where people from diverse disciplines can examine issues of cultural and environmental importance, while developing connections.
The current exhibit at the Solon Center's Fukurou features Ramona du Houx who creates fine art photography that looks like watercolor paintings, evoking a sense of wonder. Many have found they relieve stress, as they are relaxing, thought proving and mystical. Her new work will include images created with her technique she first discovered in 1979.
“I try to bring the beauty, magic and mystery of nature to viewers by amplifying nature’s essence. I translate what I feel when I’m outside, merged within nature’s embrace, through my art work, thereby bringing the energy and peace of the natural world into the lives of folks who view my images.”
She uses the camera with a painter’s eye. Her technique uses movement to create a sense of wonder through colors, textures, memories, energy and the seasons. Everything within the viewfinder becomes visibly interconnected when objects merge with the motion of the camera as the image, the “lightgraph,” is taken.
“Many Native American’s believed that everything is interconnected. I try and depict the energy and emotion that makes those connections tangible. But the technique can be challenging, as I never know exactly what the results will be,” said Ramona.
“Scientists, innovators, and inventors throughout history took the time to observe the connective rhythms in nature. Ben Franklin’s electrical experiment depended upon his observation of those connections. Aerodynamic technologies that make cars, planes and athletes faster have relied upon recording those rhymes. But the innovators of tomorrow may be in jeopardy for now society plugs us into the Internet, and while that can open doors, sometimes too much of being Internet-connected disconnects us from the mysteries of the natural world — that can be transformational.”
By the time Ramona was 12 she couldn’t be seen without a camera. By 18 she was teaching photography and industrial design at Collegio San Antonio Abad in Puerto Rico.
During college she worked with three New York City photographers. In 1979 she landed jobs to take political photographs of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and President Jimmy Carter. The same year she discovered her “lightgraph” technique and held her first exhibit in Huntington, Long Island. Excited by the new way of expressing herself she took her “lightgraph” images to the Museum of Modern Art, where they were put on file.
The Zen nature of her work became obvious to Ramona so she continued her studies in art, and philosophy in Kyoto, Japan while teaching. Her travels in the East led to numerous exhibits in Japan and lifelong connections.
In England and Ireland, she explored the mythology of the region, while raising three children, ghost writing a novel, and forever taking photographs. After returning stateside to Maine, she started Polar Bear & Company, with her husband and was hired as a consultant by a local artist. During this time she also explored more about the mysteries of motion in her lightgraph technique, worked for newspapers and wrote a children’s novel. By 1998 she was given access to a color darkroom at the Lewiston Creative Photographic Art Center to print a backlog of work in exchange for advising the Center’s photography students.
In 2005 Ramona started a newsmagazine, Maine Insights, which continues to this day. She worked as a photographer for the 2008 DNC convention in Denver, Colorado, and photographed President Barack Obama’s second Inauguration in 2012.
In 2013 she became the President of the Solon Center and recently organized the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands, a group comprised of veterans who are also lawmakers, to send a letter to Sec. Zinke requesting he support the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF supports millions of dollars of projects, in every county in Maine and in every state, for the upkeep of our parks. As the organizer/photographer she traveled with the EOPA delegation to Washington, D.C. where they made their case to seven U.S. Senators.
The Solon Center is the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Land’s fiscal sponsor.
“I see my political work as an extension of my art work. I’m passionate about protecting our public lands, without them we loose sight of who we are as a people,” said Ramona.
Yohaku Yorozuya will be Fukurou’s next exhibit. Yorozuya, also known as Takafumi Suzuki, is an artist with Fukurou. Professor Suzuki, has had multiple exhibits over his forty-two year career as a photographic artist. He is renowned for his use of classic black and white darkroom techniques spending days perfecting his images.