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‘Tar Drops’ shines light on artist’s photography work

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Robert Stokowy has always been drawn to art.

As a child growing up in Cologne, Germany, there was no TV in the home, so he listened to live theater on the radio and cassette tapes.

It was within those mediums that he discovered a beauty in sounds and over the years, it has been the inspiration behind his work.

Stokowy was educated at the Berlin University of the Arts and is now based in Albuquerque part time.

His work entails experimental compositions, text-based interventions, audiovisual performances, prints, paintings, photography and installations.

He says all projects are framed by an overarching artistic research process, focussing on topics of sonic (in)stability, sensory balance, as well as qualitative characteristics and potentiality of sound & place.

His radical site-specific “Sound Installations” are based on conceptual scores and consist of small sounds which hold very haptic and organic qualities.

Stokowy’s latest project is a photography book called “Tar Drops.” He will be releasing it from 6-8 tonight at Tortuga Gallery.

The project came about in 2017 when Stokowy was visiting Mdina, Malta.

“The project came very quickly,” he says. “I was on the roof of the cathedral and I noticed these tar drops that fix cracks in the roof. They are beautiful and the more I photographed them, the more I thought about the Chinese and Japanese paintings from the 14th century.”

The minimal element drew Stokowy in and he compiled the book in about a week.

“It’s almost like a sound,” he says of the photographs. “It swirls and moves and has a thick, opaque area that you can turn into sound. I get inspired by the forms and the structures. It’s a new direction that I’m going into.”

Stokowy is planning two more projects within the next year in Albuquerque. He opened Studio Heomugeoto, which is an artist group based in Berlin.

The studio allows sound & visual artists to create installations, compositions and performances.

“It’s always been about sound for me,” he says. “I go into each project knowing what I want out of it. I let everything come to me and let it work itself out.”