New photography exhibit opens at KickstART Gallery in downtown Farmington

What’s happening: The latest exhibition on display at KickstART Gallery & Shop in downtown Farmington opened this past Wednesday, April 13, a collection of figurative and portrait photography from the artist RJ Jones. The exhibition, titled “Liberating & Uplifting Self-Expression: Photos by RJ Jones,” runs through Saturday, May 28. A reception with the photographer is scheduled for Thursday, April 21, from 5 to 8 p.m.

About the artist: RJ Jones says he fully embraced his self-described obsession with photography in 2018, according to his artist’s statement, and that the art of photography — not just the final product but the act itself — is therapeutic and self-authenticating for himself. His exhibition’s title then not only reflects the liberation and uplifting of his subject’s self-expression, but his own, too.

He writes, “Naturally, whenever I collaborate with human subjects, my purpose isn’t just to make noteworthy images but to make a noteworthy impression on the people themselves. Indeed, my clear and central objective is to always so value and love on my human subjects as to encourage and inspire them to also express themselves in ways that are refreshingly liberating and uplifting to them, if not me or anyone else.”

What they’re saying: “Technically RJ Jones is a great photographer. But it is his passion, willingness, and ability to seek and discover beyond what his subjects initially are able to offer as ‘self’ … He speaks to, and captures the emotions that many of us refrain from revealing,”  says Ted Hadfield, gallery curator for KickstART. “There is a beautiful duplicity in his photos that are at once of a comfortable resolve, or of a gentle confrontation with ‘self’ that is shared with the observer. In this way RJ Jones has become the essence of a true and successful artist.”

Keep yer eyes and ears open: A new exhibition isn’t all that’s happening at the gallery this month. Vinyl Fridays, a collaboration between KickstART Gallery & Shop and Dearborn Music - Farmington, launched last month and returns on Friday, April 29, featuring drinks and music amongst the art on the walls.

KickstART Gallery & Shop is located at 33304 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.