With wondrous views of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers from her bright studio in Riverdale, abstract painter and environmentalist Rebecca Allan fuses her acrylic paintings with vivid colors that coalesce fluidly. But when it came time for her to document her painting process with the help of Robert Fass, a Riverdale photographer, she wasn’t sure how the inspiration behind her work would translate through his lens.
Her solution: “I chose to wear a brightly colored jacket because I wanted my color to convey the vibrancy that I feel when working in my studio.”
Mr. Fass had concerns of his own.
“The challenges were creating a safe and non-intrusive environment,” he said. “The creative process is very private. It’s internal in a lot of ways, so you can’t just show up and start shooting without paying attention and getting a sense of that individual’s space.”
Both Ms. Allan, 51, and Mr. Fass, 56, are participating in the Bronx Artist Documentary Project, a borough-wide collaboration that brings together 80 Bronx-based visual artists and 30 photographers, who are tasked with documenting local artists as they work in their studios. In celebration of the Bronx centennial, photographs from the project will be presented in a show opening on Saturday at the Andrew Freedman Home.
“The larger concept is that the visual artists are the least visible of all the people in the artistic community because it’s not a performance art,” said co-curator Daniel Hauben, a prolific painter who works in Riverdale. “You see the finished project, but you’re not aware of the work that goes into it.”
There are over a dozen artists and photographers from Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Van Cortlandt Village who are participating in the project. The Bronx Artists Collective received over 120 applications while organizing the undertaking, making the most comprehensive database of Bronx artists ever, according to Mr. Hauben.