Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mike Besslers' Fine arts exhibit at Oakbrook Center over Labor Day weekend

By Ann Piccininni | Daily Herald Correspondent

A field of brilliant red and yellow tulips dazzles visitors' eyes as they trek across the concourse at Oakbrook Center this weekend.

The image, captured on film by Bolingbrook photographer Mike Bessler, is as striking as the beds of living flowers, fountains and gardens liberally sprinkled throughout the outdoor mall.

"That's 14 exposures that I stitched together," said Bessler. "That's why I can have it all in focus."

Bessler, exhibiting at the 46th Annual Invitational Fine Art Exhibition, a show where he won Best of Show honors in 2005, said he prints many of his digital photos directly onto canvas.

"I have a printer the size of a queen-sized bed," he said.

Several of his works feature fine, detailed close-ups that invite the viewer to see the subject in novel ways. There's an eagle's face, a pink flower, a pond's shoreline turned upside-down, the image suspended inside a raindrop clinging to a dogwood branch.

The vertical motion of a waterfall is juxtaposed with the craggy lines of a cliff and the horizontal sweep of water current below in a photo taken at Starved Rock State Park.

Sometimes, Bessler said, he embellishes his photos.

"I paint on texture," he said, pointing to the purposely broad brush strokes layered onto a photograph.

An artist who also teaches his craft, Bessler said he exhibits at only one show each year.

"This is the only show I do. I like this show. It's local for me," he said.