Builder Levy

Builder Levy

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

Artist’s Statement

I grew up in a household where art was encouraged, and it was understood that the world needed to be changed.  In the early 1960s I became an art student at Brooklyn College, studying painting with Ad Reinhardt and photography with Walter Rosenblum.  At that turbulent time, people around the world were struggling for freedom and independence, and throughout our nation people were marching in the streets for civil rights and peace.  At first I thought of myself as an abstract expressionist: DeKooning, Rauschenburg, Chamberlain. Their works, full of directed spontaneity, raw energy, sensuality, and gritty vitality, spoke to me of real life.  My own explorations in paint and steel, however, left me unsatisfied, because my work was not saying what I wanted to say.  Making photographs was different.  With photography I discovered I could frame and abstract aspects of often chaotic reality within the rectangle of my viewfinder, working with line, form, texture, and tones of chiaroscuro to create something new and complete,  and yet express what I saw, felt, and thought about what was happening in the world around me.  The camera allowed me to capture and particularize the emotional and ideological experience of those intense times.  In the history of photography there is a long continuum of practitioners doing that kind of work.  I wanted to be a part of that continuum.

Scroll to Top