Tommy Nease showcases his work in the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery
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The Sarah Spurgeon Gallery is hosting a photography exhibit titled “Spectrum” from April 6 through 30. The exhibit features photos from Tommy Nease, a 24-year-old who works for the forest service in Roslyn, Washington. Nease is being featured in the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery because of an award he won back in 2015.
Nease received the first place award at the INTERSTATE exhibition, a national juried exhibition organized by the CWU Department of Art. Michael Rooks, curator of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, selected Nease for the award. Nease said he took an interest in photography 10 years ago when he took an art class at Winthrop University during the summer of his seventh grade year in North Carolina. The class included painting, drawing and film photography, as well as working in the dark room. From that class, he realized photography was his passion.
The art exhibit features photos from when he moved to Washington in 2014 until now. The photos are all shot with film and printed as silver gelatin photographs.
His photos range from landscapes to photos capturing the collective unconscious, while keeping a consistently dark theme that gets a lot of mixed reactions, according to Nease. Nease explained that when he first started exhibiting, his background was spooky in a comical way. But now he has started to transition into more landscape photos while trying to maintain the spooky theme.
Nease has also done a lot of traveling in North and South America and Europe, and many of his photos feature places he has visited. One of Nease’s favorite shots is one he took in Southern Patagonia. It was cool to be there, he said, and he likes the techniques he used in the darkroom to create effects on the photo after the original negative was taken.
Many photos also feature a woman who Nease credits as his muse.
Lauren Segarra, 25, is Nease’s collaborative partner and girlfriend, works as a botanist for forest services in Roslyn, Washington. But the couple’s true passion is the art they create together because they can build off eachother’s excitement and create abstract photographs. Segarra is also a painter, so they both enjoy creating art.
One photo, titled “Fetal,” features Segarra laying in the fetal position with a dark background, and a candle-lit circle around her body to expose her. The photo was taken in a cabin on Lopez Island. Segarra explained that the cabin was off the grid with no service and no running water.
“At night you just have to turn on lanterns and candles and we had all these little tea lights,” Segarra said. “The cabin has a loft and Tommy got way up on the loft and looked down and I was on the floor with a sheet and I was surrounded by candles.”
The couple described the cabin as a creative get-away for them, because they are cut off from technology and away from distractions. The couple goes out there with the mindset to make things and create.
“I feel like we work really well together when I get excited about creating art and Tommy does, too,” Segarra said.