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CRITICAL COMMENTS

 

Whenever Donald Lokuta’s photographs show up, and in whatever part of the state, they should be seen.

Fred Ferretti, The New York Times

 

Donald Lokuta’s photographs elucidate a central energy in George Segal’s art: the intersection of the ordinary with the extraordinary. That energy is the opposite of rhetorical. The forces displayed here in black and white generate their force from the mysterious inner nature of the material, visible figures and their surroundings.

Robert Pinsky,  George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta (exhibition catalog)

 

In Brighton Beach, 1990 we see Segal on the street, sharing the picture’s space with two men in hats. The men, conversing, pay no attention to the artist, apart and foregrounded, like the passing figures who appear by accident in family snapshots. What’s remarkable is that in Lokuta’s vision we see all three figures, in their humdrum urban setting—the retail businesses behind them, the elevated train station above—as part of that same, ordinary and extraordinary George Segal realm. That the three men are not made of plaster becomes something like an incidental fact, thanks to Lokuta’s guiding vision into that realm, for which I am grateful.

Robert Pinsky,  George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta (exhibition catalog)

 

This compact catalogue (George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta) is one of the best photography books of the year, with excellent essays by Donna Gustafson, Suzanne Delehanty, Marti Mayo, and especially the poet Robert Pinsky, who along with Segal is among Rutgers University’s most distinguished alumni.

Matt Damsker, E-Photo Newsletter, I Photo CentraI

 

These photographs provide deep and true insights into Segal’s life and work, but they also embody a long-term collaborative project that knitted friendship and photography together. Like Segal’s own relationship to his sculpture, these photographs are haunted by the possible and the momentary.

Donna Gustafson, Curator, The Zimmerli Art Museum, George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta (exhibition catalog)

 

I have seen Segal studying Lokuta’s photographs with appreciation, and in my mind’s eye, I see him smile with admiration on hearing Pinsky read his poems out loud.

Suzanne Delehanty, Former Director, The Zimmerli Art Museum, George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta (exhibition catalog)

 

Many may think, for example, of David Douglas Duncan’s photographs of Picasso at work and leisure during his later life in the South of France, who is best known as a photojournalist and war photographer, befriended Picasso and was allowed intimate access to him at work and at home, eventually publishing seven books of photographs of the artist. But Duncan was a journalist and Donald Lokuta is an artist.

Marti Mayo, Director (Interim), The Zimmerli Art Museum, George Segal in Black and White: Photographs by Donald Lokuta (exhibition catalog)

 

Lokuta’s hand-colored video photographs take this theme further into the realm of humanistic speculation. What is the place of people in an increasingly technologized world? His images probe an inner psychological reality, again eroding the barriers of traditional art,…

Paul Master-Karnak, Connections: Science Into Art (exhibition catalog)

 

His form of expression, like a diary, may run the risk of self-indulgence, but his pictures are as intuitive as they are introspective. He seems to be able to come very close to his feelings without denying his subjects’ expression, approaching his work with a shameless regard for tenderness and dignity… Lokuta uses photography as the mirror of the artist’s soul.

Kathryn Livingston, American Photographer

 

Donald’s photographs are comments about life- his life. The patterns are dynamic and alive- compelling to view- always in perfect balance… These deeply personal statements explore moods, relationships, and situations in life. They speak common human feelings and prod the mind in a very personal way. His images of women are warm, sensitive, bold and often sensual. Perhaps as one critic stated, they often have a feeling of erotic tenderness.

Slavko Timotijević, Srećna Galerija, Belgrade (exhibition catalog)

 

Lokuta’s artistry engages his viewers by involving them in a variety of photographic discourses. Because of the scale, these works must be approached singly resulting in an intimacy between the artist’s photograph and the freshness of new eyes upon the trace. It is the goal of Lokuta’s images to achieve that combination of awareness and intimacy… The result is a surreality of disquieting moments.

Robert Yoskowitz, New Jersey State Museum (essay)

 

When looking at Donald Lokuta’s work and talking to him you get a very strong feeling that subject matter is not the all-important concern in his photographs… His emotional state at the time he is shooting affects the final image. In fact, this may well be the reason why he takes photographs, to sort things out and to understand himself in relation to the world.

Henry Doren, P. S. Arts

 

For Lokuta, the message, the feeling, the why of the photograph, rather than the subject matter alone, is the key to understanding the image as a whole. His keen sense of the relationship of patterns, shapes, and forms to one another, creates a heightened sense of design, order, and balance within the frame of the composition. His use of lighting and tonality enhance the design element, graphically leading the viewer to precise emotional points within the image.

Robert Goldman, The Star Ledger, N.J.

 

In each of Lokuta’s works, the viewer is confronted by a very strong and very personal vision. The works are not necessarily flattering; they attempt only to transmit the artist’s emotional state at the moment the image was captured.

And while ‘emotional content’ is often used to justify technical inferiority, all of Lokuta’s works are marked by compositional soundness and technical excellence.

Jonas Livingston, The Star Ledger, N.J.

 

Lokuta’s nudes are intriguing. The best is a picture of two women’s torsos: One woman is lying on her back; the other is behind her, lying on her side, facing the camera. The two bodies, of nearly identical build, are gently lit. The curves of one comment on the other- same design, different view, but always lovely.

Tom Greenfield, The Record, N.J.

 

This is a rare ability; capturing one’s own personal sentiments in another person’s face of bodily form… One gets the impression that Lokuta is not analyzing the subject’s feelings but simply better understanding his own.

Mary Ann Shive, The Daily Journal, N.J.

 

…,the images that attract him generally have pronounced sculptural qualities, be they in the exposed roots of a tree or in the hemispherical tiers of an amphitheater that are rimmed with concrete and upholstered in turf. Concerned primarily with the materiality of things and people, he gets sharp, handsome results. …the most touching work is one that could well epitomize New Jersey. …it is basically a white chevron illuminated by a black mass… The blackness is the shadow under the slanting supports of a bridge; the chevron is made by sunlight pouring through the slit between them and hitting the ground where, amazingly a small tree grows.

Vivian Raynor, The New York Times

 

Shot with a video camera, projected on a television screen and shot again for the video-line effect, Lokuta’s images are the ultimate street photography. He skillfully captures fleeting glimpses of people caught in motion. Like random snippets of a television news report, reminiscent of the chaotic coverage of the World Trade Center disaster, Lokuta draws attention to everyday moments.

Mitchell Seidel, The Star Ledger, N.J.

 

Focused on the turbulent city shuffle, Lokuta does not leave anything unimportant or unnoticed. The result- powerful and striking syntax of photographic language, where high contrast underlines the beat of the city and rhythm of human motion.

Gradimir Aleksis, Front Room Gallery, Singapore

 

…Donald Lokuta creates his works with impeccable technical skills. A true artist, his main objective however, is always the end result- the visual impact of an image. The chosen medium enables him to express the inner struggle and emotions in his entirely personal and original way.

Victor Macarol, NON (Monthly Magazine), Belgrade

 

The images of alienation and desperation on the street are the dominant themes which course through Donald Lokuta’s recent photographs. What distinguishes this work from the merely illustrative to the vital are images of the breakdown in our societal aspirations, filtered through the electronic, neutral transmission of the video imagery onto the photographic plate. …, the video camera scans indiscriminately, but it is the artist who selects the moment in flux which will, for him, reiterate the elements of contemporary despair. This is raw material. It is dependent upon chance. The encounters Lokuta faces have been unrehearsed, but knowing in their subjects all the same. The resulting photographs have been removed from reality three-fold, first the video camera, then to the monitor, and finally to the print. The supposed truthfulness of the photograph has been dismissed—it is no longer the all-seeing surrogate eye, but rather a resemblance of it, a trace on the surface of transmitted reality.

Robert Yoskowitz (exhibition essay)

 

At the National Guard Armory in midtown Manhattan, Lokuta interviewed and photographed relatives filling out forms to help recover the missing. Downtown, by ground zero, he shot sad shrines created around photos of lost loved ones in happier times. Like Segal, he tried to express the inexpressible, to shape shadows.

Geoff Gehman, The Morning Call

 

Providing an insider’s look inside the studio of one of the country’s best-known artists, Lokuta’s intimate portraits of Segal are a remarkable record of an artist who made the ordinary extraordinary.

Dan R. Goddard, San Antonio Express-News

 

Mr. Lokuta draws us in with velvety gelatin silver images infused with humanity. It is ironic nonetheless that this photographic art, essentially the manipulation of light and transparency, should be made to speak so compellingly about ourselves and our world utilizing not only darkness, but figures whose faces are turned away from us. Mr. Lokuta should be thanked for realizing art’s ultimate goal to force us to reconsider the world we live in and our place in it anew.

John Potter, Etherra.blogspot.com

 

Lokuta captures a wide range of images of individuals by looking at the world around them and then intentionally obscuring the backgrounds with black acrylic paint- separating his subjects from their surroundings and severing the connection between photographic realism and perception. The resulting images are endowed with vagueness and obscurity, a blank slate upon which our own perceptions are reflected back to us.” “Both eerie and somehow tempting, Lokuta’s images imply that we truly can’t see the world around us without stepping out of our comfort zone and into new experiences.

Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler, Photographer’s FORUM

 

Donald Lokuta is a photographer who captures the essence of human behavior.

 George Tibet, The Arteur

 

All the while, Lokuta had a desire to convey Segal’s essence and heart, not only through his extraordinary works, but also through his personality and sense of play.

Susan Van Dongen, U.S.1, Princeton, NJ

 

Indeed, the photographs comprise a unique visual diary.

George Segal In Black and White, Fred B. Adelson, Courier-Post

 

This compact catalogue is one of the best photography books of the year,…

Book review of George Segal in, Black and White, Matt Damsker, i PhotoCentral, E-Photo Newsletter Book Reviews