Unreleased photos donated to GV

GVL/ Rane Martin
5th year senior Adam Moyer admires the late Robert Koropps artwork  currently on display on the Red Wall Gallery in Lake Ontario Hall.

GVL Archives

GVL/ Rane Martin 5th year senior Adam Moyer admires the late Robert Koropp’s artwork currently on display on the Red Wall Gallery in Lake Ontario Hall.

Chris LaFoy

A new exhibition in Grand Valley State University’s Red Wall Gallery shows onlookers that in the age of smartphones and Facebook, film and an imagination can still create art.

A selection of prints from late photographer Robert Koropp, gifted from his daughter Daryl Fischer, are now on display in Lake Onterio Hall on GVSU’s Allendale Camus. Fischer donated all 94 of the previously unreleased prints to GVSU.

The selection on display range from a stark image of a white egg on a white serving dish to a photo of Denver’s skyline that was shot with experimental uses of lenses and development techniques.

The effects Koropp used on his prints are even more impressive considering he took some of the photos more than 30 years ago, long before digital editing, said Henry Matthews, director of Galleries and Collections for GVSU Art Gallery.

“This collection shows the diversity and spirit of Koropp’s work,” Matthews said.

Koropp’s work was often experimental, a trait from his scientific background. He began his career in science, but he later discovered a passion for photos and earned a Master of Fine Arts in photography from the Art Center School in Los Angeles.

As principal of Musynergy, an exhibition consulting firm in Grand Haven, Fischer has seen and planned numerous art exhibitions and showings. She said she picked GVSU as the sole academic recipient of her father’s recently discovered works because of its prominent art displays.

“Grand Valley seemed like the perfect place for the work with the galleries and other art around campus,” she said. “My dad would love the idea of students and faculty living with his artwork.”

The prints GVSU received were a portion of work that Fischer recently recovered. Koropp left his equipment and remaining prints to a colleague from Denver after his death in 2008, but the colleague contacted Fischer and informed her that he no longer could use Koropp’s materials.

During her family’s annual Colorado vacation, Fischer and her husband emptied an entire storage unit filled with her father’s work. After the family returned to Michigan, the boxes and envelopes were opened.

“When we opened up the trailer, we discovered everything that was in there,” Fischer said. “We found many envelops of signed and numbered prints that had never been matted or framed.”

Upon this discovery, Fischer decided to donate many prints to GVSU for display. Matthews met with Fischer and picked a selection for the university.

“We look for things we think will be of interest to students and faculty,” said Henry Matthews, director of Galleries and Collections.

Instead of picking photos with a specific theme in mind, the GVSU representatives chose prints to display the broad array of Koropp’s subjects.

This free showing of Koropp’s work will be open to the public until Oct. 14. A reception with special guest Phyllis Koropp, Robert’s widow, will be held next Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

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