Articles on this Page
- 07/29/19--09:22: _A Card Deck Stacked...
- 08/02/19--12:39: _Looking to the Futu...
- 08/14/19--09:24: _Stephen Shore as Cu...
- 08/15/19--09:54: _South Koreans on Ho...
- 08/16/19--10:00: _Call and Response w...
- 09/09/19--09:00: _A Lyrical Ode to Am...
- 09/11/19--09:00: _An Anthem to the Earth
- 09/13/19--09:00: _Coffee, with a Spoo...
- 09/17/19--09:00: _The Elemental Power...
- 09/19/19--09:00: _Fine-tuning Your Ph...
- 09/26/19--09:00: _A Crucial Dose Of I...
- 09/27/19--09:00: _Sport As Muse
- 10/24/19--11:26: _Three’s Not a Crowd...
- 10/25/19--10:47: _Little Ships in the...
- 12/02/19--09:01: _Duane Michals’ Illu...
- 12/04/19--10:32: _Collage as a Radica...
- 12/10/19--09:00: _A Photographic Clim...
- 01/06/20--09:00: _Intimate (and Color...
- 01/10/20--09:00: _Ghostly Photographs...
- 01/15/20--09:00: _Between Photography...
- 07/29/19--09:22: A Card Deck Stacked in Favor of Queerness
- 08/02/19--12:39: Looking to the Future Inside Africa’s Portrait Studios
- 08/14/19--09:24: Stephen Shore as Curator
- 08/15/19--09:54: South Koreans on Holiday
- 08/16/19--10:00: Call and Response with a 19th Century Archive
- 09/09/19--09:00: A Lyrical Ode to America’s Heartland
- 09/11/19--09:00: An Anthem to the Earth
- 09/13/19--09:00: Coffee, with a Spoonful of Nostalgia
- 09/17/19--09:00: The Elemental Power of Water
- 09/19/19--09:00: Fine-tuning Your Photography at the Filter Photo Festival
- 09/26/19--09:00: A Crucial Dose Of Inspiration
- 09/27/19--09:00: Sport As Muse
- 10/24/19--11:26: Three’s Not a Crowd for Frank Ockenfels 3
- 10/25/19--10:47: Little Ships in the Night
- 12/02/19--09:01: Duane Michals’ Illusions and Delights
- 12/04/19--10:32: Collage as a Radical Act of Healing
- 12/10/19--09:00: A Photographic Climate Change Riddle
- 01/06/20--09:00: Intimate (and Colorful) X-Rays
- 01/10/20--09:00: Ghostly Photographs Trace Former Berlin Wall
- 01/15/20--09:00: Between Photography and Sculpture
Pur·suit by Naima Green is a deck of 54 playing cards featuring queer womxn, trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people. The project, which “helps complete an image of the world that we live in,” says Green on her successful Kickstarter page, is in the interest of of groups, such as those pictured on the cards, that continue to be marginalized and unseen.
The cards, she says, can be used for “games, as guides, for divination, or whatever else you dream up.”
The project was conceived when Green stumbled upon Catherine Opie’s Dyke Deck at the New York Public Library while doing research for her MFA thesis. Dyke Deck is a set of poker cards that playfully looks at 90s era lesbians in California. With Opie’s blessing, Green “embarked on reimagining the Dyke Deck into a 2018 East Coast experience,” she says.
A celebration of all queer communities, with Pur·suit Green also wanted to reflect her own queer community, comprised mostly of women of color, and how their “experiences are (or most often are not) represented.”
Green, who lives in Brooklyn, feels fortunate to see queer families and partnerships on a daily basis. She acknowledges her neighborhood is an oasis from less diverse, accepting communities and hopes the cards in Pur·suit can serve as a type of refuge for all who use them. The cards also aim to act as a testimony to the existence of queer people and all the experiences, complexities, playfulness and love they embody.
Eleven Books Spotlight Global LGBTQ+ Stories
Mariette Pathy Allen’s Lifelong Tribute to the Courage of the Trans Community
A Pride Campaign that Features Gay Talent Behind the Camera, Too
A group exhibition tracing the legacy of studio portraiture in Africa is on view at Yossi Milo Gallery through August 23. The featured works range from the mid-20th century to the present.
Portrait photography has long claimed a central role in Africa’s photographic history. By the early 1900s, European and African practitioners had established permanent studios in most West African capitals. By mid-century, the widespread cultural adoption of the medium had set the stage for the outpouring of artistic innovation that took place as many African countries gained independence in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
In African Spirits, images are on display by celebrated masters from West Africa’s “golden era” of studio photography (1950s-80s), including Samuel Fosso, Seydou Keïta, J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Malick Sidibé and Sanlé Sory. These photographers experimented with aesthetic vocabularies such props, painted backdrops and self-portraiture, to reflect the new ideas of identity emerging alongside independence.
Contemporary works in the exhibition address present-day audiences and concerns. For example, the importance of tying oneself to a global consumer culture can be observed in images by artist Hassan Hajjaj that demonstrate the international nature of popular culture, fashion and music. Queer-identified artists such as Kyle Meyer and Zanele Muholi “extend the revolutionary capacity of the photographer’s studio to assert the independence, relevance and power of subjects facing harassment and persecution” states the press release.
As a whole, African Spirits highlights the ways the energies of groundbreaking forebears are revived and reinterpreted by contemporary artists. Then, as now, young generations look to a brighter future, whether by capturing their vibrant youth culture or holding power accountable.
Yossi Milo Gallery
Through August 23, 2019
Last winter Howard Greenberg Gallery contacted Stephen Shore with an unusual request: Would he be interested in curating an exhibition for the gallery that included work by his photography students at Bard College? Shore answered with a resounding, “yes,” and the resulting collaboration pairs works by seven of Shore’s recent graduates with photographs by renowned artists from the gallery’s archives.
“Stephen Shore is a bridge connecting contemporary photography with the history of photography,” said Howard Greenberg of the celebrated artist who is both an important part of contemporary photography and photo history.
Works by the Bard graduates—Jasmine Clarke, Madison Emond, Briauna Falk, Vanessa Kotovich, Jackson Siegal, Naomi Zahler, and Ying Jing Zheng—are paired with photographs by Dave Heath, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Lisette Model, Frederick Sommer, Stephen Shore, Joseph Sudek, and Minor White from Howard Greenberg Gallery’s extensive holdings.
Bard X HGG
Curated by Stephen Shore
Howard Greenberg Gallery
Through August 29, 2019
Better Days, a solo exhibition featuring work by Korean artist Seunggu Kim, looks at Korean spectacles and the way the people of South Korea enjoy their leisure time. Through photography, Kim “describes how we have acclimated to the social ironies of our times,” states Filter Photo, where Kim’s work is on view through September 14.
South Korea has developed rapidly over the past four decades, leading to social incongruities, such as the constant interplay between natural and unnatural elements in urban areas. Another irony of this new development is long working hours with short periods of rest and recuperation. During vacations and holidays, city dwellers spend most of their time visiting tourist destinations in nearby urban areas. As a result, the leisure places around Seoul and the surrounding suburbs try to entertain their customers with increasing degrees of novelty. This novelty often results in a blend of western and Korean cultures, which Kim highlights in his work.
Kim will give an artist talk at the closing reception on September 6th.
The Curious Moaning of Kenfig Burrows (GOST Books, 2019) by Sophy Rickett is inspired by the life and work of Thereza Dillwyn Llewelyn. A little-known 19th century Welsh photographer and astronomer, Dillywn Llewelyn left behind a sprawling family archive that Rickett responds to with her own photographs and texts.
Rickett’s approach to the archive is thoroughly subjective. In the book, she attempts to establish links between Dillwyn Llewelyn’s remote world of Victorian privilege and use of photography, and her own experience of life, work and photography, in 21st Century Britain.
The project, which consists of 41 photographic works, combines images Rickett made at locations associated with Dillwyn Llewelyn’s life, studio based works, and other found images. In the text, historically accurate anecdote is combined with a strong sense of Dillwyn Llewelyn’s own voice.
“Rickett develops her interest in archival practices and how the heritage industry functions, by staging certain entry points through which the past is made visible,” states GOST in the press release. “Moving between photography and text, she explores the limits of these points, understanding the place where a trail goes cold – such as the denial of access, the withholding of permission – as being productive and generative in itself.”
The publication of this book coincides with the exhibition Cupid and The Curious Moaning of Kenfig Burrows, on display at the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea from September 27 – November 24, 2019.
Gregory Halpern has been photographing in Omaha, Nebraska for the past 15 years, steadily compiling a lyrical, if ambivalent response to the American Heartland and continuing the photographer’s investigations of locations and persons that fly under the radar.
New images from this body of work will go on display at Huxley-Parlour gallery for the first time to coincide with the launch of his monograph Omaha Sketchbook, published by MACK.
Halpern’s series explores notions of cognitive dissonance and unexpected harmonies, playing on a sense of simultaneous repulsion and attraction to the place. The series is ultimately a meditation on America, on the men and boys who inhabit it, and on the mechanics of aggression, inadequacy, and power.
Amanda Maddox of the J. Paul Getty Museum says this of the work: “Travelling to the nation’s heartland – a vague construct increasingly synonymous with the Bible belt – Halpern continues to mine this idea of Americanness in a place bounded by prairie and steeped in pioneer history. His work in the Midwestern city of Omaha reveals America as pluralised, fragmented, and teeming with its own ‘brand of hypermasculinity’, as he terms it: adolescents on the cusp of promise or obscurity, land that seemingly leads to nowhere, a sense of unending time and a dark side to domesticity.”
The exhibition coincides with the launch of the MACK publication, Omaha Sketchbook and follows on from his award-winning bestseller ZZYZX also published by MACK.
Halpern teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology and is a 2018 Magnum nominee.
— Samantha Reinders
Published by MACK
Anthem is the most recent installment of Doug Fogelson’s extensive Chemical Alterations series. In his work the photographer raises critical – and timely – questions about humankind’s relationship with the natural world by specifically combining the subject of nature, with the (de)construction of the photograph, to comment upon the human impact on the environment.
Fogelson’s methodology begins with photographing biologically diverse landscapes using analog film. Back in the studio, the artist subjects the processed film to a range of common industrial chemicals—draining away and altering colors in the film’s emulsion, and at times melting away the layers of dye coupler all the way to the film’s plastic base. Through this destruction salt crystals, bubbles, dust, markings and patterns come to the foreground, while the original representational portions of the photograph all but disappear.
Serene compositions become inky remnants that reflect both the complex beauty of our living planet and the environmental degradation caused by human industry.
Despite the eight photographs in the exhibition being beautifully rendered abstractions, lush and bright in colour, they remind the viewer that the debate and discussion regarding the health of the environment is an increasingly urgent topic—in terms of economy, culture, politics and survival.
Doug Fogelson’s (b. 1970) artworks have been shown in numerous exhibitions in the US, as well as internationally, including solo shows at the Goethe Institute in Chicago, SFO Museum and The Alpineum Produzentengalerie in Lucerne, Switzerland. His work is currently part of the official Bauhaus100 touring exhibition, Bauhaus and Photography–On New Visions in Contemporary Art. Notable collections holding his photographs include the MoCP, J. Paul Getty Museum, The Cleveland Clinic and Elmhurst Art Museum among others. The artist lives and works in Chicago.
— Samantha Reinders
Painterly Photographs of Finnish Woods, Inspired by Chinese Landscapes
Capturing the Shifting Colors of the Land and Mind
A Colorful Contemporary Twist on the Photogram
Chloe Sells’s Search for Flamingos
“The New Amsterdam Koffiehuis” is a photo series about Amsterdam’s last
traditional coffeehouses, of an era gone by. The photographs are hand printed with coffee from the actual coffeehouses where the photographs themselves were taken. You can smell the nostalgia and almost taste the past – not just Amsterdam’s ofcourse. This phenomenon is global. Your mom and pop coffee shop is being replaced by the branded, hip, skinny-macchiato-with-a-dollop-of-foam branded store.
Before these meeting places disappear from the streets of Amsterdam, photographer Gijs van den Berg believes it’s important to document them. Amsterdam used to feature many more small coffeehouses. Since the expansion of the city around 1900, Amsterdam coffeehouses have fulfilled a vital social function. Together, the owners and clientele create a warm, open atmosphere that is unique in the city. By photographing his subjects on a monumental scale, van den Berg captures an era as it passes, and creates a document for the future. He has photographed eleven coffeehouses: the authentic decor, the owners and their patrons.
The images are conventionally printed in the darkroom but instead of using regular developer Van den Berg uses a special recipe based on coffee from the actual coffeehouses. This homebrew developer (a mix of among other things: coffee, washing soda and Viatmin C, which he has dubbed cafenol) gives the photos a sepia-like tint. It also makes each print totally unique.
The work is making its way to New Amsterdam where a 20-foot container will be transformed into a temporary small Amsterdam coffeehouse during the Photoville NYC festival. Test strips at the back of the container showing the process even make the small space smell like coffee! Why “New Amsterdam” you ask? The title refers to the fact that Manhattan was once called New Amsterdam. In the 17th century it was a Dutch settlement that served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland. It was only in 1664 that the English took over New Amsterdam renaming it New York after the Duke of York…
Gijs van den Berg (1983) is an Amsterdam based artist. His works span a variety of media including video, photography and graphic design, depending on what fits best with the conceptual idea behind the work. His works have been exhibited at The Printspace London, Malmø Fotobienal, Format Festival, Kaunas Photography festival and others. Van den Berg is also creative director and partner of KesselsKramer, a creative agency with offices in Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles.
— Samantha Reinders
If you take three atoms, two hydrogen and one oxygen, and combine them, you get water. If you add a helicopter, a Hasselbad and Roger Fishman to this mix you get “Transformation: Water as Art” – one of the more striking exhibitions at this years Photoville NYC.
“Transformation: Water as Art” explores water as a symbol of our innate ability to transform our lives—and the world we live in—for the better.
Shot in Greenland and Iceland, the series shows architectural icebergs, abstract water and melting ice sheet compositions and calligraphic glaciers. This extraordinary perspective of looking straight down onto planet Earth eliminates any familiar visual context. It requires you to fully engage your imagination. The images are emotionally evocative and generate intrigue and engagement with the subject matter.
The images transport the viewer to—and perhaps transform them by—the world of water in all of its astonishing power.
PDN asked Roger Fishman a few questions about his exhibition.
PDN: What drew you to photograph water in the first place?
RF: For me water is the source of all life energy. We are created and essentially live in water for the first ten months of our lives. Our brain and heart are 70+ percent water. Our bodies 60+ percent water. Our planet is covered in about 70 percent water. Water and life are one. Yet our species treats water as a limitless commodity. So I wanted to elevate water, have us think about it differently. I wanted us to consider how we can transform ourselves and our behavior for the betterment of all life, and that of the planet.
Water simply fascinates me too. Its importance is biblical! The history of all cultures from the beginning of recorded time involve water. It is transformational in terms of its impact. It creates, sustains sculpts, and reveals… We live in water inside our mother and our society is born out of water based on its accessibility and availability. There is water where most commerce done in the world and almost all foods and products are created with it. So for me water must be prioritized.
PDN: The project is making a statement about water as art but with water being such a crucial global talking point right now, do you think that your images can also add to that discussion? Can art function in this way and if so – what are you saying?
RF: Water needs to be more then a global talking point. As fresh water is the source of all life, water must be elevated to a strategic, core and on-going topic of vital global and national interest. The underlying point of this project is to transform our own lives as water transforms in its’ own creation and into different forms. My work is intended to have us understand and think about water differently…be educated about it power and importance throughout our lives and to have individuals change how they engage with water. Government policies need to treat water with the respect it demands and deserves.
PDN: These images are part of a four-part collection. Can you explain a little more?
RF: There are four forms of water that this series explores: Liquid, iceberg, ice sheet and glacier. And each form goes through its all transformational processes.
PDN: Can you tell us a little more about your process?
RF: I travel with just a pilot in Greenland. In Iceland I work with both a pilot and my colleague, Melissa Shoemaker. We fly with the door off. I prefer to shoot straight down so the visual context is abstract and requires one to feel and wonder about what they are experiencing. I shoot with a Hasselblad H6D. And the best trick I have is to make sure you are really strapped in and don’t fall out when the helicopter – at your request – turns deeply and sharply!
PDN: What’s next for you?
RF: More water… in its presence and absence! I will continue to expand this series in new geographies. Why the same? Because water is always moving…sculpting and revealing…so what I see in one moment becomes a memory…for that moment is constantly being transformed by its subject matter…water
Capturing the Visual Rhythms of Industrial Spaces
Edward Burtynsky’s “Industrial Abstract”
The Colors of Wind on WaterThe Colors of Wind on Water
A Bird’s-Eye View of Louisiana’s Disappearing Wetlands
The four-day 11th Annual Filter Photo Festival opens in Chicago today and runs through September 22, 2019.
Networking and furthering your education is the name of the game at this festival and nearly 30 photography curators, collectors, and critics from across the country will conduct over 800 portfolio reviews with aspiring artists and photographers.
Perhaps the highlight, though, are the varied photography workshops on offer. They explore everything from historical processes and creative production, to professional practices and career development by illustrious names such as Richard Renaldi, Sasha Wolf, Emma Powell, Richard Tuschman and Darren Ching.
The featured speaker is Rodrigo Valenzuela – and interesting inspired choice. Chilean photographer Valenzuela’s work, at first glance, appears to that of a modernist sculptor. His works are large-scale, labor-intensive scenes, tableaux constructed of mixed media structures of paper, plaster, metal and paint. But don’t be fooled — all of this is done in the ultimate service of photographs. Valenzuela constructs narratives, scenes, and stories, which point to the tensions found between the individual and communities. He utilizes autobiographical threads to inform larger universal fields of experience. Gestures of alienation and displacement are both the aesthetic and subject of much of his work. Through videos and photographs, he makes images that feel at the same time familiar yet distant, engaging the viewer in questions concerning the ways in which the formation and experience of each work is situated—how they exist in and out of place.
If that isn’t enough there will be several artist talks (Cecil McDonald, Jr, Isa Leshko, Bob Thall, Louie Palu and Juan Fernandez among them), special receptions for three juried exhibitions featuring over 60 artists at Filter Space gallery, and a Portfolio Walk showcasing the work of nearly 100 emerging, mid-career, and professional photographers.
Although portfolio reviews and workshops are paid events that require advanced registration, all midday artist talks and evening programs are free and open to the public.
Filter Photo Festival
September 19 – 22, 2019
Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, Chicago
How does a photographic project or series evolve? How important are “style” and “genre”? What comes first—the photographs or a concept? PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice, edited and introduced by Sasha Wolf, is a collection of interviews with an incredibly wide range of photographers about their approach to making photographs and, more importantly, a sustained body of work.
The format of this book is simple – and it’s an easy and rewarding read. It is structured as a Proust-like questionnaire—meant to elicit personal, truthful insights—in which photographers (Gregory Halpern, Robert Adams, Elinor Carucci, Catherine Opie, Siân Davey, Gillian Laub, Vanessa Winship, Manjari Sharma and many more) were each asked the same set of twelve questions, resulting in a typology of responses that allows for an intriguing and enlightening compare and contrast, and something you can really learn from.
Justine Kurland discusses the importance of allowing a narrative to unravel; Doug DuBois reflects on the process of growing into one’s own work; Dawoud Bey evokes musicians such as Miles Davis as his inspiration for never wanting to become “my own oldies show.”
In the forward to the book Wolf explains: “The deeper motivation for making this book emerges from my own past life as a filmmaker. I appreciate many of the anxieties photographers face as they begin new projects. My experiences with the artists I’ve worked with over the years, as a gallerist, curator, and editor, have been extremely fulfilling due in no small part to the many ways in which I can relate to their struggles and successes. I am very sympathetic to the torture of the proverbial blank page: the ways that infinite options can be the greatest source of anguish. One of the hardest things about being an artist is that there is no map to follow. You are like Lewis and Clark: you must draw your own. And that, of course, becomes a lot easier after you determine how the pencil feels most comfortable in your hand.”
The questions Wolf asks were designed to provoke honest, unvarnished responses—the “truth” about each individual’s unique process of making a body of work (rather than any one individual image). Examples of two such questions are: “What are the key elements that must be present for you when you are creating a body of work? (Social commentary, strong form, personal connection, photographic reference . . .)” and “Do you create with presentation in mind, be that a gallery show or a book?”
On a whole the photographer’s answers are candid and honest. Because the list of photographers chosen to interview range dramatically in where they are in their careers – from solidly established practitioners across a range of genres (Dayanita Singh and Vanessa Winship, say) to slightly more emerging ones – the responses are wildly divergent, so there is something for just about every reader irrespective of where they find themselves in their career.
This book comes at a crucial time in an industry that is overwhelmed with talent, but much of that talent is struggling to make a living and many are loosing sight of the creative process in the continued hustle. It’s useful to remember that there isn’t one single path – just many perspectives and potential avenues for success, depending on how one personally defines that. This book can serve as much needed inspiration – especially if you’re feeling a little adrift in your practice.
Sasha Wolf represents emerging and midcareer fine-art photographers as a private practice, following a decade of running Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City.
Fine-tuning Your Photography at the Filter Photo Festival
The Lessons and Influence of Great Photography Teachers: Joseph Rodriguez
PDN’s 30 Photographers on Building a Career, and Maintaining Hope
A good sports photograph is often measured by its level of peak action – and with the speed that technology moves these days, and as cameras get faster and things like remote cameras more readily available, there’s even more truth to this fact.
Anderson & Low’s new exhibition “RITUALS – Spiritual – Physical” at Throckmorton Fine Art is something poles apart from peak action photography. In fact it makes you look at sport photography from a different angle…
The duo (Jonathan Anderson & Edwin Low), for whom sport is more of a muse, have been working together since 1990 and what you’ll find here is a collection that is a greatest hits of several of their well received projects over the years. The work looks at human dreams, aspirations, hope, despair, endurance, determination and the perseverance of world-class athletes including those in the fields of gymnastics, surfing, and traditional Indian wrestling.
Included in the exhibition is their portfolio “X-PRINTS” which is drawn from their breakthrough projects and is made up of 10 platinum-palladium prints. The images include the series “Athletes”, “American Athletes” and “Gymnast”s combined with early key images of the process of sport and the abstracted classical ideal of the athlete, as well as studies of the personality, iconography and physiognomy of sport.
According to the duo: “In our work we are looking at that process of training – the vocabulary and syntax that each different sport requires, the different physiognomy that each sport demands, the different mental state that each sport needs, as well as their common elements. We are also very interested in the iconography of sport, going right back to the statues of ancient Greece and Rome, and those seminal depictions of the “sporting ideal” which can be seen in some of our early platinum prints.”
Anderson and Low were named the official artists for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and among other things have received complete, unrestricted, and uncensored access to work with elite Chinese Gymnasts training in Beijing. Their work resides in many public and private collections including those of MOMA, The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, The National Portrait Galleries of both the UK and Australia and many more.
RITUALS – Spiritual – Physical
Throckmorton Fine Art
Through November 16, 2019
The genesis of photographer Frank Ockenfels 3’s creativity is “collision, collusion, and collaboration,” explains the press release for the artist’s new book, Volume 3 (teNeues, 2019). The images in Volume 3 follow in the footsteps of the work for which Okenfels 3 is renowned: portraiture that incorporates non-photographic elements. After being subjected to ink, collage, text, or paint, his portraits become a new form, often communicating a sense of disquiet and chaos, yet still managing to be aesthetically pleasing. As a whole Volume 3‘s images –– “a volatile mix of energy and imagery with dark traces” –– equal what Ockenfels 3 considers a journal reflecting his “daily encounters in the creative world.”
Ockenfels 3’s reconstructed images often convey something more powerful than the original image alone. With the emotions of the maker imbued in each tear, stroke and sketch, the works also provides a window into Ockenfels 3’s mind and become a personal statement of how he sees the world. The dark yet vibrant images make it clear that Ockenfels 3 is not afraid to leave the imprint of his psyche on his work.
Portraits of personalities such as Spike Lee, David Bowie, and David Lynch, as well as models like Milla Jovovich, “Amanda,” and “Viktoria,” are molded into new objects that seem to live at the intersection of dream, fantasy and art. “The erotic, the sublime, and the violent collages are blended with portraiture that seamlessly complement each other,” affirms teNeues in the release.
With the publication of Volume 3, Ockenfels 3’s work has been in demand for over three decades. Don’t they say good things come in threes?
Last week, a new exhibition by the artist duo Anderson & Low opened at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Known for blending fact and fiction, their latest project, Voyages, transforms ship models owned by the Science Museum in London into evocative and ambitious images.
When the artists discovered the ships in storage, they were struck by how ghostly and dreamlike the vintage models appeared wrapped in the translucent plastic meant to protect them. Through the simple act of not removing the plastic before photographing the ships, the humble objects become vessels of exploration and otherworldly voyages. “The models,” explain Anderson & Low in the artist statement, “take on magical new forms, some like legendary vessels emerging from sinister fogs to stalk and surprise an enemy, others as if lost and drifting at sea…or caught in a terrifying storm.”
Indeed the plastic acts as a prism, reassembling scale and context while highlighting some details and obscuring others. The misty haze covering the historic boats “suggests the thrill and anticipation of embarking on a new adventure,” muses George Eastman Museum in the press release. Looking at the images, legends of ancient mariners come to mind; it’s not difficult to conjure the feel of wet fog against ruddy cheeks and the haunting ring of buoy bells in the harbor.
Voyages also includes images selected by Anderson & Low from the Eastman Museum Collection that resonate with their work. In the artists’ words, the common theme binding all the photographs on display is that, “Making true voyages of discovery does not mean seeking new landscapes, but using one’s own imagination to view the world through new eyes.”
“Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan,” on view at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City through February 2, 2020, combines a 60-year retrospective of the photographer’s work with an exhibition he curated from the museum’s collection. Together, the two shows offer a tour of Michals’ mind.
Contemplative, confessional, and comedic, the art of Duane Michals exerts an appeal that transcends the conventional audience of photography. For him, photography is not documentary in nature but theatrical and fictive: the camera is one of many tools humanity uses to construct a comprehensive version of reality.
Since the early 1960s, Michals has worked past what he sees as the limitations of the camera: He writes in the margins of his prints, creates sequences of images that explore intangible human dilemmas (doubt, mortality, desire), and derives poetic effects from technical errors such as double exposure and motion blur.
“Illusions of the Photographer” is a full six-decade career retrospective (he’s 87 now!) — the first on Michals to be organized by a New York City museum. It’s also an artist’s-choice show. The Morgan let Michals plumbs the museum’s vaults for treasures both revered and long-forgotten.
Michals leads viewers on a tour of some of his heroes and mentors, including William Blake, Edward Lear, and Saul Steinberg. He’s also chosen to show inspiring work by stage designers, toy-makers, and his fellow portraitists of the past and the present.
The retrospective portion of the exhibition is organized around animating themes in Michals’ work: Theater, Reflection, Love and Desire, Playtime, Image and Word, Nature, Immortality, Time, Death and Illusion. It showcases his storytelling instincts, both in stand-alone staged photographs and in sequences.
The exhibition will be accompanied by screenings of short films—Michals’ preferred medium in recent years. An audioguide narrated by the artist will complement a wide-ranging interview in the exhibition’s catalogue.
“Illusions of the Photographer”
The Morgan Library & Museum
Through February 2, 2020
Serrah Russell’s collages are deceptively simple. Most are made from just two images, cut from the pages of fashion magazines or National Geographic, then fused together. Yet a powerful narrative emerges from the layers and juxtapositions, one that feels overwhelmingly about drowning, but with flickers of hope and clarity.
There’s water, yes, but the sense of going under comes from the fragments of women’s bodies colliding with other matter. A slender arm reaches from the depths of ruby colored cloth; bright red lips face a black abyss; a different set of lips –– slightly parted and larger than life –– meet a soaring bird carrying a small branch. Full faces are rarely seen. A single eye cut in the shape of a diamond floats above a cloudy blue sky; in another image the outer edge of an eye circled in black makeup is dissected by a mass of green branches; a woman wearing a black turtleneck lacks a head, it’s been dislodged by a bouquet of tall blooming flowers.
Russell began making the collages in 2016 after Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S. “Shocked and angry,” as Rusell writes in the introduction to her new book tears tears (Yoffy Press, 2019), she turned to her studio practice to channel her grief. Soon, she was “transforming each day’s experience into a nightly collage.” The work in tears tears is the result of reconstructing the news and the outrage, the sadness and fear, of the 45th presidency into a single collage 100 times in a row. The daily routine “became an act of meditation, a ritual for reflection and a place to speak,” writes Russell.
There’s a reason almost every collage contains slivers of women. The artworks “explore the stifled reality of being a woman in this political era…multiple pieces refer to a voice being minimized or diminished,” explains Frances Jakubek in an essay for tears tears.
In Russell’s words, “The votes were in, and I was told she wasn’t enough. And neither was I.” The collages became a life raft to sanity, a pursuit of understanding in the aftermath of an election that favored Trump over Hillary Clinton, who would’ve become the first female president of the U.S.
Toward the end of the book an an image titled “Swallowing up the light” covers two pages. In it, we see a young woman’s full face bathed in sunlight. Her shoulders are back and her eyes are closed; she’s standing before the sea. Her chin is cupped by a gentle hand. Surrounded by the blue of the water she appears calm, ready. “This work is for you,” writes Russell. “For those who cry, who rage, who question, who change…who endure, and for those who open up, when they have every reason to stay closed.”
– Sarah Stacke
Photographer Christina Seely‘s new exhibition distills ten years of her travels to the Alaskan Arctic and Greenland ice sheet, and shows her artistic approach to using digitally manipulated photographs and science to address the disorientating nature of severe climate change. The exhibition, “Perdita, In Finding(s),” is on display through January 11, 2020, at San Francisco’s EQUINOM Gallery.
The show’s title offers the first clue about the project’s aim to befuddle the viewer by posing a set of impossible riddles: “Perdita” is Latin for “lost.”
In her excursions, Seely has personally witnessed the grave and far-reaching changes to landscapes at the northern reaches of the planet. As a response, she created work that “faces into the inherent tentativeness brought on by exponential change,” as she explains in her artist’s statement.
In her images, we see grids, graphs, and data points juxtaposed with soaring birds, glaciers and rock. At a glance, the project offers a satisfying sense of order and understanding. Math equations have solutions, right? Yet the images ultimately inspire a feeling of disorientation.
For example, a number of works in the exhibition, nicknamed “bird grids,” originate from a trip to Alaska. The images show flocks of seabirds in the sky. Seely dramatically crops and rotates the images, and also overlays them and surrounds them with grids. The result is an “off-kilter” way of “seeing and of being that amplifies the chaotic-ness of lives caught in motion…viewers are left unbalanced, gazing into a bright blank sky,” writes EQUINOM in the press release.
“Quantitare – glacies (Exponential Ice, Gully Breen / Svalbard Territory),” is a work comprised of 11 prints, picturing glaciers, that Seely mounted together to form a hypnotic, never-ending tunnel. In this image, and all the others in “Perdita, In Finding(s),” Seely establishes herself as an artist that is not bound by the history of photography. By combining her photographs with a wide range of media, particularly those related to science and math, Seely is making a statement about the “failure of photography to comprehend…the scale of change that is currently underway.”
In “Perdita, In Finding(s),” writes Seely, photographs serve only as “symbols” of the natural world. “These ‘symbols’ are then set in conversation with familiar visualizations of measurement and organization associated with scientific and mathematical inquiry that tend to imply a sense of control.”
Seely writes that “ideally” the work “activates a conversation about how we value, control and try to understand (for better or worse) the natural world…or our place within the complexity of the larger planetary whole.”
Most of us only see X-rays while negotiating airport security or during an uncomfortable visit to the doctor. The meddlesome, monochromatic images aren’t something we typically covet or admire. David Arky sees something else in X-ray images – artistry. On January 9, Fremin Gallery will open “Sights Unseen,” an exhibition of Arky’s vivid X-ray photographs.
For Arky, one of a few photographers to see the potential of X-rays, “The discovery of the revealing contours and textures not yet examined by the naked eye unlocked a secret and intimate world that fascinated him,” writes Fremin Gallery in the press release. In his latest series, Arky experimented with pink, blue, and gray color palettes, creating bold contrasts to routine black-and-white X-rays.
A union between art and technology, Arky’s images confess a hidden world and invite viewers to see each object anew. A golf bag holding dollar bills in its depths; a woman’s purse concealing a revolver; pill bottles, keys and iPhones revealing intricate innards. With shades of voyeurism, the photographs allow personas –– of people and possessions –– to be conceived from the inside out.
Klompching Gallery has extended “Berlin,” by Diane Meyer through January 25. The 43-piece exhibition opened in November 2019, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s the first time Meyer’s series, which was made over the course of seven years and traces the entire 96-mile path of the former Wall, has been shown in its entirety.
Applying her signature style, sections of the photographs have been obscured by cross-stitch embroidery, sewn directly into the photographs. In many images the embroidered sections represent the exact scale and location of the former Wall, offering a pixelated view of what would lie behind if the wall were in tact today. The colorful stitching “appears as a translucent trace in the landscape of something that no longer exists but is a weight on history and memory,” writes Klompching in the press release.
Though Meyer’s aim was to photograph locations with no visible traces of the wall itself, several of the photographs depict forthright evidence of its existence. For example, in “Former Guard Tower Off Puschkinallee,” the graffiti reaching up the old tower halts at almost the exact height of the broken wall, or about as high as an arm can reach. In another image, colorful concrete blocks remain positioned in front of Meyer’s embroidery to remind us that people had to use the blocks to communicate with friends and family over the disruptive architecture.
“The tearing down of the wall became emblematic of a changing world order–with the absence of the structure, as impactful as when it stood,” notes Klompching. The exhibition is especially timely, as it echoes the current divisive political dialogue surrounding the barrier wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“The wall today is almost ghostlike,” says Meyer, “even though it isn’t there, you can still feel it.”
On January 17, Catherine Edelman Gallery will debut the work of international photographers Nicolás Combarro, Hannah Hughes and Lilly Lulay, alongside well-known Chicagoan, Aimée Beaubien, in “New Formations.”
In a culture where digital photographs are ubiquitous and routine, artists are challenging themselves to find new ways of working with photographic images. The four artists featured in “New Formations” are “reinventing how photography is used to represent a place, object or memory,” writes Catherine Edelman Gallery in the press release. “As the works become more complex, memories are fragmented, places are deconstructed, and objects are recontextualized.”
Procuring images from diverse sources, Combarro, Hughes, Lulay and Beaubien cut, collage, weave and paint to reconstruct photographic prints. “Situated between photography and sculpture,” writes the gallery, “the works in the exhibition go beyond the content of a singular image, introducing a new visual language.”
Beaubien’s colorful work is heavily influenced by her great grandmother, art history and gardens. To bring these elements together, she weaves photographs, drapes rope and suspends old photography books in large site-specific installations that aim to imitate plant growth.
In his series “Spontaneous Architecture,” Cambarro, who lives and works in Spain, paints, collages and draws on architectural photographs. “By focusing on these shapes, he bridges the gap between architecture and fundamental forms found in art,” explains Catherine Edelman Gallery.
After cutting repetitive shapes from glossy magazines, Hughes layers them to create photographic sculptures. The work in her series, “Mirror Image,” alters the significance of the original page while “magnifying the beauty of color and form.” Hughes is based in the United Kingdom.
In response to the sheer number of photographs made in cities and public spaces and the collective memory they create, Lulay, born in Germany, shatters this perspective by cutting and collaging found images into new landscapes.
There will be an opening reception at the gallery on Friday, January 17 from 5 – 8 p.m.