Thursday, April 19, 2012
Tomorrow, 20 April, is the opening of LOOKING GLASS, a fascinating show under the MOPLA banner (Month of Photography LA, my third year exhibiting in or curating a show for MOPLA).
This year, LOOKING GLASS is an exhibition curated by noted art writer, contributor, Shana Nys Dambrot and looking at imagery that skirts between the real and the imagination or surreal. It is to be held at Analog Salon in Culver City, in a truly terrific building that is part of the complex designed by noted architect Eric Owen Moss.
Shana's Curatorial Statement:
LOOKING GLASS: Curator's Statement
For LOOKING GLASS I’ve assembled a dozen photographers whose work is in various ways made in a collaboration between the imagination and the world -- to explore ways that the camera is an expressive, fantastical, imaginative and pliable medium as well as form of document that contains evidence of external reality.
Everyone knows that a painter, for example, starts with a blank canvas and piles of pigment and that whether they makes landscape, portrait, or abstract images based in whole, in part, or not at all on external phenomenon, that the thing they make is entirely created from “nothing” or, put another way, from pure “imagination” -- whereas photography by definition involves negotiating with the external world not of your making. So how does a photographer achieve the same kind of emotional depth and psychological complexity, even approaching altered states of consciousness and perception, mediated through a “machine” -- that is the question.
Viggo Mortensen once told me that he doesn’t work in a studio, preferring the stumbled-upon world of circumstance for his subjects because, “Things are weird enough already.” For Sara Jane Boyers, her pictures of Detroit conflate present-day documentation with personal deep-buried memory. Johnny Cubert White is a self-described flaneur, a walker of the city streets, a man looking for the marvelous and unpredictable surprises that shifting urban vistas of reflection and juxtaposition offer up. Gary Baseman, though better known as a painter, also makes photographs which signal a welcome fantasy to intrude upon reality. Lawren Alice uses illusion and beauty to co-mingle the human body with abstract patterns of nature producing a hybrid that is more than its sums (and she’s a big Lewis Carroll fan). Sam Comen has the kind of brain that cannot help but to see patterns and fractal logic in all manner of scenes urban and rural and the accidental, narrative still lifes that are all around us.
Marjan Vayghan abstracts by choice and proximity, using the symbolism encoded in architectural elements to express certain essential truths about humanity’s yearning for freedom. Emily Bradley documents the proliferation of street-art installations around LA, with a practiced eye for taking the ambient architectural surroundings into account -- as the artists themselves intend the work to be encountered and experienced. Suzanne Adelman’s images use the everyday world as a starting point for an examination of what and how the mind obscures in our own perceptions. Jody Zellen distills elements of pattern, pixel and text into reductive compositions that uncover the hidden order behind what we take for granted as we move through the world. Mark Schumacher photographs the abstract wax paintings of Scott Elgart, creating a whole new kind of image with a forceful poetry and ambiguous depiction. Jennifer Vanderpool treats her own mixed media sculpture as a terrain to be documented in the best tradition of psychologically fraught landscape photography.
All of these artists have found unique ways to turn the looking-glass that is the camera lens into a mirror of their own inner lives, even as it reflects a perfect view of the world on the other side.
-Shana Nys Dambrot, Guest Curator ( http://sndx.net/ )
For this show, I will be exhibiting for the first time two of my images from my ongoing DETROIT DEFINITION project.