Tag Archives: Black Photography

Edge of Vision Exhibition Traveling to Oregon

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    Installation shots at Aperture Gallery, New York, 2009 by Elliot Black Photography

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The photographic process is often credited in part with displacing representation from painting, pushing it over the course of the first half of the last century further into the domain of abstraction. The camera was commonly thought to capture and document a supposed objective reality in a way the human hand never could. However, photography itself has also been variously employed for nonrepresentational abstraction since its inception.

From the very first photograms to Aaron Siskind‘s ab-ex alluding macrophotography, to Penelope Umbrico‘s digitally-manipulated found images of “Suns From Flickr,” The Edge of Vision: Abstractions in Contemporary Photography (on view at Schneider Museum of Art in Oregon through June 16, 2012) examines the history of nonrepresentational photographic image-making and its role in contemporary art.

In a two part video interview, independent writer and critic Lyle Rexer, who curated the exhibition and authored the 2009 Aperture-published book by the same title, says he was drawn to artists that “were making pictures that moved away from from an easily identifiable subject, or that complicated the picture or the response that we normal have to pictures, in what is essentially thought of as a denotative medium.”

The traveling exhibition, which has been on view in a number of places around the world, each time in a slightly different iteration, features work by a diverse group of contemporary artists including Bill Armstrong, Carel Balth, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Ellen Carey, Roland Fischer, Michael Flomen, Manuel Geerinck, Edward Mapplethorpe, Penelope Umbrico, Silvio Wolf, and more listed here. For Rexer, he says, bringing this group together and seeing what they have in common is meant to address the following question:

What is it about photography now that makes it possible for us to have artists that  on the one hand do very documentary work, and other artists at the same time, sometimes the same artists, who are also doing work that would qualify as abstract?

For more information on the work on view, be sure to check out the Edge of Vision Video Interview Series, conducted during the installation at Aperture Gallery in 2009, on vimeo:

  • Penelope Umbrico persents her work “For Sale/TV’s From Craigslist,” and explains why she considers herself a documentary photographer, “a traveler through media.”
  • Ellen Carey discusses her large-scale work “Pulls with Lifts and Drops,” film pulled through the rollers of a Polaroid large-format camera, and her color photogram, “PushPins,” exploring how each challenges the viewer to rethink the medium.
  • Barbara Kasten explains her work based on physical constructions that play with light and are created only for the purpose of being photographed. By this approach, the photograph itself becomes the object and is removed from being representative or documentary.
  • Silvio Wolf presents his work which combines straight photography and the unexposed ends of film rolls as negatives exposed to light. The end results are mesmerizing and meditative colorful images about light and absence of light.
  • Bill Armstrong puts in context his “Mandala #450″ piece, explains why he uses blurring as a process and explores his “painterly approach to photography.”
  • Charles Lindsay speaks about how he started working with his unique carbon emulsion process, his inspirations and the combination of his photographic, video and sound works.
  • Seth Lambert contextualizes his work in the show “Nothing on the Bed of an Epson Expression 10000XL” within his Failures series of grids mapping out anything from beard hair, mirror pieces to nothing with a blank scan.
  • Carel Balth explains the process behind his works “Moving IV” and “Madrid V,” and how his appropriation of images through a digital format functions as a new medium.
  • Jack Sal speaks about his piece “Sale/Sala (Salt/Room)” while you watch him installing it.
  • Manuel Geerinck, who started his career as a painter, speaks about his unique process combining his drawings that he then photographs in motion.

Also, watch a panel discussion on Abstraction in Photography from 2009 at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, moderated by Rexer, and read a review of the exhibition when it was on view at Lewis & Clark College in Portland earlier this year, from the Oregonian.

Exhibition on view:
Thursday, May 10 – Saturday, June 16, 2012

$5 Suggested Donation

Schneider Museum of Art
1250 Siskiyou Blvd
Ashland, Oregon
(541) 552-6245

25 Years 25 Artists: An Interview with Julie Saul

Julie Saul © Elliot Black Photography

Art dealer Julie Saul was honored for her contributions to photography at last year’s Aperture’s 2010 Benefit. This year she commemorates her gallery’s 25th anniversary with the exhibition 25 Years/25 Artists and an accompanying catalogue. The show features a single photograph from each year of her gallery’s history and will be on view through Friday, August 26th. Among the artists include Luigi Ghirri, Maira Kalman, Sally Gall, Penelope Umbrico and James Welling.

What are some of your favorite photobooks?

Some of the earliest books when I first became interested in photography. There were very few books published on photography so you could virtually own all of the photography books back in the 70s. There was Diane Arbus, there was George Platt Lynes there was Danny Lyon…but there were very few books so you ended up spending a lot of more time really scrutinizing the individual images than you do today because now there are so many you can barely flip through the books that you own. Perhaps my favorite photobook was one given to me when I left the Met’s department of 20th century photography where I interned in 1982. They gave me this gorgeous huge George Platt Lynes book that I think was one of the first books published by Jack Woody with Twin Palms, and I loved that book. Then I did a show of his work later at my gallery and somebody stole it! It had been signed by everybody in that department and that was truly one of the worst losses that I have had.

What has been your favorite show you’ve seen this summer?

La Carte D’Après Nature at Matthew Marks, curated by Thomas Demand. I love the fact that it was curated by an artist. I think shows curated by artists are very interesting and it gives me a whole new insight into Thomas Demand’s work. It also includes 50 prints by one of my favorite photographers who I have shown a couple of times over the years- Luigi Ghirri.

You were the first American dealer to show Ghirri’s work, correct?

I was. And I still think that he is a completely brilliant and under-recognized (although probably not for long) European artist. He’s sort of the William Eggleston of Europe in the 70s, and from what I’ve seen from European work of that time, particularly of Italian work, it was very romantic, it was black and white. Ghirri had this very conceptual point of view and worked in color and really understood media so I think that it’s great that he’s finally getting the attention he deserves. Seeing his work in the context of the Matthew Marks exhibition will really be an important step for him.

What are some of your most meaningful relationships that you have had with artists over the years?

Often a long relationship is a good relationship and you can get used to each other and you get closer to each other just like a long term [romantic] relationship. If you look at my 25th Anniversary show, the first artist I ever showed, Andy Bush, is still with the gallery and we’ve certainly had our ups and downs over the years but I’ve been able to gain an understanding of the way he works and thinks by having such a long term relationship. I would say that what makes a good relationship is the artist’s ability and willingness to really collaborate with you. Not to see the gallery as a battlefield, but see it as a matrimonial bed, a place of collaboration, sharing resources and ideas. One of the more fun things I’ve done is working with Maira Kalman who had never really had gallery representation before because she normally does books, theater design, textile design and applied arts. So for her it has been a great adventure, and for me to figure out how to promote some of these works, because she has never thought about trying to fit within the traditional gallery system, its been really fun.

Although you represent artists working in a variety of media, what made you want to specialize in photography?

I started with a specialization in photography because I felt like it was important to have a distinct identity within the larger New York art world. Within my larger academic studies in art history I did my thesis on a Bauhaus photographer, but as you know the Bauhaus is about work in many different media. Maholy Nagy believed that every medium has its proper application so he thought for representational art, photography was the medium and for abstract art, painting was the medium. I identify with, and show a great deal of, photography but my interests and enthusiasms are by no means limited to strictly photography. And furthermore a lot of the artists I represent, actually enjoy working in the way that I described, different media for different projects. I’m very interested in artists who take a very freewheeling approach to the medium.

What are some of things you are most proud of exhibiting over the past 25 years?

Well I think the 25th Anniversary show itself is a good example of that. We do eight or nine shows a year and I’ve had the difficult task of choosing one work from one show during a year where literally hundreds of works have been exhibited.

More information about Julie Saul Gallery.

Click here to buy tickets to Aperture’s 2011 Benefit and Auction, honoring Bruce Davidson, Gerhard Steidl and Robert Anthione.

Video: B/W Analog Photography by Jeff Cowen

All photos © Jeff Cowen, jeffcowen.eu
Video produced by Rémy Badan, pixiesfilms.com

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Photographer Jeff Cowen will be conducting a masterclass in black-and-white analog photography at his studio and custom large-format darkroom in Berlin, August 6-10, 2011. I will be participating, as well, leading discussions on editing, marketing, and strategies for career-oriented photographers.

It’s going to be great.

Limited enrollment: 5 photographers. Check out the details and sign up today!