Tag Archives: Decordova Museum

Pelle Cass

I am a long time fan of Pelle Cass’ work.  His photographs are inventive, conceptual, and manage to reinterpret what is right in front of us by using multiple images to create new realities.  Pelle just opened a show at Gallery Kayafas of his new project, Strangers.  These portraits are made up of numerous close-up photographs, when combined, reveal minutely observed facts add up to something new and strange. The exhibition runs through November 24th, 2012.

Pelle has had solo shows in the Boston area at Gallery Kayafas, Stux Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, and Harvard’s Fogg Museum print room. He has also had solo shows at the Frank Marino Gallery, NYC and the Houston Center for Photography in Texas. His work is owned by the Fogg Art Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Polaroid Collection, the DeCordova Museum, Lehigh University Art Galleries, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He was Winner: Top 50, Critical Mass, Photolucida, Portland, OR, in 2008 and 2009, and was awarded Yaddo Fellowships (Saratoga Springs, NY) in 2010 and 2012. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Two of my favorite series are Selected People and Pins.  In Selected People, Pelle “orders the world and exaggerates its chaos.” Taking dozens of photographs of the same location, he selects what color palette or point of view he wishes to present. With Pins, Pelle rephotographs images from Architectural Digest and covers them with pins to create a new way of looking at space.


image from Selected People 

image from Pins

Strangers:
I think of these pictures as non-portraits. They say nothing of the personality or psychology of the people who sat for them, even though they are very detailed and closely observed. So why bother? At first, I was simply curious about what a portrait is. I thought it might be revealing to remove the variables of personality and identity from the portrait. 

 The sitter is basically unrecognizable, even though each picture is nothing but a set of photographic facts about that person. This emptying of identity happens when, after taking dozens of extreme close-ups of a particular person’s face, I blend the fragments into a new face. The shiny noses, wrinkled foreheads, and swirls of hair, take on a strange intensity when reassembled. 

 My aim is to use extreme photographic precision in a spontaneous, almost messily expressionistic way, to discover, perhaps, a whole new set of human emotions housed in a new anatomy, but also to discover something about the nature of the photographic portrait.


Boston Week: Stephen DiRado

While I am enjoying the Focus Awards hosted by the Griffin Museum and the Flash Forward Festival hosted by the Magenta Foundation in Boston this week, I am re-running some earlier posts about Boston photographers, starting today with Stephen DiRado.

Boston Photographer, Stephen DiRado, knows how to take a compelling photograph…again and again. For the past two decades, he has created many fascinating long term documentary series that capture the human experience in a truthful and revealing way.

Stephen is a Photography Senior Lecturer in the Studio Arts Program in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Clark University and his work can be found in museum collections across the country, including the MFA, Boston, MFA, Houston, DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA and the Currier Museum in NH. An interview with Stephen can be heard here and Alec Soth interviewed him in 2006 here.

I am featuring work from two series, With Dad, and Dinner Series. Both give us a window into human dynamics with a narrative that is both timeless and time specific. Stephen captures the poignancy of his father’s descent into Alzheimer’s with the love of a son and the skill of an artist as a remarkable participant observer, and a variety of dinner celebrations that become fascinating tableaus of shared experiences.

Images from With Dad

Images from Dinner Party

Sarah Malakoff

Sarah Malakoff’s photographs explore the idea of home, but I am drawn to the formal study of spaces that are more than just rooms, they are rooms with elements of quirky expression, each with a surprise twist.  I have to admit it, I’d like to hang out in these homes and meet the people who created these spaces.  The lack of human evidence makes the work feel like a movie set, ready for the drama to unfold. Sarah was awarded a spot in the 2009 Critical Mass top 50 portfolios with the project, Living Arrangements, and also exhibited it at the Griffin Museum of Photography.

Sarah lives and works in Boston,
Massachusetts and teaches at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  She received her Master of Fine Arts
from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  She has had numerous solo
exhibitions including the Sol Mednick Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, the Griffin Museum
of Photography in Winchester, MA, Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston, MA and
Plane Space in New York, NY.  Her
photographs have recently been shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art in
Pittsburgh, The DeCordova Museum, The Portland Museum of Art, The Danforth
Museum of Art, The Smith College Museum of Art, The Photographic Resource
Center, and Photo Center Northwest.
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: My
photographs are examinations of the home as both a refuge from and at times a
re-creation of the outside world. 
In my images, architecture and furnishings appear as uncanny symbols of
culture, family, and nature.  With
the intentional exclusion of human occupants, my subjects spark curious
speculation of their own.  The
private and personal are expressed in part by objects and signifiers which are displayed
versus those which are hidden; what is allowed inside, and what is kept
out.  For example, doors and
windows both frame exterior views and keep the elements at bay.  Land, weather, and wildlife are ever
present on the other side of the wall even as they are brought safely inside in
the form of pattern, simulation, and domesticated animals.  Ironically, both indoors and out
equally project artifice.
    
These pictures speak to notions of comfort, class, and style as well as universal attempts to control and transcend our environment. Tensions, and often humor, appear between absence and presence, old and new, real and surreal, permanent and transient, genuine and artificial, the domestic and the natural worlds. The desire to resolve these tensions drives the viewer to create their own narrative and imagine possible inhabitants.

Sarah Malakoff, Untitled Interior (blizzard)

Sarah Malakoff, Untitled Interior (blizzard)

Sarah Malakoff

Untitled Interior (blizzard),
Roslindale, Massachusetts, 2005
From the Living Arrangements series
Website – SarahMalakoff.com

Sarah Malakoff is a photographer who lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts and teaches at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her photographs are examinations of the home as both a refuge from and at times a re-creation of the outside world. She has had solo exhibitions at the Sol Mednick Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA, Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston, MA and Plane Space in New York, NY. Her photographs have also recently been shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, The DeCordova Museum, The Portland Museum of Art, The Danforth Museum of Art, The Smith College Museum of Art, The Photographic Resource Center, and Photo Center Northwest.

Sandi Haber Fifield

I had the great pleasure of meeting Sandi Haber Fifield when she was visiting Los Angeles a few months ago. She shared with me her new book, Between Planting and Picking, published by Charta this year, and another lovely monograph, Walking through the World, also published by Charta in 2009. Sandi looks at the world in an organic and gestural way. Her new series, Between Planting and Picking, reveals the essence of farm life that is contemporary, yet timeless. Through her images of various farms, we can hear the whine of summer insects, smell the grasses and the harvest, hear the snap of the clothes left to dry on the line, and witness the details of a life grounded in the earth.

Planting trays and vines, 2009

Sandi lives in New York and has been making photographs since she received her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her photographs have been widely exhibited and included in exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, The DeCordova Museum, The Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, The Oakland Museum, The Southeast Museum of Photography, and The St. Louis Art Museum.

Sandi also recently opened an exhibition at KMR Arts in Washington, CT, titled Earth /Clay, with photographs from Between Planting and Picking coupled with terra cotta sculpture by Frances Palmer. Rick Wester Fine Art in NYC will be taking her work to Pulse LA (September 30-October 3rd) and Pulse Miami, (December 1-4th).

Blue Sky and Jackets will be shown at the Rick Wester Fine Art booth at Pulse LA

Between Planting and Picking explores the quiet moments and unexpected beauty that reveal the simple life of a small farm. Inspired by the rapid ascendency of the local food movement and the knowledge that the industrial food pipeline is not necessarily the best way to feed ourselves, I spent two seasons photographing small farms, many of which have been owned and cared for by families, some for generations. Although I was not on a search to document farming per se, the farms allowed me to balance the geographic with the geometric and they gave me a place for exploration within the unending cycle of growth and harvest.

All images courtesy Rick Wester Fine Art

Beginning in Northern California at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center, where farming is part of the Zen practice, to Beetlebung Farm in Chilmark, MA; from the orchards along the Mississippi River in Brussels, IL, to the grapes grown on Guy Beardsley’s eco-garden in Shelton, CT, I chronicled many places that, although far-flung, share a tangible spirit that is communicated in the most ordinary of details. There is a lot of sublime “waiting” in this project. I’ve purposefully looked at the seemingly mundane things we take for granted—all the better to convey the hard work that goes into nature’s bounty. I’m drawn to the authenticity of small farm life that congregates along the margins in myriad cast-off moments: sunlight on muslin seed bags, wooden crates, plastic mesh, buckets, pots, hoses, a lunar planting calendar, quirky signage. As I made more and more pictures, the candid beauty and improvised quality I discovered in the unkempt edges of these small farm environments became a focus. I hope it is within the banal details, unsuspecting and unnoticed, that a narrative unfolds, showing the beauty in the randomness and the re-purposing. To me, there is a metaphor in the unending cycle of growth and harvest for my own image making.

These photographs also began a visual retreat from my previous (and ongoing) bodies of work which explore relationships between multiple image configurations. Compressing images into one frame at a time was a departure.