Tag Archives: Lyle Rexer

Barbara Kasten in Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers

Barbara Kasten on her work Studio Construct 17 in The Edge of Vision Interview Series by Aperture Foundation.

While many might consider Barbara Kasten, whose portfolio was featured in Aperture 136, one of the foremost artists pushing the limits of  the photography, she herself considers her work pushing the limits of painting, drawing, and sculpture more through a particular use of photography.

Kasten was one of the artist’s covered in Lyle Rexer’s 2009 volume The Edge of Vision, a history of abstraction in photography that traces the roots of what might be a contemporary revival of the mode to early ‘modernist’ photographers like Aaron Siskind and László Maholy-Nagy.  However, as she explains in an interview with The Photography Post, she prefers to distance herself from terms like ‘abstract’ or ‘modernist.’ “What I do,” she says, “is neither a continuation nor a departure from their work but a conceptual event of my own.”

Most non-representational art is an abstraction of some originally recognizable form. Kasten considers her work, on the other hand, “as a process that transforms itself into something else.  Beginning with a simple, transparent, non-representational form, I create the image as I work through the possibilities of sculptural and lighting combinations to a new point of perception.”

She photographs assemblages that are built with mirrors, plexiglass, paper, and highly specific lighting situations, not to last, but for the sole purpose of the photograph. She distances her work from the discourse of engaging with the ‘real,’ and levels instead a strict focus on the sheer phenomenon of light.

Her latest exhibition, Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers with sculptor Justin Beal, opening Thursday, June 21, 2012 at Bortolami Gallery in New York (on view through August 3, 2012), is an attempt to explore the ways the artist tends to “mis”-lead the audience’s first reading of the work.

Find more about Kasten’s “approach to photography and what it means to ‘think like a painter’,” in another interview with Anthony Pearson of Frieze Magazine.

Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers
Opening reception:
Thursday June 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Exhibition on view:
Through August 3, 2012

Bartolami Gallery
520 West 20 St
New York, NY
(212) 727-2050

Marco Breuer: Condition

Footage from the opening reception at Von Lintel Gallery. Courtesy NYC Gallery Openings.

Marco Breuer, otherwise known as the “photographer without a camera,” has built a strong reputation over the course of the last 20 years exploring lens-less “photogenic” art. While many photographers today are employing more and more complex technology in their work, the German conceptual artist and 2006 Guggenheim fellow says his is an “ongoing attempt to strip down the photographic process, to remove the distractions of equipment, and to force imagery out of photographic paper itself.”

His latest solo exhibition Condition (on view at Von Lintel Gallery through June 23, 2012) presents work he made in and out of the darkroom, stressing photographic paper by exposing it to heat, light, and physical abrasion with “coal, sandpaper, heat guns, burning swaths of cotton, electric frying pans, and other unexpected objects,” as one interviewer catalogues.

Ranging from small photographic sketches, to larger 30 by 40-inch prints, “every individual piece constitutes a search, a move away from the given, a test of the materials’ limits,” the press release states. He fuses image and medium, “rendering them inseparable, one and the same.”

In 2007, Aperture published his monograph Early Recordings, the first comprehensive look at his boldly experimental work, alongside a limited edition slip-cased book which comes with a unique-to-each-edition Polaroid print. His work is also featured in Lyle Rexer’s sold out book, The Edge of Vision (Aperture 2009).

Read John Yau’s review of Breuer’s solo exhibition on HyperAllergic. View installation shots and photos from the opening reception on May 10, 2012 on the Von Lintel Gallery blog. And read interviews with the artist about his work on ARTLOG and on MPR.

Marco Breuer: Condition
Exhibition on view:
May 10 – June 23, 2012

Von Lintel Gallery
520 West 23 Street
New York, New York 10011
(212) 242-0599

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

Chuck Close: A Couple of Ways of Doing Something

Courtesy Market Street Productions

“While photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent,” Chuck Close says in the clip above for the “Artists & Alchemists” documentary feature, “I think it is the hardest medium in which to have a distinctive personal vision.”

Known for his unparalleled attention to detail in hyperrealist portraiture, Close explains in conveying that vision his predilection for using immensely revealing daguerreotypes, plates that capture just about the widest possible range of highlights and shadows with the use of strobe lights that capture quite literately the power of the sun.

This clip offers a bit of background on the labor intensive process that went into his series A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, on view at the Wichita Art Museum through this Sunday, April 15, 2012. The series features fifteen massive prints of the artist’s world-renowned friends (Cindy Sherman, Philip Glass, James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, to name a few) presented with microscopic intimacy, each alongside a poem by Bob Holman. The work was inspired in part by a collaborative series of lithographs done by poet/curator Frank O’Hara and artist Larry Rivers in the late 50s, as Close explains briefly in the accompanying interview from the 2006 Aperture monograph A Couple of Ways of Doing Something with Lyle Rexer, author of the Edge of Vision.

As photography moves forward becoming more widespread and accessible, in an era when the premium put on absolute originality is largely in question, sometimes reaching back for precedent can be as fruitful as rediscovering archaic technology. Or as Close puts it, “In 1840 virtually everything I love about photography was already there.”

Chuck Close: A Couple of Ways of Doing Something
Through Sunday, April 15, 2012
$7 adults, $5 seniors, and FREE for children

Wichita Art Museum
1400 West Museum Boulevard
Wichita, Kansas
(316) 268-4980

 

New Limited Edition Photograph by Michael Flomen

New Born, 2010 by Michael Floman

Aperture is pleased to release this special limited-edition 23″ x 18″ print by artist Michael Flomen titled New Born, 2010.  Flomen writes: “for me New Born, is a photographic document of a fragment of evolution. The image represents the birth of a new beginning.” It was made in a pond in Northern Vermont by dipping a glass plate negative into the water at night time.

Flomen’s work is also featured in the publication The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography (Aperture, 2009) by Lyle Rexer.  Read an excerpt from the book by Rexer on Flomen here:

takes photography’s desire for the real to its literal extreme, making photographs that are in direct contact with the natural elements he seeks to capture.  Working without a camera, he places sheets of black-and-white photographic paper in snowfields, streams, and other natural settings to register the activity of light in relation to natural phenomena. This environmental romanticism, so closely akin to Talbot’s intuition that photography allows nature to draw itself, represents a new adaptation of the photogram.

For fifteen years, this self-taught artist has collaborated with nature using this camera-less technique. Natural phenomena, he says, are the inspiration to his picture making.

 

The Role of Women in Photography at SVA


Mermaid swimming away, Weeki Wachee, 2003. © Lisa Kereszi

The Role of Women in Photography: Are We There Yet?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
6:30 pm

School of Visual Arts
209 East 23 Street
3rd floor amphitheater
New York, NY

Free with a valid college ID, $10 for general public

Elisabeth Biondi, former visuals editor at The New Yorker and currently an independent curator, will be moderating a discussion panel on the current role of women in photography at SVA. The panel includes photography critic and Aperture magazine contributing editor Vince Aletti, Aperture contributing writer Lyle Rexer (whose book The Edge of Vision was published by Aperture), as well as photographers Martine Fougeron, Lisa Kereszi, and Sarah Silver. The event is being presented by SVA’s MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Department, in partnership with Professional Women Photographers.

Collin Avery

Massachusetts photographer, Collin Avery, is at the beginning of what looks like a long and happy career as an imagemaker. While many of his peers are watching Curb Your Enthusiasm or still figuring out a life direction, Collin is going full speed ahead. He uses his camera as a communicative tool to emphasize the quiet subtleties of his world….and it seems to be working. Just this year his work has been exhibited in the Photo Center NW, 16th Annual Photo Competition, Seattle, WA, juried by Karen Irvine, the Soho Photo National Competition, Soho Photo Gallery, NYC, juried by Lyle Rexer, Inanimate, Flash Gallery, Lakewood Colorado, juried by Adam Lerner, and The Photoplace Open 2011, Photoplace Gallery, Middlebury, VT juried by Alison Nordstrom. He will also be featured in the Aground exhibition at Photo Center NW opening August 5th in Seattle.

In the project entitled, “Here Nor There,” I am continuing to examine my interest with the intricacies and oddities of my immediate environment. As a child, I always remember being very keen to my surroundings and paying close attention to the quiet nuances often overlooked by others. Growing up I would avoid confrontation; oftentimes imagining I could disappear with a hope of avoiding my social awkwardness.

As I matured, I realized that I thrived on being an outsider that lacked in social normalcy. I am an observer and my fear is confrontation. I do not consider this a negative attribute, although my friends and family alike would argue differently. By photographing people and objects, I am creating a delicate juxtaposition between the awkward interactions and subtle nuances in my life, confronting moments that I once chose to avoid.