Tag Archives: Penelope Umbrico

The World in London

This summer, the world descends on London for the Olympic Games.  A photo project commissioned by the Photographer’s Gallery, however, shows us that the world is already there.  “The World in London” is a collection of 204 portraits of 204 Londoners, each of whom hail from one of the 204 countries competing in this year’s Games. Since each portrait was carried out by a different photographer, the style of the work is as diverse as its subjects: formal studio portraits, Skype screengrabs, and casual snapshots, by established artists and emerging talents, all make their way into the collection.  The resulting work is a portrait of both human and artistic diversity, showcasing one of the world’s most international cities through the lenses of some of its most creative photographers.  See photographs by Martin Parr, Stephen Shore, Rinko Kawauchi, Penelope Umbrico and 200 others at The World in London.

Penelope Umbrico Photography @ FoMu, Antwerp

Photo (c) Penelope Umbrico

The photography of Penelope Umbrico is often described as offering a sort of “radical reinterpretation” of photographic practice, or shedding “a radical new light” on the medium, conceptually, formally, and in several ways between. The artist produces by means of “aesthetic and conceptual chops,” famously appropriating images found using search engines and picture sharing websites, translating the digital realm’s relentless flow of images into conceptual works of photography.

FoMu’s upcoming exhibition of this particularly new course of photographic practice places Umbrico’s work in good company. From Here On, on view June 6 through September 30 2012, features an international roster of artists who create their work with the overload of digital images they find on the internet.

“They recycle, clip and cut pictures from Google Earth, Google Street View, Facebook, Flickr, etc. Does this mean that traditional photography is dead? With this exhibition, FoMu opens the debate on issues such as copyright, authorship, privacy and the future of photography.”

From Here On
June 22 through September 30, 2012
FoMu – Photo Museum
Antwerp, Belgium

From Here On shows the work of artists such as Hans Aarsman (NL, °1951), art collective Leo Gabin (BE), Constant Dullaart (NL, °1979), Mishka Henner (UK, °1976), Thomas Mailaender (FR, °1979), Willem Popelier (NL, °1982), Doug Rickard (US, °1968), Andreas Schmidt (DE, °1967), Pavel MariaSmejkal (CZ, °1957), Penelope Umbrico (US, °1957), Corinne Vionnet (SH, °1969) and HermanZschiegner (DE, °1971).

Curators: Clément Cheroux (FR, curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris), Joan Fontcuberta (ES, explores the conflict between nature, technology, photography and truth), Erik Kessels (NL, Creative Director communications agency KesselsKramer, Amsterdam and London), Martin Parr (UK, Magnum photographer) and Joachim Schmid (DE, has been working with found photography since 1980).
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›› Refer to our previous Penelope Umbrico-centric stories for more information and media surrounding this artist’s body of digital work.
›› View From Here On curator and Magnum photojournalist Martin Parr in conversation with Rinko Kawauchi.
›› Buy Penelope Umbrico (Photographs) for 20% off.

The London Photographers’ Gallery Reopens with Edward Burtynsky and Animated GIFs

© Kate Elliott, Courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery

Likely few would consider animated GIF images–those primitive computer animations often just a few pixels wide–fit enough for a photography exhibition. Perhaps that’s because there has yet to be a space fit enough to exhibit them. Now, London’s Photographers’ Gallery, which finally reopened this May with double the exhibition space after an 18-month, £9.2m renovation, offers digital facilities to support a rapidly evolving medium.

One of the main reasons behind the renovation which began in 2010, Gallery Director Brett Rogers says in a video interview with the Guardian, was to develop ”facilities that are fit for purpose in the 21st century, to show works of a larger scale, but also to reflect the conditions in which most people experience photography.”

The Soho gallery was the first independent public space in Britain devoted to photography when it was founded in the 1970s. Today, in addition to three floors of gallery space, room enough for the commanding, large-scale prints in their inaugural exhibition of Edward Burtynsky’s oil photographs (on view through July 1, 2012), they’ve also built what they call a “digital wall.”

This display, located near the gallery entrance, is made up of eight large screens presenting a running program of digital images visible from the outside street. Wendy McMurdo, one of 40 artists that includes Penelope Umbrico, was asked to produce a moving image GIF for the wall by Katrina Sluis, the galley’s new curator of digital programing. McMurdo writes on the FOAM blog on the “joy” of contributing to their inaugural digital exhibition Born in 1987: the animated GIF (on view through July 1, 2012). This initiative, McMurdo says, demonstrates the gallery’s “recognition that it is in the digital and social domain that photography must, ultimately, discover its new purposes and new meaning.”

On the other hand, the Photographers’ Gallery is also offering opportunity to counterbalance what Edwin Heathcote for the Financial Times calls the “culture of browsing and glancing”–when people end up scanning thousands of images a day–that has come to prominence with such development. One room in the space is dedicated to exhibiting a single image that will change four times a year.

Moreover, their new education center doubles as a camera obscura, which in conjunction with the digital wall, Rogers says, should “enable people to reflect on the history of optics,” in its entirety.

Burtynsky: Oil
Exhibition on view:
May 19 – July 1, 2012

Born in 1987: the animated GIF
Exhibition on view:
May 19 – July 1, 2012

This Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm, join Katrina Sluis for a FREE discussion on “Curating the Digital Image.”

The Photographers’ Gallery
16 – 18 Ramillies Street
London, UK W1F 7LW
+44(0)20 7087 9300

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

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

 

Penelope Umbrico and Brian Ulrich in Conversation

Penelope Umbrico on her piece For Sale/TVs From Craigslist at Aperture (May, 2009).

Consumer culture can be an ugly reality to face. Despite what might seem to be an oxymoronic concept, the contemporary sense of self is increasingly predicated on possessive individualism, a self-definition by way of consumption, or more simply put, the thought: ‘I am what I buy.’ Not only has shopping long become a pastime, so too has the proclamation of these purchases across social media.

This consumer culture is what we the audience are confronted with in the work of Penelope Umbrico and Brian Ulrich. On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, two of the most exciting photographers working today, come together for a conversation about how their use of images address this facet of our society. The event will take place at Julie Saul Gallery, where Ulrich currently has his exhibition Is This Place Great or What: Artifacts and Photographs on view through May 5, 2012.

Umbrico’s work over the past few decades offers a radical doubletake on the consumer and vernacular images with which we are bombarded. She aggregates photographs that follow a kind of “script,” compiling thousands of somehow related images found on social media websites like Craigslist and Flickr. Some are selling used products, others are sharing personal but generic vacation moments. All, however, have hints of privacy or intimacy in them. As she explains in the clip above, the used TVs people sell on Craigslist often bear reflections of themselves or their apartments. Her most recognized work Suns From Flickr, which made the cover of her conceptual first monograph from Aperture in Fall, 2011 Penelope Umbrico (photographs), is made up of thousands of found snapshots, generic vacation photos tagged with term “sunset,” cropped down to sun alone, sometimes 5% of the original photograph, and installed on a mural-sized grid.  The monumental result is meant to explore ”what [these images] can tell us about our relationship to photography, technology and each other.”

Ulrich’s work on view at Julie Saul is part of a decade-long exploration of the American consumer landscape for a series called Copia. The project, he explains for Time’s Lightbox, is something he embarked on as a response to the president’s call for the nation to bolster the economy in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by way of shopping. The series, comprised in three parts tracking the degradation of this consumer cycle–”Retail,” “Thrift,” and “Dark Stores,”–was also published by Aperture in Fall, 2011 as Ulrich’s first monograph, Is This Place Great or What.

Gurnee, IL (2003); from the series Retail (c) Brian Ulrich/Aperture Foundation

Retail” features often vibrant candy-colored, mostly medium-format images taken in big box stores. He captured candid moments with the help of a waist-high viewfinder. The nameless shoppers within his frame carry hollow expressions that convey a kind of alienated stupor during the precise moment, Ulrich says, “the Germans call Konsumieren Rausch or Consumer Intoxication.” “Thrift” features more cluttered images of consignment stores and second-hand shops where the original goods are discarded, while “Dark Stores,” features images of derelict, hollowed out, abandoned malls and shopping centers across the country that have shut their doors.

Belz Factory Outlets (2009), from the series Dark Stores (c) Brian Ulrich/Aperture Foundation

Penelope Umbrico and Brian Ulrich In Conversation
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm
FREE

Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22nd Street, #6F
New York, New York
(212) 627-2410

Armory Arts Week New York

Clockwise from the top: Hank Willis Thomas’ “After Identity, What?, 2011,” Richard Mosse’s “Débris, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2011,” and Lars Tunbjork’s “42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, from the Times Square portfolio published May 18, 1997.”

Armory Week is almost here. Join us on Saturday, March 10 for our annual all-day Armory Collectors Brunch to mix and mingle with friends and colleagues in the heart of Chelsea’s art district. The event will include a special walk through of the current exhibition Shared Vision, with Marcelle Polednik, Director MOCA Jacksonville and collectors Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla at 11:00 am, followed by book signings with Aperture artists including Bruce Davidson, Richard Mosse, Brian Ulrich, Penelope Umbrico, collector Bill Hunt.

Saturday, March 10, 10:00 am–1:00 pm
FREE

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

During Armory Arts Week, you can also visit Aperture at the eleventh annual SCOPE New York Art Fair. You can see some of our newest limited-edition prints from artists Hank Willis Thomas’ “After Identity, What?, 2011,” Lars Tunbjork’s “42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, from the Times Square portfolio published May 18, 1997” and Richard Mosse’s “Débris, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, 2011.”

This year, SCOPE’s VIP first view will take place on Wednesday, March 7 at an exciting, high profile location across from The Armory Show. The 35,000 square foot pavilion and its dramatic glass box entrance on 57th Street and 12th Ave will host 50 international galleries and museum-quality programming highlighting groundbreaking, emerging work in contemporary art and beyond.

First View:
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
3:00 pm–9:00 pm

Fair Continues:
Thursday, March 8, 2012-Sunday, March 11, 2012

Admission required.

SCOPE Pavilion
57th St & 12th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
212-268-1522

Holiday Book Bazaar: Saturday, December 10! 11 am- 6 pm

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