Archive for the 'Gaston Bachelard' Category

20
Sep
13

Exhibition: ‘Density’ by Andrew Follows at Anita Traverso Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 27th August – 21st September 2013

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Only 2 days to go before the ending of Andrew Follows exhibition Density at ANITA TRAVERSO GALLERY, 7 Albert Street Richmond which I curated.

You have to see these images in person, they are impressively immersive!

Marcus

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PS. Preview all the images in the exhibition and read the catalogue essay at this previous posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Andrew Follows. 'Number 31, Eltham' 2013

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Andrew Follows
Number 31, Eltham
2013
Digital photograph on archival cotton rag
130 cm x 86.5 cm

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Density Logos

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Anita Traverso Gallery
7, Albert Street
Richmond, Vic 3121

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11 – 5

Anita Traverso Gallery website

Andrew Follow website

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22
Jan
12

Exhibition: ‘Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection’ at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates:  15th December 2011 – 26th January 2012

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Another wondrous photographer who needs more recognition! Out of the work I have seen the portraits are the strongest. Some of them feel like precursors to the confronting portraits of women made by Diane Arbus while others offer a more reflective, contemplative examination of human presence. Outstanding.

Many thankx to Alicia Colen for her help and to the Howard Greenberg Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

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Vivian Maier
Untitled (portrait of a woman)
date unknown
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
Untitled
c.1950′s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
Untitled
c.1950′s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
Untitled
c.1950′s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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“Howard Greenberg Gallery is proud to present the recently discovered work of street photographer, Vivian Maier (1926-2009), from the Maloof Collection.

A nanny by trade, Vivian Maier’s street and travel photography was discovered by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in Chicago. Always with a Rolleiflex around her neck, she managed to amass more than 2,000 rolls of films, 3,000 prints and more than 100,000 negative which were shared with virtually no one in her lifetime. Her black and white photographs-mostly from the 50s and 60s-are indelible images of the architecture and street life of Chicago and New York. She rarely took more than one frame of each image and concentrated on children, women, the elderly, and indigent. The breadth of Maier’s work also reveals a series of striking self-portraits as well as prints from her travels to Egypt, Bangkok, Italy, and the American Southwest, among dozens of other international cities.

“My fascination with her story has only grown, as has my involvement with her photographs. It is such an unusual story with no resolution. At first her images are extremely well seen, quality photographs of life on the street, in New York City and Chicago. But as one looks at the body of her work, she reveals her deeper interests. Then one tries to imagine who she was, what motivated her, her personality. It is not everyday that one becomes so involved and even obsessed with a particular photographer,” comments Howard Greenberg.

What little is known about Maier’s life is the result of John Maloof’s extensive research. He discovered her obituary on line in 2009 which was just the beginning of his investigative work. An American of French and Austro-Hungarian extraction, Maier split her time between Europe and the US, returning to NY in 1951. In 1956, she ultimately settled in Chicago where she worked as nanny for more than forty years. For a brief period in the 1970s she worked as a nanny to journalist, Phil Donahue’s children. Towards the end of her life, Maier was supported by the children she had cared for in the early 50s. Unbeknownst to them, one of Maier’s storage lockers (containing her massive group of negatives) was auctioned off due to delinquent payments.

After purchasing the first collection of Maier photographs in 2007, Maloof acquired more from another buyer at the same auction. He has since established the Maloof Collection to promote the work of Vivian Maier and to safeguard the archive for future generations. The archive consists of approximately 100,000 to 150,000 negatives; over 3,000 prints; hundreds of rolls of film; home movies; audio tape interviews, and other items representing roughly 90% of Maier’s work. Through Maloof’s efforts, Vivian Maier’s photographs have been exhibited internationally and have received significant critical attention. In November, Powerhouse Books will publish Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, edited by Maloof with a foreword by Geoff Dyer. John Maloof is also co-producing a documentary about Vivian Maier.

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Vivian Maier
Untitled
c.1950′s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
Uptown West, New York, NY, January 26, 1955
1955
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
Untitled, Chicago, May 16, 1957
1957
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Vivian Maier
New York City, Self-Portrait, September 10th, 1955
1955
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Howard Greenberg Gallery
The Fuller Building
41 East 57 Street
Suite 1406
New York, NY 10022
T: 212.334.0010

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Howard Greenberg Gallery website

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19
Sep
09

Review: ‘Climbing the Walls and Other Actions’ by Clare Rae at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 7th August – 27th September 2009

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All images by Clare Rae from the series ‘Climbing the Walls and Other Actions’ 2009. Many thankx to Clare for allowing me to publish them.

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Clare Rae. 'Untitled' from the series 'Climbing the Walls and Other Actions' 2009

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Clare Rae. 'Untitled' from the series 'Climbing the Walls and Other Actions' 2009

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“To withdraw into one’s corner is undoubtedly a meager expression. But despite its meagerness, it has numerous images, some, perhaps, of great antiquity, images that are psychologically primitive. At times, the simpler the image, the vaster the dreams.”

Gaston Bachelard.1

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Usually I am not a great fan of ‘faceless’ photography as I call it but this series of work, ‘Climbing the Walls and Other Actions’ (2009) by the artist Clare Rae is even better than the series by Tracey Moffatt in the previous review.

Exploring activities of the female body in closed domestic spaces these psychologically intense photographs push the physical boundaries of play through the navigation of space. As a child has little awareness about the inherent dangers of a seemingly benign environment so Rae’s self-portraits turn the lens on her conceptualisation of the inner child at play and the activating of the body in and through space. As the artist herself says, “the way children negotiate their surroundings and respond with an unharnessed spatial awareness, which I find really interesting when applied to the adult body.”2

Continuing the themes from the last review, that of spaces of intimacy and reverberation, these photographs offer us fragmentary dialectics that subvert the unity of the archetype, the unity of the body in space. Here the (in)action of the photographic freeze balances the tenuous positions of the body: a re-balancing of both interior and exterior space.

As Noel Arnaud writes, “Je suis l’espace ou je suis” (I am the space where I am).

Further, Bachelard notes “… by changing space, by leaving the space of one’s usual sensibilities, one enters into communication with a space that is psychically innovating.”3

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In these photographs action is opposed with stillness, danger opposed with suspension; the boundaries of space, both of the body and the environment, the interior and the exterior, memory and dream, are changed.
Space seems to open up and grow with these actions to become poetic space – and the simplicity of the images aids and abets the vastness of our dreams. This change of concrete space does not change our place, but our nature. Here the mapping of self in space, our existence, our exist-stance (to have being in a specified place whether material or spiritual), is challenged in the most beautiful way by these walls and actions, by these creatures, ambiguities, photographs.

Henri Lefebvre insightfully observes, “… each living body is space and has space: it produces itself in space and it also produces that space.”4

I am the (sublime) space where I am, that surrounds me with countless presences.

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Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Clare Rae. 'Untitled' from the series 'Climbing the Walls and Other Actions' 2009

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Clare Rae. 'Untitled' from the series 'Climbing the Walls and Other Actions' 2009

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“‘Climbing the Walls and Other Actions’ is primarily concerned with visually representing my experience of femininity, whilst also exploring aspects of representation that relate to feminism. The project considers the relationship between the body and space by including formal elements within each frame such as windows and corners. Through a sequence of precarious poses I explore my relationship with femininity, an approach born of frustration. I use the body to promote ideas of discomfort and awkwardness, resisting the passivity inherent in traditional representations of femininity. The images attempt to de-stabilise the figure, drawing tension from the potential dangers the body faces in these positions. Whilst the actions taking place are not in themselves particularly dangerous, the work demonstrates a gentle testing of physical boundaries and limitations via a child-like exploration of the physical environment.”

Text from the Centre for Contemporary Photography website

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clare_rae1

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Clare Rae. 'Untitled' from the series 'Climbing the Walls and Other Actions' 2009

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1. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, p.137.

2. Email from the artist 7th September, 2009

3. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969, p.206.

4. Lefebvre, Herni. The Production of Space. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974, p.170.

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Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy
Victoria 3065, Australia
Tel: + 61 3 9417 1549

Opening Hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 11am–6pm
Sunday, 1pm–5pm

Centre for Contemporary Photography website

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23
Nov
08

Review: ‘Disintegration’ by Robbie Rowlands at Place Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22nd October – 15th November 2008

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“The philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that objects are often invisible to us gathered up as they are within a context of functionality and use. It is only when things break down that we become aware of them, seeing them with fresh eyes. In many ways Heidegger’s observation could form the basis of an approach to Robbie Rowlands’ work. Rowlands takes objects that are often forgotten, invisible or transparent to us, objects that exist on the verge of disappearance, and stages a kind of ‘breakdown’, inviting us to rediscover the object, poised somewhere between what it was and what it might become.”

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Simon Cooper. Catalogue essay

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Robbie Rowlands. 'Scored' 2008

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Robbie Rowlands
Scored
2008
Goal post, steel
160cm x 130cm x 50cm
Photograph: Christian Capurro

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Sitting in pools of light in the elegant modern space of Place Gallery in Richmond, six theatrically lit sculptures are presented by artist Robbie Rowlands. Made of everyday objects (a boom gate, desk, chair, single bed, electricity pole, desk and footy goalpost) they have been de/constructed by the artist and reformed into curved objects. With ironic titles such as Down for the felled electricity pole and Collapse for the dismembered chair Rowland’s work hovers between one fixed state and an’other’ transformative state of being.

While the catalogue essay by Simon Cooper suggests that all of these objects are abandoned or nearly forgotten sharing a context of quasi-obsolescence, this is not the case. These were objects of purpose and form, the acts of ritualised production of a consumer society that contained signs that symbolised their status. In his creativity Rowland has used these technologies of production, which permit us to produce, transform or manipulate things to create new sensual forms of life. Some of the sculptures such as Boom (the boom gate; 2008, below) and Scored (the goal post; 2008, above) remind me of creatures emerging from the recesses of the unconscious, curling and rearing up like monsters from the deep. One of the most beautiful forms is the constructed white chair where the function of the object has collapsed into the essence of the form, like the surreal spatiality of a poetic Miro. As Gaston Bachelard reminds use in the Poetics of Space:

“The grace of a curve is an invitation to remain. We cannot break away from it without hoping to return. For the beloved curve has nest-like powers; it incites us to possession, it is a curved corner, inhabited geometry.”1

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Cooper suggests that the curved forms that Rowland creates were “already there in the original object, even as it was sat on, written on, or passed by on the way to work.” He rightly notes that the process used contains a certain violence, but that we remember and reconstruct the old form even as we respond to the new construction. For these sculptures are a construction not, I believe, inherent in the original form. This can be seen in the sculpture Boom (2008, below) for example, where Rowland has used additional pieces of metal to hold the curve of the boom gate in place. Without this skilfully added, hidden sub-structure the transformative shape would collapse onto the floor. Rowland inhabits and possesses his new geometry with as much technology as the original but not in such an obvious form.

At their best these sculptures are both poetic palimpsest and heterotopic objects of otherness that are neither here nor there. The work would have been stronger if only four pieces were presented in the gallery space – the sculptures needed more room to breathe (understanding the dictum that less is more). The sculptures themselves also needed greater thematic cohesiveness perhaps using the colour white as the unifying theme. But they are sensual and beautiful gestures and deserve the attention of your visit.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Robbie Rowlands. 'Boom' 2008

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Robbie Rowlands
Boom
2008
Rail boom gate, wooden
160cm x 160cm x 130cm
Photograph: Wren

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1. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, 1969 [originally 1958] p.146

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Place Gallery
20 Tennyson Street
Richmond Vic 3121
03 9429 8814

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11.00 – 5.00 pm

Robbie Rowlands on the Place Gallery website

Robbie Rowlands website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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