29
Dec
10

Exhibition: ‘The Monstropolous Beast’ by Will Steacy at Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 17th November 2010 – 15th January 2011

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Many thankx to Christophe Guye Galerie for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Burned Car, Los Angeles’
2009
from “Down these Main Streets”, 2009
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 – , American)
‘Home Delivery, Los Angeles’
2009
from “Down these Main Streets”, 2009
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Lovers, New Branford’
2007
from “All my Life I have the same Dream”, 2007
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Memorial, Philadelphia’
2009
from “Down these Main Streets”, 2009
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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The monstropolous beast had left his bed. Two hundred miles an hour wind had loosed his chains. He seized hold of his dikes and ran forward until he met the quarters; uprooted them like grass and rushed on after his supposed-to- be conquerors, rolling the dikes, rolling the houses, rolling the people in the houses along with other timbers. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel.

From Zola Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Christophe Guye Galerie is pleased to present The Monstropolous Beast, Will Steacy’s (*1980, American) first solo exhibition outside the United States.

For his first solo exhibition at the Christophe Guye Galerie, Will Steacy is showing a cross-section of his past years of creative working. Showing 28 new and recent photographs, The Monstropolous Beast is the first exhibition to comprehensively portray Steacy’s whole body of work to date. Once named “the lovechild of Charles Bukowski and Dorothea Lange” Steacy’s work is poetic and confrontational alike, at once evoking photojournalist documentation and romanticised realism.

Steacy’s imaginary stems from his experiences, encounters and the desire to awaken. His work quietly observes, holding on to moments of apparent silence that would pass unnoticed had he not been there to click the shutter. Breathtaking and touching, the emotional force of the artist’s work allows the viewer to intimately connect with the subject. Deeply philosophical, the camera permits him to ask questions, to truly see and think. It is for Steacy a tool with which to understand the world; an understanding he wants to convey to his viewers.

His method of inquiry is a large format film camera. Photographing the depleted city centres and rural suburbs of America, Steacy has spent the last years travelling his country to create a body of work that through its social connotations goes beyond simple photography. As a former Union Labourer, one can sense the humanistic approach to Steacy’s art. While deeply personal, Steacy works with the intention to create awareness, challenging people to look inward.

A key series in the exhibition is Down These Mean Streets, for which the artist examined fear and abandonment of America’s inner cities. The reality experienced at night on the streets is so haunting it becomes a hyper reality; laden with emotional and mental attachment, in works such as Memorial or Home Delivery the energy and courage that spark the artist’s work is intensely apparent. Factories, deserted streets and inhabitants of neglected neighbourhoods are his subjects. By addressing the loss and despair that reign in US metropolitan communities, his aim is to reveal a modern day portrait of the reality in American urban centres.

Though still early in his career, the almost ordinary or unspectacular subject matters depicted in the works shown bring to mind the works of William Eggleston or Martin Parr. Demonstrating a distinctive ability to find beauty or fascination in commonplace scenes, and illustrating them with vivid displays of colour and luminosity, Steacy’s works take a critical look at modern society and human conditions, bring viewers uncomfortably close to an often sombre reality.

What at first glance appears like a simple capturing of ordinary people, everyday situations and mundane settings or situations, unravels into a multifaceted portrayal of society, its people, places, race, class, and boundaries. Through a life-changing experience, Steacy turned to art, devoting “everything I have to my art, this gift, this thing that is the reason I am alive… Coming that close to death will change a man. Life has had a new meaning since then, and I wake up every day happy to be alive, happy to chase this dream.” Frank and profound alike, unostentatious and similarly intense Steacy’s work is about life: life today in 21st century America, where layers of seeming simplicity unfolds before our eyes.”

Press release from the Christophe Guye Galerie website

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Will Steacy (1980 – , American)
‘Motel Room’
2007
from “We are all in this Together”, 2007
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Pawn Shop, Memphis’
2007
from “All my Life I have the same Dream”, 2007
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm ( 24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Power Plant, Philadelphia’
2008
from “Down these Main Streets”, 2009
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm (24 x 30 in.)

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Will Steacy (1980 -, American)
‘Liz, Philadelphia’
2007
from “All my Life I have the same Dream”, 2007
Archival pigment prints
61 x 76,2 cm  24 x 30 in.)

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Christophe Guye Galerie
Dufourstrassse 31
8008 Zurich, Switzerland
p: +41 44 252 01 11

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Christophe Guye Galerie 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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