Archive for September, 2013

29
Sep
13

Review: ‘Tangent’ by Michael Corridore at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 11th September – 5th October 2013

.

This is a patchy exhibition by Michael Corridore at Edmund Pearce Gallery.

The four small images from the initial foray into digital collage (the top four photographs below, all 2001) are the most striking and effective works in the exhibition. Lucid in their Duchampian layering and movement, these beautiful photographs most clearly express the conceptual ideas behind the collages. The four pieces literally stopped me in my tracks when I saw them in the gallery space. The colours are bold, the overlapping and movement refined and the effect on this viewer was profound, so intense was the visualisation of the work.

The new photographs possess a different order of being. Subtle and requiring greater contemplation there were only five images that impinged on my consciousness in the rest of the exhibition (the first five photographs after the press release below, all 2013). Even the best of them seem more an exercise in the formal qualities of digital collage rather than the élan vital of the earlier work. While Corridore re-interprets “what we see from differing perspectives and synthesize[s] those components of our observations and memory information into a two-dimensional image,” what he produces are images that are not that memorable. Interesting exercises, perhaps, in the topography of being, but not that memorable or emotive as images.

The rest of the new photographs simply did not work for me. Either there was not enough for this viewer to hang his hat on (visually speaking) or the image was so subtle and occluded behind the glass of the frame that the viewer gets no feeling, no presence from the image at all. (Of course, this is the perennial difficulty of framing dark or subtle work in a gallery environment, the ability of the viewer to actually see the work if glass or perspex is placed in front of it. Either you pin the work to the wall, or frame it without glass, or mount on aluminium but all but the latter precludes the easy sale to customers who want an artwork ready to purchase off the gallery wall). Tangentially speaking, it is as if the train of thought of the artist has wandered as he seeks other pathways to creation, pathways that fail to interestingly develop the initial topic of conversation.

It is all very well to go off at a tangent (defined as a line, curve, or surface meeting another line, curve, or surface at a common point and sharing a common tangent line or tangent plane at that point; a sudden digression or change of course), but the meeting point between artist’s intentions and the viewer’s reception have to at some point possess some common ground of interest and understanding. As it stands, I will always, always remember Corridore’s initial ‘fictional realities’ for their intensity and beauty but the later work will seep from my mind as easily as thought placed it there.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to Edmund Pearce Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form Collage 0004' 2001

.

Michael Corridore
Form Collage 0004
2001
Archival pigment print
20 x 26.5 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form Collage 0015' 2001

.

Michael Corridore
Form Collage 0015
2001
Archival pigment print
26.5 x 20 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form Collage 0001' 2001

.

Michael Corridore
Form Collage 0001
2001
Archival pigment print
26.5 x 20 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form Collage 0003' 2001

.

Michael Corridore
Form Collage 0003
2001
Archival pigment print
26.5 x 20 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

.

Although a departure from the Angry Black Snake series and ongoing landscape work, Tangents reflects Michael’s deep artistic practise and an ability to experiment confidently with different techniques and styles. Such strong technique reflects this photographer’s mastery of his craft.

Michael Corridore’s primary interest in his fine-art and commercial photography has been in inventing new narratives. Whether it is spectators shrouded in the smoke of burning rubber, his unique portraits of the famous and not so famous, capturing empty urban everyday spaces, or external landscapes that are at times exceptionally beautiful or beautifully strange and mysterious, you cannot help but be drawn in by Corridore’s ‘fictional realities’.

In this new series, Tangents, Corridore uses references to Cubism and art history, redefining such ideas in a modern photographic context. This project was commenced in 2000 and now in 2013 it has been fully realised by the artist due to advances in digital capture technology. Vibrant and subtle colour can now be fully preserved in the collage process.

“In this series of collages, I have returned to a series that I had started in 2000. The original series resulted in about a dozen or so photographs. My first attempts at collage were through printing negatives onto black and white Lithographic film and layering multiple sheets of those films onto a light box and photographing the assembled sheets as collages.

From there I decided to experiment with digital capture of the original components and assemble the layers in photoshop so that I could preserve colour, which was lost in the lithographic printing process. This was my first foray into working with digital capture technology.

In the past year I began to explore this collage process again photographing various forms working with life models, mannequins and various household objects which offered me the opportunity to explore both malleable and solid forms and shapes that could be layered together in the assembled collages.

This exploration in collage stems from my interest in the Cubists approach to re-interpreting what we see from differing perspectives and synthesize those components of our observations and memory information into a two-dimensional image.”

Michael Corridore artist statement 2013

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 3784' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 3784
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 3781' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 3781
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 4107' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 4107
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 4102' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 4102
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 0137' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 0137
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

Michael Corridore. 'Form 3783' 2013

.

Michael Corridore
Form 3783
2013
Archival pigment print
100 x 67 cm
© Michael Corridore

.

.

Edmund Pearce Gallery
Level 2, Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street (corner Flinders Lane)
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11 am – 5 pm

Edmund Pearce Gallery website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

26
Sep
13

Exhibition: ‘Un/Natural Color’ at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Exhibition dates: 7th July – 29th September 2013

.

Many thankx to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Un/Natural Color' at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Un/Natural Color' at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Installation photograph of the exhibition 'Un/Natural Color' at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

.

Installation photographs of the exhibition Un/Natural Color at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

.

“This exhibition looks at the powerful relationship between color and memory by considering photographs and the ways in which their unique color palettes evoke specific moments of the historical past. From the pastel hues of 19th-century hand-painted portraits, to the vibrant colors of late-1930s Kodachrome transparencies, and the faded, shifted tones of snapshots from the 1970s, different kinds of color reproduction are closely associated with the time periods that they most frequently represent. Each experiment in color photography was originally meant to convey a sense of the natural hues of the world, but as our expectations for realistic representation have evolved, these earlier technologies for representing color have also taken on new meaning. Today, the distinctive colors found in many vintage photographs speak as loudly to contemporary viewers about the period in which they were made as the content that they render visible. The exhibition suggests that the aesthetics of color are closely related to the evolution of photographic technology over the past 100 years, and encourages visitors to rethink the significance of color in contemporary photography through the lens of its multi-colored past. This exhibition was organized by Kim Beil, an art historian who teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz.”

Text from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art website

.

Jack Delano. 'Barker at the Grounds of the Vermont State Fair, Rutland' 1941, printed 1983

.

Jack Delano
Barker at the Grounds of the Vermont State Fair, Rutland
1941, printed 1983
Dye transfer print
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of the Bruce Berman and Nancy Goliger Berman Collection

.

Jack Delano. 'At the Vermont State Fair, Rutland' 1941, printed 1985

.

Jack Delano
At the Vermont State Fair, Rutland
1941, printed 1985
Dye transfer print
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of the Bruce Berman and Nancy Goliger Berman Collection

.

William Eggleston. 'Farm truck, Memphis, Tennessee' 1972

.

William Eggleston
Farm truck, Memphis, Tennessee
1972

.

2006.73.1-WEB

.

Leroy Grannis
Greg Noll Surf Team at Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, Sunset Beach
1966, printed 2005
C-print, ed. 1/9
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds provided by Janet and Michael G. Wilson

.

.

“Un/Natural Color, an exhibition of color photography from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s (SBMA) permanent collection, illustrates the history of color photography since the 19th century and examines how the shifted or faded colors of old photographs can evoke moments in the historical past. Responding to the widespread use of nostalgic filters in popular photography and social media apps, such as Instagram and Twitter, this presentation enables visitors to see first-hand the historical processes that inspired the aesthetics of these digital manipulations. Despite their reputation for preserving memories and stopping time, photographs themselves are susceptible to material changes over time. These changes are often most visible in the radical color shifts seen in old photographs, from the characteristic pink hue of snapshots from the 1950s to the yellowed borders and cool cast of prints from the 1970s. These changes also serve to complicate any simple belief in the ability of photography to faithfully represent the natural colors of the world.

While the exhibition includes a number of experimental early processes, including the chromolithographically-derived Photochrom process as well as an early Autochrome, the bulk of the imagery is drawn from the decades following the pivotal invention of Kodachrome, the first color slide film, which was made commercially available in 1936. Because this film, as well as Kodacolor negative film (1942), was sent back to Eastman-Kodak for processing, photographers’ control over their imagery was greatly reduced, leading many art photographers to resist the transition to color until decades later.

Un/Natural Color includes rarely-seen color work by two notable documentary photographers of the Depression era, Jack Delano and Marion Post Wolcott. Both worked for the Farm Security Administration (a government program associated with the New Deal) and made limited use of color film while on assignment documenting the effects of the Great Depression on rural American. Very few (if any) of these images were reproduced in the popular press, however, owing to the difficulty and cost of reproducing color photographs, and to color photography’s overwhelming association with commercial advertising at this time (as in Elmar Ludwig and Edmund Nagel’s image of the popular resort chain, Butlin’s).

The art establishment at large expressed little interest in color photography until the mid-1970s, following the inclusion of color work in two groundbreaking exhibitions: Stephen Shore’s vernacular landscapes in New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY (1975) and the solo exhibition of William Eggleston’s color photography at the Museum of Modern Art, NY (1976). Both of these important photographers are represented in Un/Natural Color, as well as work by photographers exploring similar uses of color to record everyday American scenes, including Jeff Brouws, Jim Dow, and Joel Meyerowitz.

Prior to the 1970s, some tentative forays into color photography were made by art photographers primarily known for their work in black-and-white (notably Harry Callahan), but color was more often derided for its populist associations and was typically allied with either snapshot photography or advertising and Hollywood. The negative connotation that color photography had acquired over the years in the art world was critical to its adoption by photographers like Shore and Eggleston, who used it to challenge conventional expectations for photographic art and to force viewers to look with new eyes at the familiar world around them.

An image such as Greg Noll Surf Team at Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, Sunset Beach by Leroy Grannis highlights the powerful ability of color photography to summon a unique historical moment. It is not just the classic haircut and short surf trunks sported by the surf legend, Greg Noll, that situates this photograph in the 1960s. Color photography at this time typically recorded color in a highly saturated, though fairly uniform manner, leaving some aspects of this photograph looking flat, rather than mimicking the subtle modulation of tone that is more commonly associated with the perception of depth by human vision.

The characteristic manner by which different color processes represent the colors of the world, as well as the changes that such color photographs suffer over time, are powerful indicators of the photograph’s history. When we look at color photographs, all of these markers are brought to bear on our interpretation of their subjects, leading us to question: what is natural color anyway?”

Press release from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art website

.

Roman Freulich. 'Gloria Swanson' Nd

.

Roman Freulich
Gloria Swanson
Nd
Dye transfer print
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Judith Caditz, Allan M. Caditz, Ellen Joan Abramson and Norman Abramson

.

1986.22.22-WEB

.

William Edwin Gledhill
Amanda Duff
1935
Dye transfer print
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Gift of Keith Gledhill

.

Elmar Ludwig and Edmond Nagele. 'The Indoor-Heated Pool, Butlin’s Mosney' Nd

.

Elmar Ludwig and Edmond Nagele
The Indoor-Heated Pool, Butlin’s Mosney
Nd

.

William Henry Jackson. 'Colorado Railway Mountain View' 1898

.

William Henry Jackson
Colorado Railway Mountain View
1898
Photochrom
Santa Barbra Museum of Art, Museum purchase

.

2010.6.3-Jackson-WEB

.

William Henry Jackson
Colorado Grand Canyon of the Arkansas
1898
Photochrom
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum purchase

.

Saul Leiter. 'Snow' 1960

.

Saul Leiter
Snow
1960

.

.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday Evenings 5 – 8 pm

Santa Barbara Museum of Art website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

24
Sep
13

Exhibition: ‘In Focus: Ed Ruscha’ at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 9th April – 29th September 2013

.

“Yes, there’s a certain power to a photograph. The camera has a way of disorienting a person, if it wants to and, for me, when it disorients, it’s got real value.”

“My pictures are not that interesting, nor the subject matter. They are simply a collection of “facts;” my book is more like a collection of “Ready-mades.””

.
Ed Ruscha

.

.
Cultural curiosities. A language of the street.

.
Many thankx to the J. Paul Getty Museum for allowing me to publish some of the photographs in the posting. The rest I sourced from the internet (and spent hours cleaning) to make a better posting about the exhibition. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Contact sheet for Pacific Coast Highway' 1974

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Contact sheet for Pacific Coast Highway
1974
Inkjet print
32.8 x 48.2 cm (12 15/16 x 19 in.)
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
© Edward Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Camera-ready Maquette for Every Building on the Sunset Strip' 1966

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Camera-ready Maquette for Every Building on the Sunset Strip
1966
Gelatin silver print on board
63.5 x 92.1 cm (24 15/16 x 36 1/4 in.)
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
© Edward Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Beeline, Holbrook, Arizona' 1962

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Beeline, Holbrook, Arizona
1962
Gelatin silver print
11.7 x 12.1 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Shell, Daggett, California' 1962

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Shell, Daggett, California
1962
Gelatin silver print
11.9 x 12 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Standard, Figueroa Street, Los Angeles' 1962

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Standard, Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
1962
Gelatin silver print
12.4 x 14.6 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) 'Standard, Amarillo, Texas' 1962

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
Standard, Amarillo, Texas
1962
Gelatin silver print
11.8 x 12.1 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

.

“In Focus: Ed Ruscha, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Getty Center, April 9 – September 29, 2013, offers a concentrated look at Ruscha’s deep engagement with Los Angeles’s vernacular architecture and the urban landscape. The exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in Los Angeles, and opens simultaneously with Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940-1990, another exhibition presented at the Getty Museum as part of this regional initiative. The Overdrive exhibition also contains images by Ruscha.

One of the most influential American artists working today, Ed Ruscha moved to Los Angeles in 1956 and continues to live and work in the city, incorporating local architecture, streets, and even the city’s attitude into paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs that are known for their graphic directness. Beginning in the 1960s, he began publishing photobooks and using photographs to document thoroughfares in the Los Angeles area.

“Throughout his career, photography has played an important role in Ruscha’s exploration of the vernacular architecture, urban landscape, and car culture of Los Angeles,” commented Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “By bringing together photographs from our collection and archival materials from the Getty Research Institute, we have been able to present a much richer understanding of Ruscha’s work and process.”

Highlighting an important joint acquisition of the artist’s work by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute in 2011, this exhibition features a selection of vintage prints related to Twentysix Gasoline Stations (1963) and Some Los Angeles Apartments (1965), the original camera-ready maquettes for Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966), and contact sheets from this documentation of the Pacific Coast Highway (1974). The exhibition is co-­curated by Virginia Heckert, curator in the Department of Photographs at the Getty Museum, and John Tain, assistant curator in Collection Development at the Getty Research Institute.

“Gas stations and apartment buildings are among the quintessentially Southern Californian motifs that feature in Ruscha’s work,” says Heckert. “The Getty Museum’s acquisition of photographs made in conjunction with his photo books of the early 1960s gives us the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for the logos, signage, and language that enliven even the most banal architecture.”

Adds Tain, “What’s exciting about the photography that came out of Ruscha’s documentation of the Sunset Strip is that it really altered the sense of what was possible with street photography, which had always been from the viewpoint of the pedestrian. Today we have the Google Maps roving fleet of camera cars, but Ruscha was doing this kind of photography more than forty years ago.”

The exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate Ruscha’s photographs not as halftone reproductions in modest, mass-produced books, but as prints of the period. One of the best known images included in the exhibition is Standard, Amarillo, Texas (1962), which Ruscha used as the basis for his iconic oil painting Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963). Other unpublished images from the iconic series of gasoline stations will be on view as well. Also included are the original camera-ready maquettes and press pulls for Every Building on the Sunset Strip, Ruscha’s fourth and arguably best-known photobook. Due to light sensitive annotations, each panel will be on view for eight weeks. The complete set of three maquettes will be on view during the first week of the exhibition only, April 9-14.

On display for the first time is a selection of contact sheets of the Pacific Coast Highway, representing a small sample of this monumental undertaking. Ruscha’s documentation captures the dramatically different landscapes of both the view west toward the Pacific Ocean and the view east toward the cliffs. The Pacific Coast Highway is just one of several streets that Ruscha has photographed over the past four and a half decades, beginning in 1965 with Sunset Boulevard. These contact sheets are part of Ruscha’s Streets of Los Angeles archive, including thousands of photographic negatives, proof sheets, contact prints, and related documents and ephemera, which was acquired by the Getty Research Institute in 2011. Nearly sixty photographs were acquired by the Getty Museum at the same time, making the Getty a preeminent resource for understanding the role of photography in Ruscha’s practice.

In Focus: Ed Ruscha is co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute, and features 50 works from both collections.”

Press release from the J. Paul Getty Museum website

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '708 S. Barrington Ave. [The Dolphin]' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
708 S. Barrington Ave. [The Dolphin]
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.8 x 11.9 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '1018 S. Atlantic Blvd.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
1018 S. Atlantic Blvd.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
10.8 x 11.1 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '1323 Bronson' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
1323 Bronson
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.8 x 12 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '1555 Artesia Blvd.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
1555 Artesia Blvd.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.1 x 11.4 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '4489 Murietta Ave.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
4489 Murietta Ave.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.4 x 11.4 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '5947 Carlton Way' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
5947 Carlton Way
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.9 x 12 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '6565 Fountain Ave.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
6565 Fountain Ave.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.8 x 11.8 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '10433 Wilshire Blvd.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
10433 Wilshire Blvd.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.7 x 11.8 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '818 Doheny Dr.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
818 Doheny Dr.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
11.6 x 11.7 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) '3919 N. Rosemead Blvd.,' 1965

.

Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937)
3919 N. Rosemead Blvd.,
1965
Gelatin silver print
12 x 12 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© Ed Ruscha

.

.

The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049

Opening hours:
Tues – Friday 10 am – 5.30 pm
Saturday 10 am – 9 pm
Sunday 10 am – 9 pm
Monday closed

The J. Paul Getty Museum website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

22
Sep
13

Review: ‘Carol Jerrems: photographic artist’ at the Monash Gallery of Art, Wheelers Hill, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 6th July – 30th September 2013

A National Gallery of Australia exhibition

*PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS ART PHOTOGRAPHS OF FEMALE NUDITY – IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

.

.

The one and only…

This is a fascinating National Gallery of Australia exhibition about the work of Australian photographer Carol Jerrems at Monash Gallery of Art, Wheelers Hill – in part both memorable, intimate, informative, beautiful, uplifting and disappointing. Let me explain what I mean.

The first section of the exhibition is devoted to Jerrems student work, notably her experiments with overlapping bodies, depth of field, movement and the layering of space and time that can be seen in her vibrant photoboooks and concertina books (see installation photographs below), accompanied by her own poems. This early work, which I had never seen, provides a wonderful insight into how the later images came to be: the shooting down hallways into the light, the pairing and tripling of bodies one behind the other, and how she constructed narrative in her later set piece photographs. This is the informative part of the exhibition.

As the exhibition moves on to the main body of Jerrems work there, in all their glory, are the famous images: Evonne Goolagong, Melbourne (1973), Flying dog (1973), Vale Street (1975), Mark and Flappers (1975), Mark Lean: rape game (1975), Mozart Street (1975), Butterfly behind glass [Red Symons from Skyhooks] (1975), Lyn (1976), Lyn and the Buick (1976), Dusan and Esben, Cronulla (1977), the self portraits and the lads with their car down by the river bank. These are memorable, intimate images, at the top of tree in terms of their importance as some of the greatest images taken by any Australian photographer of all time. They are right up there with the very best and there is no denying this. But what else is there? Take away the top dozen images of any photographer and look at the next twenty images. Now, what do you see? In Jerrems case, the results (as evidenced by this exhibition) are a little disappointing. Of course, this is not unusual with any artist.

In her low key, diaristic documentary style, Jerrems focuses on life before her lens. She finds joy, intimacy, love, danger, transgression and rape; she portrays women and gay liberation, youth on the streets, sharpies and the indigenous population. As Christopher Allen notes, sexuality and its darker side was never far from the surface in Jerrems work and there was a “mix of defiance, erotic assertiveness and vulnerability of that time… [an] intimate closeness to the subject and the direct and unmodified transcription of the world before her.”1 Her intelligent imaging of everyday subject matter “produced a body of photographs that symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the counter-culture in Australia in the 1970s,” but this investigation did not produce particularly memorable photographs. Outside the top group of images I am struggling to remember her other images.

But what we must remember is that this Australia was another time and place. Art photography books had only just arrived in Melbourne in 1970 and Jerrems was one of the first women to point her camera at other women (producing the book A Book About Australian Women in 1974) and people of the revolution. These are socially important documents in terms of Australian (photographic) history. I believe that she said to herself – I know who I am, but I want to know what other people are like – and she transcribed how she was thinking about the world to the people around her through her photographs. Building on the legacy of artists like Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész and Robert Frank, her photographs are like an after-image of some other place, some other Australia that is only forty years ago but now seems eons away in time and space.

What we take for granted, in terms of sexual liberation, freedom of action and speech, she had to fight for. She had to fight for photographic, conceptual and technical knowledge to arm herself as an intelligent women (for that is what she was), so that she could image/imagine the world. She had to fight damn hard for these things – and then she upped the ante and pushed even harder, even further. These are dangerous photos, for women and gay men were vulnerable and threatened, marginalised and they were a target. Even in the act of photographing, her going into these places (brothels for example), she would have been a target. Does this make for memorable photographs?  Not necessarily, and you can see this in the unevenness of the results of her investigation. But socially these are very important images.

The pity is that she died so young for what this exhibition brought home to me was that here was an artist still defining, refining her subject matter. She never had to time to develop a mature style, a mature narrative as an artist (1975-1976 seems to be the high point as far as this exhibition goes). This is the great regret about the work of Carol Jerrems. Yes, there is some mediocre work in this exhibition, stuff that really doesn’t work at all (such as the brothel photographs), experimental work, individual and collective images that really don’t impinge on your consciousness. But there are also the miraculous photographs (and for a young photographer she had a lot of those), the ones that stay with you forever. The right up there, knock you out of the ball park photographs and those you cannot simply take away from the world. They live on in the world forever.

Does Jerrems deserve to be promoted as a legend, a ‘premier’ of Australian photography as some people are doing? Probably not on the evidence of this exhibition but my god, those top dozen or so images are something truly special to behold. Their ‘presence’ alone – their physicality in the world, their impact on you as you stand before them – guarantees that Jerrems will forever remain in the very top echelons of Australian photographers of all time not as a legend, but as a women of incredible strength, intelligence, passion, determination and vision.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

.
Many thankx to Mark Hislop for his help and Monash Gallery of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Carol Jerrems. 'A poem' 1970

.

Carol Jerrems
A poem
1970
Gelatin silver photographs, letterpress, installed at Monash Gallery of Art
Photograph: Katie Tremschnig

.

Carol Jerrems. 'A poem' 1970

.

Carol Jerrems
A poem
1970
Gelatin silver photographs, letterpress, installed at Monash Gallery of Art
Photograph: Katie Tremschnig

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Jim Fields, a portrait' 1970

.

Carol Jerrems
Jim Fields, a portrait
1970
Gelatin silver photographs, letterpress, installed at Monash Gallery of Art
Photograph: Katie Tremschnig

.

Carol Jerrems 'The Royal Melbourne Show.....1968, an essay' (L) and 'Movement with Zara' (R) 1968

.

Carol Jerrems
The Royal Melbourne Show…..1968, an essay (L) and Movement with Zara (R)
1968
Gelatin silver photographs, letterpress, installed at Monash Gallery of Art
Photograph: Katie Tremschnig

.

.

Living in the seventies

Carol Jerrems’s gritty, poetic and elusive images show people trying to find a new way of life and action in the 1970s. Her images have come to define a decade in Australia’s history. In contrast to an earlier generation of internationally renowned magazine photojournalists such as David Moore, the new generation did not seek commissioned commercial or magazine work and took instead a low key intimate approach with a diaristic personal-documentary style of imagery focussed on themselves and their own, mostly urban, environments. Jerrems put her camera where the counter culture suggested; women’s liberation, social inclusiveness for street youths and Indigenous people in the cities who were campaigning for justice and land rights.

Carol Jerrems was the first contemporary Australian woman photographer to have work acquired by a number of museums including the National Gallery of Australia. The National Gallery holds an extensive archive of Jerrems photographs and film work gifted by the artist’s mother Joy Jerrems in 1983. The current exhibition concentrates on prints signed or formally exhibited, by Carol Jerrems in her lifetime dating from 1968-1978. MGA is the only Victorian venue to host the National Gallery of Australia’s major new exhibition Carol Jerrems: photographic artist. This extraordinary exhibition tells the story of Jerrems’ complex and highly influential practice. Drawn from the National Gallery of Australia’s massive holdings of the artist’s work, Carol Jerrems: photographic artist features more than 100 works, most of which have not been seen in Melbourne since Jerrems lived here during the late ’60s and ’70s.

Jerrems was born in Melbourne in 1949 and studied photography at Prahran Technical College under Paul Cox and Athol Shmith. Although she practised as an artist for only a decade, Jerrems has acquired a celebrated place in the annals of Australian photography. Her reputation is based on her intensely compassionate, formally striking pictures, her intimate connection with the people involved in social movements of the day, and her role in the promotion of ‘art photography’ in this country.

Jerrems was one of several Australian women whose work during the 1970s challenged the dominant ideas of what a photographer was and how they worked. She adopted a collaborative approach to making photographs, often featuring friends and associates, and sought a photographic practice that would bring about social change. Her gritty, poetic and elusive images show people trying to find a new way of life in the 1970s. Her images have come to define Melbourne in a decade of great social and political upheaval.

Carol Jerrems: photographic artist pays tribute to this important period in recent Australian history, showing how Jerrems participated in and helped to define Melbourne’s subculture and style in the 1970s. MGA Director Shaune Lakin said Jerrems’ vision would particularly resonate with Melbourne audiences, especially as her vision was revealed across the full breadth of her work. “Carol Jerrems: photographic artist is a perfect story for MGA to tell, as it is also the story of Melbourne in the 1970s. Jerrems captured Melbourne’s sub-cultures – sharpies, mods, hippies, feminists and gay liberationists – with powerful images that engage the viewer intimately with her subjects.”

As Dr Lakin notes, this is a rare chance to see the works Jerrems intended for exhibition: “Carol Jerrems: photographic artist concentrates on prints signed or formally exhibited by Jerrems in her lifetime, most returning to Melbourne for the first time. In addition to many of the images for which Jerrems is rightly famous, visitors to MGA can see Jerrems’ early work, including her extraordinary concertina books and other photobooks,” Lakin said.”

Press release from the Monash Gallery of Art website

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Flying dog' 1973

.

Carol Jerrems
Flying dog
1973
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 1976
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Mark and Flappers' 1975

.

Carol Jerrems
Mark and Flappers
1975
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Vale Street' 1975

.

Carol Jerrems
Vale Street
1975
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 1976
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

.

“From the outset, Jerrems was interested in the expressive possibilities of the photographic medium, declaring that she was ‘an artist whose tool of expression is the camera’. She concentrated on photographing people; her subjects included her students, and her friends and acquaintances. Her first photographs were documentary in style, but by the mid-1970s the scenes she photographed were often contrived. She used a non-exploitative approach, based on the consent of her subjects. For Jerrems, photography had a crucial social role: ‘the society is sick and I must help change it’. Her photographs were a means of ‘bringing people together’ and offered affirmative views of certain aspects of contemporary life. With Virginia Fraser, she published A Book About Australian Women (Melbourne, 1974), to which she contributed the photographs…

Although one critic regarded her work as uneven – ‘she took a casual approach’ – Jerrems’s talents as a photographer were widely recognized. With her camera ‘firmly pointed at the heart of things’, she produced a body of photographs that symbolized the hopes and aspirations of the counter-culture in Australia in the 1970s.”

Helen Ennis, Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Mirror with a memory: motel room' 1977

.

Carol Jerrems
Mirror with a memory: motel room
1977
Type C colour photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Boys' 1973

.

Carol Jerrems
Boys
1973
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Outback Press Melbourne' 1974

.

Carol Jerrems
Outback Press Melbourne
1974
left to right: Colin Talbot (writer), Alfred Milgrom (publisher), Morry Schwartz (entrepreneur, publisher, now publisher of The Monthly), Mark Gillespie (singer/songwriter)
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Carol Jerrems, self-portrait with Esben Storm' c.1975

.

Carol Jerrems
Carol Jerrems, self-portrait with Esben Storm
c.1975
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Dusan and Esben, Cronulla' 1977

.

Carol Jerrems
Dusan and Esben, Cronulla
1977
Gelatin silver photograph
20.1 x 30.3 cm image
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Butterfly behind glass [Red Symons from Skyhooks]' 1975

.

Carol Jerrems
Butterfly behind glass [Red Symons from Skyhooks]
1975
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Jane Oehr, “Womenvision”, Filmaker's Co-Op' 1973

.

Carol Jerrems
Jane Oehr, “Womenvision”, Filmaker’s Co-Op
1973
From A Book about Australian Women (Outback Press, 1974)
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Performers on stage,' Hair', Metro Theatre Kings Cross, Sydney, January 1970 [Jim Sharman Director cast included Reg Livermore]' 1970

.

Carol Jerrems
Performers on stage, ‘Hair’, Metro Theatre Kings Cross, Sydney, January 1970
[Jim Sharman Director cast included Reg Livermore]
1970
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Peggy Selinski' 1968

.

Carol Jerrems
Peggy Selinski
1968
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of Mrs Joy Jerrems 1981
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

Carol Jerrems. 'Lynn' 1976

.

Carol Jerrems
Lynn
1976
Gelatin silver photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
© Ken Jerrems and the Estate of Lance Jerrems

.

.

1. Allen, Christopher. “Between suburbia and radicalism,” in The Australian newspaper, October 20th, 2012.

.

.

Monash Gallery of Art
860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill
Victoria 3150 Australia
T: + 61 3 8544 0500

Opening hours:
Tue – Fri: 10am – 5pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 5pm
Mon/public holidays: closed

Monash Gallery of Art website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

20
Sep
13

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

Exhibition dates: 27th August – 21st September 2013

.

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

.
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.

.

.

Andrew Follows. 'Number 31, Eltham' 2013

.

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

.

.

Density Logos

.

Anita Traverso Gallery
7, Albert Street
Richmond, Vic 3121

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11 – 5

Anita Traverso Gallery website

Andrew Follow website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

19
Sep
13

Exhibition: ‘Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors’ at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo

Exhibition dates: 4th May – 22nd September 2013

.

Like a mouthful of cinders.

.
Many thankx to the Astrup Fearnley Museet for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

.

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #92' 1981

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #92
1981
Chromogenic colour print
61 x 121.9 cm
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #167' 1985

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #167
1985
Chromogenic colour print
150 x 225 cm
Astrup Fearnley Collection

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled Film Still #32' 1979

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled Film Still #32
1979
Gelatin silver print
69.5 x 87.2 cm
Astrup Fearnley Collection

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #150' 1985

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #150
1985
Chromogenic colour print
121 x 163.8 cm
Collection of Cynthia and Abe Steinberger

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled Film Still #56' 1980

.

Cindy Sherman 
Untitled Film Still #56
1980
Gelatin silver print
15.5 x 22.8 cm
Moderna Museet
Donation from The American Friends of the Moderna Museet, Inc., 2010

.

.

“Cindy Sherman (born 1954) is one of the leading and most influential artists of our time. She belongs to a generation of postmodern artists who redefined the photograph and its place in an ever more visually oriented culture. Taking female roles in photographic representations as her starting point, Sherman creates recognizable pictures that mirror the human condition in its many nuances. Sherman’s pictures became key works in a time of turbulence for the very concept of art, and continue to challenge concepts of representation, identity and portrait.

Cindy Sherman’s allegorical pictures reflect our own conception of the world and open up for new interpretations of familiar phenomena. She uses herself as a model and eqally portrays film stars and pin-up girls, as well as abnormal monsters from fantasy worlds. Sherman’s assertive use of masks, wigs and prosthetics has a disturbing effect, which is further reinforced in pictures where the human presence is gradually reduced in favour of posed dolls or traces of waste and decay.

The exhibition Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors has been composed to emphasise the disturbing, grotesque and disquieting sides of Sherman’s pictures. These are aspects that are visible in her exploration of well-established photographic genres such as film stills, fashion photography or classic portraits, as well as in series with titles such as Fairy Tales, Disasters, Sex Pictures, Civil War and Horror & Surrealist. This exhibition seeks to highlight these key aspects in her artistry and to examine their relevance through a dedicated selection of works from the beginning of her career in the mid-1970s up to the present day.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a richly illustrated catalogue is being published in cooperation with art publishers Hatje Cantz Verlag. The idea behind the catalogue is to explore and examine the more disquieting sides of Sherman’s art by inviting contributions from authors who have touched on similar themes in their own works. Contributors are well-known artists, dramatists and authors including Lars Norén, Miranda July, Sibylle Berg, Sjón, Sara Stridsberg, Karl Ove Knausgård and Kathy Acker.”

Press release from the Astrup Fearnley Museet website

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #402' 2000

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #402
2000
Chromogenic colour print
88 x 60 cm
Astrup Fearnley Samlingen / Collection

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #132' 1984

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #132
1984
Chromogenic colour print
176.3 x 119.2 cm
Kunsthaus Zürich

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #199-A' 1989

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #199-A
1989
Chromogenic colour print
63.3 x 45.7 cm
Astrup Fearnley Collection

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #152' 1985

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #152
1985
Chromogenic colour print
184.2 x 125.4 cm
Astrup Fearnley Samlingen/ Collection

.

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #470' 2008

.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #470
2008
Chromogenic colour print
216.5 x 147.5 cm
Acquired with founding from The American Friends of the Moderna Museet Inc.,

.

.

Astrup Fearnley Museet
Strandpromenaden 2
0252 Oslo
T: +47 22 93 60 60

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 12-17
Thursday 12-19
Saturday, Sunday 11-17
Mondays closed

Astrup Fearnley Museet website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top

17
Sep
13

Exhibition: ‘Lifelike’ at The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Exhibition dates: 23rd June – 22nd September 2013

.

Life (like).

.
“For the French theorist Jean Baudrillard, this consciousness of construction finds its most powerful expression in the concept of hyperreality. To appreciate Baudrillard’s view, recall the treatment of literary deconstruction… Deconstruction therorists propose that words gain their meaning through their reference to other words; literary works gain their significance by the way they are related to other writings. Thus language does not derive its character from reality, but from other language. Now consider the media – newspapers, television, the movies, radio. For Baudrillard, media portrayals of the world are not driven by the way the world “is,” but by the steadily emerging histories of portrayal itself. As these histories unfold, each new lamination is influenced by the preceding, accounts are layered upon accounts, and reality is transformed into hyperreality. For example, Baudrillard asks, what is the reality of the “Holocaust”? One cannot deny that certain events took place, but as time goes on these events become subject to myriad re-presentations. Diaries become subject to redefinition by television and movies; biographies influence the writing of historical novels; narrated history is transformed into plays, and each “telling” lays the experiental groundwork for subsequent retellings. Realities accumulate, accentuate, interpenetrate, and ultimately create the world of hyperreality – itself in continuous evolution into the future. We feel we possess an intimate acquaintance of the events in themselves; they are sharply etched in our consciousness. For Baudrillard, however, this consciousness moves increasingly toward hyperreality.

And thus the culture opens to the possibility of selves as artifacts of hyperreality. As political events, health and illness, and world history slip from the realm of the concrete into the domain of representation, so a commitment to obdurate selves becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. What, after all, is the reality of our motives, intentions, thoughts, attitudes, and the like? …

As we find, the current texts of the self are built upon those of preceding eras, and they in turn upon more distant forms of discourse. In the end we have no way of “getting down to the self as it is.” And thus we edge toward the more unsettling question: On what grounds can we assume that beneath the layers of accumulated understandings there is, in fact, an obdurate “self” to be located? The object of understanding has been absorbed into the world of representations.”

Gergen, Kenneth. The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Harper Collins, 1991, pp.121-122.

.
Many thankx to The Blanton Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the artwork in this posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the art.

.

.

Daniel Douke. 'Ace' 1979

.

Daniel Douke
Ace
1979
Acrylic on masonite
8 x 8 x 12 1/4 in.
Courtesy Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul

.

Evan Penny. '(Old) No One – in Particular #6, Series 2' 2005

.

Evan Penny
(Old) No One – in Particular #6, Series 2
2005
Silicone, pigment, hair, aluminium
40 x 32 x 7 1/2 in.
© Evan Penny
Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York

.

Vija Celmins. 'Eraser' 1967

.

Vija Celmins
Eraser
1967
Acrylic on balsa wood
6 5/8 x 20 x 3 1/8 in.
Collection Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
Gift of Avco Financial Services, Newport Beach

.

Maurizio Cattelan. 'Untitled' 2001

.

Maurizio Cattelan
Untitled
2001
Stainless steel, composition wood, electric motor, electric light, electric bell, computer
23 1/2 x 33 5/8 x 18 5/8 in.
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

.

Keith Edmier. 'Bremen Towne' 2008

.

Keith Edmier
Bremen Towne
2008
Installation dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery

.

Bremen Towne was an idea I’d been thinking about prior to [my 2008] show at Bard College. It had been floating in my head for a number of years based on the sales brochure of my parents’ home I had obtained around 1999 off of eBay. It was just one of these things I had around… I didn’t really have the idea of constructing this house back then… As it turned out, the interior dimensions of my parents’ home from the original blueprints fit directly into one of the galleries at the museum. At that point I started considering it more as an art object, or as a sculpture more than an installation… The main visual references were family photographs, mostly taken during critical events or holidays or birthday parties. My process involved going through the photo album – everything. They were all pictures of people posing, so I started looking at the spaces [in the background]… I ended up buying the whole decade of both Sears and JCPenney catalogues up until that time, the early ’70s. Through that I was able to identify some products based on visual descriptions or in the family photographs… I initially went to a place that has all kinds of wallpapers and floorings from other periods, used a lot for movies and things like that. I heard they had thousands of wallpapers. It turned out I couldn’t find the exact wallpaper that was in the house. I guess at that point I started thinking it was more interesting for me to remake it, and to remake it more or less new. I wanted to represent the time element, the moment before the day of the family moving into the new house. It wasn’t supposed to look lived in.

I think I was initially interested in doing that to have some kind of separation from taking a real object that was loaded with personal history or some sentimental thing. It was a way of moving from a subjective to an objective position… [I was interested] in just thinking about the whole interior of the house itself as a cast, or this negative space. I thought about how the house is essentially the space that shapes us, that shapes oneself… I think that my reason to make it, or to make almost anything, went beyond just the visual aspects of it, or the idea of re-creating an illusion of the thing. I’ve always been more interested in a certain level of representation or pictorial literalness… I like words or descriptions like “actual” or “actual scale.” I like the idea of “what is real?” (Text from the Walker Art Center website)

Keith Edmier

.

.

“The exhibition Lifelike, on view at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin June 23 to September 22, 2013, invites a close examination of artworks based on commonplace objects and situations, which are startlingly realistic, but often made of unusual materials in unexpected sizes.

Organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, this international, multigenerational group exhibition features 75 works from the 1960s to the present by leading figures in contemporary art, such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, James Casebere, Vija Celmins, Keith Edmier, Robert Gober, Ron Mueck, Mungo Thomson, and Ai Weiwei, and illuminates artists’ enduring fascination with realism.

Avoiding the flashiness embraced by 1960s Pop Artists and the slick urban scenes introduced at that time by the Photorealists, the contemporary artists in Lifelike investigate often overlooked items and moments as subject matter: a paper bag, an eraser, an apple core, a waiting roo, an afternoon nap. Favouring a handmade, labour intensive practice rather than technological enhancements, the works in the exhibition – including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and video – transform the seemingly ordinary into something beguiling, loaded with narrative and metaphor.

The exhibition explores the many ways artists have pursued realism through a range of media. Some artists featured, such as Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, and Peter Rostovsky, paint from photographs, creating works that exhibit an astonishing degree of likeness and detail. Others work in sculpture often fashioning objects from materials that belie the pedestrian nature of the subject – Ai Weiwei’s jar of hundreds of sunflower seeds, hand painted on to cast porcelain, or Tom Friedman’s bee, made out of clay, plastic, and paint. In photography, artists including James Casebere and Isaac Layman play with the hyperreal, through fabricated scenes or clever layering of images. In video, artists including Thomas Demand and Jeon Joonho create moving images that at first seem familiar, but deceive us through sly use of animation.

Conspicuously absent in most of the works in Lifelike is a reliance on technological intervention. Instead, in seemingly inverse proportion to the ease of producing goods for the marketplace, many artists are slowing and complicating their own working methods, remaking banal things into objects of fixation and desire: Catherine Murphy’s details of textured fabric on the seat of a chair, or Ron Mueck’s strikingly “real” sculpture – down to the last hair and pore – of human subjects. Frequently these artists work from photographs, but just as often, their inspiration is the observed world, and the notion that a tangible, perhaps ephemeral object or moment can somehow be brought back to life – reinterpreted through the artist’s hand as re-made readymades.

To address the nuances of this subject, the exhibition presents several key conceptual sections:

Common Objects gathers a group of late 1960s and early 1970s works that borrowed strategies from Pop, but rejected that movement’s brand-name emphasis in favor of conceptual, more process-oriented approaches to subject matter.

Another section presents the notion of  The Uncanny, which features work by a generation of artists in the 1980s and 1990s who inflected realism with a psychologically-laden, surreal sensibility, such as Robert Gober’s child-sized chair and flower-covered box of tissues, resting mysteriously atop a floor drain; or Charles Ray’s disarming photograph of himself as a mannequin.

A third section entitled Realism into Abstraction presents a range of works by artists such as Peter Rostovsky, Catherine Murphy and Tauba Auerbach, in which lushly painted surfaces such as velvet curtains, the seat of a chair, and other ordinary items are cropped in such a way that they resemble abstract paintings, their original sources difficult to discern.

Handmade Sleight of Hand, the fourth section, presents work by artists who make objects that are indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts, but made with the traditional techniques of painting, sculpture, or drawing. Highlights include Jud Nelson’s trash bag carved from Carrara marble and Susan Collis’s checkered plastic shopping bag painstakingly rendered in ballpoint pen on paper.

A fifth section, Special Effects: The Real as Spectacle, presents artists making work that engages an instant response – be it astonishment, fear, confusion, or delight – through their surprising size or unusual installation.”

Press release from The Blanton Museum of Art website

.

Peter Rostovsky. 'Curtain' 2010

.

Peter Rostovsky
Curtain
2010
Oil on linen
72 x 48 in.
Courtesy of the artist

.

What does it mean in Warholian fashion to “want to be a machine,” to long for a kind of inhumanity that has to be constantly performed and repeated? Is this not a radical disavowal of an all too human vulnerability? Can we not read in the mechanical appeals of photorealism a kind of excessive sentimentality, a naïve expressionism that uses the camera and the photograph as a shield against trauma?

And likewise in expressionism’s hyperbolic restatement of its humanity, is there not a silent concession to its opposite, a founding anxiety about inauthenticity, a mortal dread regarding the total triumph of simulation and technology?

However, it is important to stress that these are unfulfilled desires. No photorealist painting completely fools the viewer into the fact that it is machine-made; it entertains the fantasy, much like electronic music. And each autonomous artwork is only a temporary escape, a utopian space, “an orchid in the land of technology,” to borrow a phrase that Walter Benjamin applied to the illusion of reality in film.

What these two positions in fact represent are two negative theologies that stand as sentinels, forever pointing to and away from a traumatically unresolved subject position – a position of the never sufficiently technological, and the never completely human. They are both Romantic positions and should be read as such: as positions of longing and disavowal, not of identity.

Why would this be important to emphasize? Because it answers the familiar question asked to every painter painting photographs. It’s not about the ends, it’s about the means. It’s about the performance of painting that re-states the position, not the photolike product that it yields. In other words, it’s about trying and failing to be a machine. Therein resides the futility and poetic nature of the practice. The failure marks the fragility and evanescence of the subject negatively, knowing that the alternative is to misname, to misrepresent, to conjure the opposite. This poetic is more latent, and seldom acknowledged in art that aspires toward indifference and inhumanity, but I hope that I have shown that every tin man has a heart, just like every photorealist hides an abstract painter.  (Text from the Walker Art Center website)

Peter Rostovsky

.

Matt Johnson. 'American Spirit' 2010

.

Matt Johnson
American Spirit
2010
Paper, plastic, foam, paint, and magnets
1 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 in.
Edition of 3
Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Photo credit: Joshua White
© Matt Johnson

.

Ron Mueck. 'Untitled (Seated Woman)' 1999

.

Ron Mueck
Untitled (Seated Woman)
1999
Silicone, acrylic, polyurethane foam and fabric
25 1/4 x 17 x 16 1/2 in.
Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

.

Alex Hay. 'Paper Bag' 1968

.

Alex Hay
Paper Bag
1968
Fiberglass, epoxy, paint, and paper
59 1/4 x 29 x 18 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
© Alex Hay
Courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman, Inc., New York Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson

.

Jonathan Seliger. 'Heartland' 2010

.

Jonathan Seliger
Heartland
2010
Enamel on bronze
103 x 29 x 29 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY

.

Yoshihiro Suda. 'Weeds' 2008

.

Yoshihiro Suda
Weeds
2008
Painted on wood
Size varied according to site
© Yoshihiro Suda
Courtesy of Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo

.

.

The Blanton Museum of Art

The museum is located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue and is open Tuesday though Friday from 10 AM – 5 PM, Saturday from 11 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday from 1 – 5 PM. Thursdays are free admission days and every third Thursday the museum is open until 9 PM.

The Blanton Museum of Art website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top




Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

Join 2,245 other followers

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

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.

September 2013
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Oct »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Archives

Categories