Friday, October 31, 2008

The Launch of Wassenaar

The first issue of Noel Rodo-Vankeulen's Wassenaar went live today. I am honored to have work included in this inspiring new publication, which is comprised of Solo Shows from:

Julia Baum, Alexander Binder, Gustav Gustafsson, Michael Bühler-Rose, Misha de Ridder, and Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann

and Domesticity Redux, a group show with photographs by:

Ben Alper, Matthew Crowther, Stefanie Fiore, Elizabeth Fleming, Lee Gainer, Erin Nelson, Donald Rasmussen, Justin James Reed, Sean Stewart, Helen Stuhr-Rommereim, Tribble & Mancenido, and Paris Visone.

Additionally, there is an interview with Lina Scheynius by Johanna Reed and a number of contemporary photography book reviews. I highly recommend visiting the Wassenaar website and spending some time with the photographs and writing. Also, Wassenaar's sister site, Projects, should be online any day now so make sure to you check back for further details. Below are a sampling of the images from Wassenaar 01:

From Top To Bottom:

Stefanie Fiore

Misha de Ridder

Helen Stuhr-Rommereim

Donald Rasmussen

Andrés Marroquín Winkelmann

Alexander Binder

Gustav Gustafsson

All Images © The Artists

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Céline Clanet's Màze

The current Solo Show exhibition over at Humble Arts Foundation features Céline Clanet's series Màze, an exploration of the customs of the Sami people of Northern Norway. In her statement for Màze, Clanet explains:

"I have lived several months in Máze, up to the north of the Arctic Circle, in Norway. There, I met a quiet people, melancholic, captivating, very proud of their Sami village and territory, proud of these landscapes they are constantly gazing at with binoculars that they never separate from, even at home.

I have discovered this unknown European Arctic, this surprising indigenous people that most don’t know, or associate by mistake with Santa Claus, the Inuit, or igloos. I have seen ravages of cultural integration, this soft genocide that wears out spirits and floods souls with alcohol or self-negation.

I have pictured Sami people, houses, territory and reindeers that should not be here today, flooded with waters of a dam project that Norwegian government planned in early 70s, and fortunately aborted."

From Top To Bottom:


Marita, Linn, and the Dog

Jon's Herd

The Hytte

Looking For the Lost Reindeer

All Images © Céline Clanet

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michael Vahrenwald's Winter Landscapes

Michael Vahrenwald's series Winter Landscapes examines doctor prescribed depression therapy light boxes. The discourse between psychology and light, with specific emphasis on the effects that light exerts over our psyches, is treated with clever indifference. On the one hand, Vahrenwald subjects these objects to a clinical, deadpan examination, while on the other light is explored as a metaphor for transcendence. This paradox between the material and the metaphysical gives the images from Winter Landscapes an interesting duality. As Vahrenwald states:

"The images explore the nature and function of pictures. Visiting some of the issues in my previous work these images expand upon romantic ideas of the relationship between the self and the landscape, or in this instance a medicinised, surrogate landscape. The title of "Winter Landscapes" refers to a series of paintings by Casper David Freideich in which the same transcendent scene is repeated throughout several paintings."

From Top To Bottom:

Sun Touch, 2006

Sunlight Jr, 2006

Uplift Daylight, 2006

Color Cube, 2006

Blue Max, 2006

All Images © Michael Vahrenwald

Elinor Carucci At Mass Art

For anyone in the Boston area Monday, November 3rd, Elinor Carucci will be giving a lecture at 2 pm on the 4th floor of the Kennedy building at Mass Art. This event is free and open to the pubic, however, space is limited so show up a little early if you know you want to go. Carucci will (most likely) be discussing the impetus behind her projects Crisis and Pain. In the statement for this work, she avows:

"'Crisis' was taken during a very difficult time in my relationship with my husband, Eran.

It was photography that allowed me to be able to step away, to see what was going on, even what is about to happen. The fact that Eran let me take those pictures, in the middle of these difficult situations, in a way, reconnected me to him. And at times he used my pictures to tell me what he couldn't say.

During the same period of time I had also dealt with severe back pain, I made a series of self-portraits, describing my pain and the different treatments I went through, I titled this series 'pain'. Having this pain was also one of the catalysts for the marriage crisis to happen, so for me these two bodies of work are connected."

Elinor Carucci Lecture
Monday, November 3rd @ 2 pm
Mass Art, Kennedy 406
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

My parents #2, 2003

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Raimond Wouda's On Scale

Raimond Wouda's project On Scale is fittingly titled. Although I couldn't find any written explanation of the work, the thematic subject consistent throughout all the images is, well, an exaggerated exploration of scale itself. Wouda's slightly elevated perspectives and expansive tableaus hint at the sublimity rendered in Andreas Gursky's images. These photographs make us feel small, ultimately marginalized by the vastness of the landscape.

Wouda's website contains a number of interesting projects which I'd recommend exploring while you're there.

From Top To Bottom:

Col de Tourmalet, 1995

Lourdes, 1995

Ijsselmeer, 1997

Campione, 1997

Andalo, 1997

All Images © Raimond Wouda

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gregory Crewdson At Mass Art

Gregory Crewdson is scheduled to lecture at Mass Art's Pozen Center Wednesday, October 29th at 6p.m. For anyone interested in attending, I would highly recommend showing up a little early to procure a spot, as I expect the turnout will be rather high.

Gregory Crewdson Lecture
Wednesday, October 29th @ 6 pm
Mass Art's Pozen Center
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA

Untitled, 2001

Image © Gregory Crewdson

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jake Stangel's Transamerica

Jake Stangel e-mailed me today to share some images from his series Transamerica, a project which "aims to capture the vivid, beautiful,
bizarre, and thoroughly American world that still exists along the
backroads of the United States."

From Top To Bottom:

Omak, WA

Andrew and Shawney- Chadron, NE

Superior, MT

Natural Hot Springs- Challis, ID

Jeannie and Jocelyn- Casper, WY

All Images © Jake Stangel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walead Beshty's Abstracting Photography

"Perhaps this confusion of photographic theory for the analysis of images is why the discourse on photography shifted from a focus on its instrumentality, to a concern that photography no longer truly exists." - Walead Beshty

Once again Words Without Pictures is featuring a wonderful new essay on their site. This time Walead Beshty discusses the amorphous, ontological nature of photography in light of the renewed interest in photographic theory over the past 5 to 10 years. His essay, entitled Abstracting Photography, explores what functions, both aesthetically and socially, photographs really serve.

"As George Baker wrote in his essay “Photography’s Expanded Field”, “Critical consensus would have it that the problem today is not that just about anything image-based can now be called photographic, but rather that photography itself has been foreclosed, cashiered, abandoned—outmoded technologically and displaced aesthetically.”[1] In other words, the Barthesian theorization of the “this has been” contained in the photographic image, has become the “this has been” of Photography itself.

This lack of certainty with regard to what constitutes Photography as an object of inquiry can be seen for all its abstractness as a mirror of the problem of theorizing the photograph, the clash between the apparent concreteness of the photographic referent and its slippery contextual play. Yet the term persists past its supposed theoretical and practical disintegration, and with it a forlorn pastiche of critical theorizations and aesthetic conventions that repeatedly confront a metaphor for their own self-imposed failure in the photographic image.[2] In melancholic retrospection, the photographic object itself represents the loss of a unity, dispersed within an equally fragmented field that for the art historian requires it to be resituated, re-pictured, a condition that prompts Baker to go on to say “…the terms involved only now become more complex, the need to map their effects more necessary, because these effects are both less obvious and self-evident.”[3] Baker proposes to “read” the contemporary condition of Photography through an earlier text, that of Rosalind Krauss’ “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” at times going so far as to transplant his terms and formulations into direct quotes from her text, inhabiting her text as much as her text prefigures his own.[4] The task at hand for Baker is to re-picture the scene of dispersal, to connect terms again, yet with the nagging sense that this effort is self-defeating, retrograde, it becomes a gesture of traumatic re-enactment that concludes in another moment of defacement and dispersal (in the end his drawing is scribbled over by one of the artists it is meant to contain[5]). Seeing this as a state of crisis for the medium (and thus the historian/critic who defines it), Baker performs as the allegorist does, reading his own moment through a temporally displaced other, the status of the photograph conflated and reread through the urgency of critique in 1979, his own position as a critic within the contemporary academy metaphorically and metonymically tied to that of Photography’s ebb and flow as an ontological category: “For the only pleasure the melancholic permits himself, and it is a powerful one, is allegory.” [6] In this, Baker, as allegorist displaces history with pictures, pictures that resist the linear causal chains of historical development and opt instead for the simultaneity and formal morphology of the image."

Read the whole essay here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marleen Sleeuwits

I came across the work of Dutch photographer Marleen Sleeuwits today. Her interior images depict predominately institutional spaces with ambiguity and detachment. The seeming artificiality of these spaces is heightened by the use of synthetic lighting and an almost total negation contextual information. Sleeuwits photographs bring to mind a wonderful essay entitled Camera Vacua (posted on this blog here). In the essay, David Giles discusses the recent trend of "end-of- the-world photographs", the movement in contemporary photography that focuses on the depiction of formless institutional spaces. In her statement, Sleeuwits affirms:

"Now I am researching the conceptions of time and place in my work. I want to create an image of time-placelessness, so the here and now is taken out of the photo. For example, in my last sequence, all the interiors are made inside and exclusively with artificial light, so you lose the feeling of day and night. In addition, it becomes no longer obvious as to where the space actually is. A photo of a shopping mall in Shanghai could just as easily be of a waiting room at Schiphol airport."

From Top To Bottom:

Interior no. 8

Interior no. 2

Interior no. 6

Interior no. 7

Interior no. 5

All Images © Marleen Sleeuwits

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Work In Progress: New Photographs by Anastasia Cazabon

All Images © Anastasia Cazabon

Victor Burgin's Office At Night

Conceptual artist Victor Burgin's series Office At Night, inspired by the iconic Edward Hopper painting of the same name, explores the politics of gender relations in a decidedly patriarchal society. In an essay written by Burgin entitled "The Separateness of Things", the artist discusses the impetus behind the series and shares some of his thoughts on the politics of Hopper. In the catalog which accompanied the Office At Night exhibition, Burgin wrote this about Hopper's Office At Night:

"Office at Night may be read as an expression of the general political problem of the organization of Desire within the Law, and in terms of the particular problem of the organization of sexuality within capitalism – the organization of sexuality for capitalism. Patriarchy has traditionally consigned women to supportive roles in the running of the economy, subject to the authority of men. The ‘secretary/boss’ couple in Hopper’s painting is at once a picture of a particular, albeit fictional, couple and an emblem, ‘iconogram’, serving to metonymically represent all such couples – all such links in the chains of organization of the (re)production of wealth. Such coupling for reproduction must of course contain its sexual imperative. The family functions to contain, restrain, this imperative in so far as it is directed towards the reproduction of subjects for the workplace. The erotic supplement to the biological imperative cannot however be contained in the family. It spills into the place of work, where it threatens to subvert the orders of rationalized production. [Hopper’s] painting, clearly, may represent such a moment of potential erotic disruption in appealing to such preconstructed meanings, items of the popular pre-conscious, as are filed under, for example, ‘working late at the office’. At the same time the painting stabilizes the situation by providing a moral solution to the problem of the unruly and dangerous supplement. That the morality is patriarchal goes without saying."

Burgin then had this to say in regard to his own work:

"My point of departure for the photographic work I made in 1986 was the position of the woman in Hopper’s painting. The woman in the painting is there to be looked at, an object of sexual curiosity.

My aim was to transform the role of the woman from object of curiosity to that of subject of curiosity – to transform showing into knowing, exhibitionism into epistemophilia. In an interview recorded at the time of my ICA exhibition, I described my own Office at Night in the following terms:

The office in Hopper’s painting is a very enclosed space. Most of the elements in my piece are derived from elements within that space. The fantasy is that the woman explores the space of Hopper’s painting, appropriates that space for herself. The pictograms [are] added as a counterpoint, in a sort of ‘möbius strip’ action – in that the pictograms refer to the inside of the office, wrapping around that enclosed space, but at the same time are continuous, in formal and thematic terms, with what’s happening outside the office. I thought of the ubiquitousness of that sort of symbol system in the contemporary environment: Walk/Don’t Walk; Stop; No Entrance; Passport Control. It’s the very index of the omnipresence of control, authority. For me, the pictograms serve as a sort of analogue of the universe surrounding the office."

All photographs from the series Office At Night

All Images © Victor Burgin

Mike Fleming

Philadelphia based photographer, and friend of The Exposure Project, Mike Fleming's work isolates photography's ability to unite seemingly disparate subject matter. Similarly to how Jason Fulford's images find photographic harmony through pairing images that share compositional or contextual equivalences, Fleming's photographs read very much the same way. There is a stream-of-consciousness quality to his work that finds its cohesion, not only through how Fleming approaches his subject matter, but also through the repetition of signs and symbols found in our social landscape.

There is a lot of work on Fleming's website, which I would recommend taking the time to sift through.

All Images © Mike Fleming