Becoming Muses

curated by Akemi Hiatt & Lindsay Stern

June 11 – August 28, 2011

Since 1997, Emily and Madeline Sparer (b. 1985 and 1988), Rochelle, Heather, and Brittany Roman-Green (b. 1985, 1986, and 1988), and Rachel, Daniel, and Natalie George (b.1994, 1997, and 1999), have welcomed master photographers and CPW’s workshop students into their homes, engaging the CPW community in their roles as models, muses, teaching assistants, and hosts to workshops led by such luminaries such as David Hilliard, Andrea Modica, and Jock Sturges.

The instructors and students often maintained communication with the families after the workshop had formally concluded, resulting in the familiesí accumulating an impressive collection of gifted prints which charts their children’s growth in Woodstock – from childhood, to adolescence, to the teenage years, and up to young adulthood.

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What does it mean to be invited to grow up in front of many lenses, over many years? How did the roles that these young women and men adopted come to shape their understanding of photography, and that of the photographers they assisted?

With the exhibition Becoming Muses, we sought to address these questions as we began to learn more about the experiences that the models, instructors, and workshop students had while working with each other. For many of the students, this exhibition was an opportunity to revisit work that was created numerous years ago and made in an educational environment without the original intention of being shown publicly. In diving into the models’ personal image archives and working with former students and instructors, a multifaceted exhibition emerged.

Emily and Madeline Sparer spoke to the aspect of play they enjoyed as young girls in Andrea’s workshops. The costumes, props, and theatrics set against the idyll of their Woodstock home alongside the Millstream, all worked to cast an atmosphere of girlhood fantasy over the day. Yet as Emily notes “As we got older, [the photo shoots] became less about the clothes and more about the art, more about the process, more about bringing out a different side of ourselves.” This increasing awareness of self and of the camera shifted the models’ relationship to students. They became assistants in more ways than one, acting intuitively as both as generous hosts and informed teachers, often with workshop participants who had no prior experience photographing models. Brittany Roman-Green describes the experience as being “comfortable” and “fun,” and that although sometimes she questioned how she would look in a photograph, “…the photographers really do a phenomenal job at painting the scene they envision.”

The influences of the instructors can be seen in the images, as well as their differing teaching styles. David Hilliard taught by example and demonstration. While teaching an environmental portraiture workshop in 2010, he was compelled to make Weather Gathering, a multi-paneled photograph focused on Heather during class. Andrea Modica assisted students one-on-one as opposed to shooting for herself; as such, her influence is represented by this portrait of a young girl in Croton-on-Hudson who is close in age to the Sparers & Roman-Greens when they first became involved with CPW’s workshops and whose expression and place in the light evokes the subtle twist between reality and fantasy that is so emblematic of Modica’s work. Jock Sturges, known for his work with the nude, had his students shoot clothed models to learn how to achieve a connection with a subject regardless of the situation, creating poetic and evocative portraits of girlhood and sisterly bonding.

CPW’s workshops have long been known as a place free from everyday distractions where photographers can come to expand their craft, skills, and vision under the mentorship of a leading image-maker in an intimate and inspiring surrounding. Each artist in the exhibition brought their own perspectives and creative tools to the class. While in many instances students were shooting identical subject matter in identical locations, the resulting images in Becoming Muses speaks to the remarkable uniqueness of each photographer’s creative vision and way of seeing. The exhibition highlights the range in style, presentation, and process that each artist chose: the hinged diptych by Carlos Loret de Mola and the close-range series by Patricia Decker, for example, emphasizes the girls’ private surroundings and stages of growth, while images by Jennifer May, Lawrence P. Lewis, and Lydia Panas suggest an atmosphere of dress up and woodland play that characterized their early involvement with the workshops. In all cases, the varying themes develop and give way to new methods of representation and changing experiences as the years go by and the students and instructors arrive anew each summer.

The Woodstock Photography Workshops foster a community that often lasts beyond the weekend event. Students and instructors repeatedly return, relationships are solidified over years and reinforced by additional classes at CPW and a shared passion for photography. For the Sparer and Roman-Green girls, the workshops are now a beacon to return to after moving away from Woodstock. When the George children became workshop models in 2006, they joined what has, in many ways, become an annual family reunion. The exhibition Becoming Muses is also a reunion of sorts, for the instructors and students, for the models and muses, and for the images they made together. These pictures, which were created over more than a decade, are a testament not only to CPW’s commitment to photographic education and to the community that the center has thrived in for 34 years, but also to the deep generosity of spirit of the Sparer, Roman-Green, and George families which nourish that vision.

– Akemi Hiatt and Lindsay Stern, April 2011

Akemi Hiatt served as CPW’s Program Associate from 2009 to 2013. Lindsay Stern has worked as the Center’s Education Coordinator since 2010.

 

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Justyna Badach

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Sparky Campanella

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Patricia Decker

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Gene Fischer

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Dennis Gaffney

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Ed Garbarino

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Emma Dodge Hanson

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011David Hilliard

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Edwin Huddle

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Lawrence P. Lewis

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 201Jennifer May

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Andrea Modica

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Carlos Loret de Mola

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Dion Ogust

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Lydia Panas

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Jock Sturges

"Becoming Muses", June 11- August 28, 2011Marty Wohl

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PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2011

curated by Vince Aletti

April 9 – May 30, 2011

I hadn’t really planned it that way, but I began judging the entries for Photography Now, the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s 2011 exhibition, only 10 days after returning from two weeks in Amsterdam as a judge for this year’s World Press Photo awards.

The two experiences could not have been more different, but the first definitely affected the second. In Amsterdam, I was one of nine judges sitting in a darkened room viewing and voting on more than 100,000 images as they flashed by on a big screen. Although there were categories in portraiture, nature, and sports, most of what we saw was hardcore photojournalism, recapping 2010 in disaster and death: Haiti, Mexico, Bangkok, Chile, Pakistan, the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever there were earthquakes, floods, riots, drug murders, assassinations, stampedes, oil spills–and intrepid photographers to cover them. The work was often hard to look at; the process relentless, intense, and exhausting. But if arriving at a consensus for the final awards was often frustrating, the exchange among the judges was always spirited and, in the end, exhilarating.

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After that, judging just over 300 submissions for the CPW exhibition was a breeze. Although much of the work dealt with serious topics, there were no severed heads, no mass graves. I was grateful to see happy children, hummingbirds in flight, a series of wooded landscapes; even if the work was disappointing or ludicrous, it wasn’t painful. And the solitary nature of the process–clicking through images on my home computer screen, with no one else to explain, exclaim, or complain to–made it much faster. But after Amsterdam, I missed the interplay of opinions, or a persuasive colleague’s nudge to go back and look at something again. In a sense, I continued to channel that colleague and kept a running list of entries that deserved a second look, one or two of which made it through to the final ten.

Early on, I began to make a mental list of dos and don’ts for photographers who enter competitions. Do focus on one coherent body of work, but know when you’ve made your point. Don’t include everything–edit and edit again; unless you’re truly brilliant, less is usually more. Do stop to consider where your talents lie–what is it that you’re actually good at? Throwing a bunch of disparate images into a portfolio and leaving it up to the judge to decide what’s best only means that the good gets tossed out with the bad. Don’t (over)explain; if the work doesn’t speak for itself, your artist’s statement won’t make up for it. But do have something to say, and a distinctive, personal way of saying it.

In the end, the work that most interested me was experimental and process-oriented – in several cases (notably, Bradly Dever Treadaway, Mariah Doren & Johanna Paas, Anne Arden McDonald), photographs that involved drawing, collage, or chemical effects. At a time when digitally captured and enhanced photographs can achieve new levels of flawlessness, I find myself increasingly drawn to handmade, inherently flawed images. Certainly, that’s what stood out from the submissions this year–work with some complexity and ambiguity, work that was constructed or crafted, work with a very individual voice. No question, some of the effects that I was most taken with–the lovely, ghostly layering in Matthew Dols‘s Sentimentalist series, Chad Kleitsch‘s celestial lights–were the result of sophisticated digital techniques. But I wasn’t judging the means, I was concerned with the results.

I’ve always been interested in the photographic portrait and ended up choosing two very different approaches to that genre. Yo Imae makes classically straightforward but remarkably sensitive black-and-white pictures of solitary figures that remind me of Judith Joy Ross, and Rita Barros, working in color, arranges close-up details of a person and his environment into an intriguing, Hockney-esque puzzle. But other entries in portraiture didn’t engage me as much as the ones that, even when they didn’t foreground process, flirted with abstraction and mystery: Christa Kreeger Bowden‘s studies of intricate nests and roots; Robin Dru Germany‘s jewel-like, half-underwater views of a luminous seashore; and Mikhail Gubin‘s shots of the flickering spirits behind a grimy window.

No matter the style, the photographers that stopped my clicking finger and made me look closely more than once had one thing in common: a satisfying sense of resolution. They may already have moved onto other subjects and other styles, but with this group of images they found the ideal way to resolve form and content, intellect, and emotion.

– Vince Aletti, April 2011

Vince Aletti reviews photography exhibitions for The New Yorker’s “Goings on About Town” section and writes a regular column about photo books for Photograph. He is the winner of the 2005 Infinity Award in writing from the International Center of Photography, where he was an adjunct curator for the museum’s 2009 “Year of Fashion,” including Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 and Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now. Male, a book of photographs and other artwork from Alettiís collection, was published by Andrew Roth’s PPP Editions at the end of 2008, following exhibitions of that work at New York’s White Columns and Vancouver’s Presentation House. The Disco Files 1973-1978, a collection of Aletti’s weekly columns on disco, was published in spring 2009 by DJhistory in the UK.

 

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Rita Barros

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011 Christa Kreeger Bowden

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011 Matthew Dols

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Mariah Doren and Johanna Paas

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Robin Germany

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Mikhail Gubin

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011      Yo Imae

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Chad Kleitsch

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Anne Arden McDonald

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Bradly Dever Treadaway

 

Carlos Loret de Mola

Being Upstate

April 9 – May 30, 2011

This exhibition presents a selection of photographs from a project that I began in 2006 and am just now completing.

In titling it “Being Upstate”, I am not suggesting that I know that much about Upstate New York. It is not really about New York State at all. I use the phrase “being upstate” as a way to characterize my life here and this project is essentially my response to that catagorization.

I began by photographing the landscape because of its strong presence in the art traditionally associated with the Hudson River Valley. I soon got distracted from it and began wondering what the hell I am doing here. I took a portrait of myself in my underwear standing by the stairwell of the old farmhouse I live in. That image became the bellwether for where this project was headed.

“Being Upstate” was originally conceived as a book project, so the images were never intended to stand on their own and tell some complete story. The relationship between the images, their layout and how they would unfold from page to page would define the narrative.

When presented with the opportunity to exhibit this project, I wanted to create a more flexible way to experience it. I wanted to fill a space with images that could relate to one another in a more random, non-linear manner. One could walk into a gallery and begin at any point, gravitating to whatever image or cluster of images that called out to them first. From there they could go in any direction because where they began would relatie to otehr images on other walls in any order. The story would unfold differently for every viewer depending on how they wish to follow it , but in the end it is the same story. One ould even just sit in the middle and take it all in as a whole, giving the viewer a broad feeling for the project without gravitating to specific images.

Many will go from wall to wall in a conventional clockwise order and that is fine but after they get to the supposed end they will realize that , unike a book, there is no structured sequence to this experience. My hope is that the viewer will then wander through the room, just as I wandered through notions and experiences while making these images and bringing them all together as one piece.

Photography allows for unconventional ways to tell stories. We can rely on consciounses and awareness to have a story unfold with no plot, no line, just images that pose questions and suggst answers. Being Upstate is an attempt at autobiography. It relays experiences, emotions and responses through subtle and often elusive connections between the images. The thing I value most about working working with photography in this manner is that the stories are mutable. The narrative can only be hinted at, never explicated.

– Carlos Loret de Mola, 2011

Carlos Loret de Mola was born in Havana, Cuba and currently makes his home in Hudson, New York. He received a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Georgia State University. After a decade-long career of freelance photography and digital imaging in New York City, he relocated to Hudson, where he began his current body of work. His photographs have been exhibited at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (New Paltz, NY); the Hyde Collection (Glens Falls, NY); Rayko Photo Center (San Francisco, CA) and at the Atlanta Photography Gallery (Atlanta, GA). Loret de Mola’s work was selected for CPW’s inaugural Regional Triennial of the Photographic Arts and published in our magazine PQ in 2005. His photographs have also been exhibited at and are in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX).

carlosloretdemola.com

Made in Woodstock V

January 15 – March 27, 2011


Featuring work by CPW’s artists-in-residence from 2007-2009

Made in Woodstock V is the fifth installment of the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s (CPW) series featuring work created by recent participants of WOODSTOCK A-I-R, CPW’s residency program for artists of color working in the photographic arts.

Established in 1999, WOODSTOCK A-I-R is a workspace residency program which provides participants with time, facilities, space, and the critical & technical support necessary to move forward. The program encourages the pursuit of creative risk-taking in an inspiring and supportive environment where, working without distraction, photographic artists can focus intensely on their own work, continue works in progress, layout their goals for the future and break new creative ground. Each resident spent 2-4 weeks in Woodstock, staying at the Villetta Inn at the historic Byrdcliffe art colony. With quiet and solitude, yet enlivened by a community of fellow artists, WOODSTOCK A-I-R participants work in the idyllic environment of Woodstock- a gathering place renowned for its vibrant cultural history.

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Representing the broad range of photographic practices and interests that WOODSTOCK A-I-R helps realize, the 18 artists featured in MIW V engage in an inspired and deeply self-aware dialogue on history, politics, representational concerns, and more. As no two residencies are the same, the exhibition reveals the intensely diverse, dynamic interests of the artists as a group, and addresses each image-makers own particular story and voice.

William Cordova’s (Miami, FL) sets of photographs acknowledge, document, and archive the marginalized histories of the Young Lords and Black Panther Party.

LaToya Ruby Frazier (New Brunswick, NJ) turns the camera on her own family, negotiating complex and fraught familial relationships as both subject and photographer.

A mixed- media artist, Tia-Simone Gardner (NYC) investigates psychological relationships to locations and spaces and the idea of home.

In his cardboard cutout series, Lawrence Getubig (Keysville, VA) reexamines the fantasy genres and narratives of childhood by casting himself as a character in relation to the typical white American male hero.

Working within environmental portraiture, Daniel Handal (NYC) explores a small but burgeoning subculture of young adults who are actively engaged in farming, raising livestock, and living sustainably in the Hudson Valley.

Wayne Hodge’s (NYC) video and photo-based collages critique the influence of historical theater on contemporary visual culture and its role in transforming ideologies of race.



Jeannette Louie’s (West Orange, NJ) articulates the psychology behind emotional states such as boredom, dread, and inattention with photo-collages that evoke the odd, random thought processes of the subconscious.

Hee Jin Kang’s (NYC) photographs of abandoned mattresses in New York City elevate the mundane and everyday into observational poetry.

In an homage to the surrealist artist Claude Cahun and her partner Marcell Moore, the collaborative team of Tarrah Krajnak (Winooski, VT) & Wilka Roig (Ithaca, NY) address representational trends of women within photography.

Deeply struck by the deaths of 7 friends and family in a brief period of time, Emily Hanako Momohara’s (Cincinnati, OH) Koden series contemplates the ritual of bereavement by creating dual portraits of herself and a shadow representing aspects of those who have passed on.

Ricardo Morales-Hernández’s (Lidra, Puerto Rico) superimposed and heavily worked images remake and review history and its artifacts.

Dawit L. Petros (NYC) creates diptyches that address notions of presence and absence within natural environments, addressing the tension between one’s self and surroundings.

Using cutting-edge video gaming technology and referencing tropes of American landscape painting, Tim Portlock’s (Philadelphia, PA) constructed cityscapes examine the changing relationships between communities and urban planning.

Justine Reyes’ (NYC) grouping of photographs tenderly display a set of drawers filled with her uncle’s possessions, presenting memento mori which speak to themes of memory and familial legacy.

Kanako Sasaki (Sendai, Japan) works out of the representational tradition of Japanese ukiyo-e paintings as she poses and photographs herself in a dreamlike, “floating” world.

Lupita Murillo Tinnen’s (Plano, TX) Mourning Sickness series reveals the photographer in a vulnerable, emotionally intense, and cathartic private performance as she deals with grief surrounding her 3-year struggle with infertility.

Inspired by the Hudson River School of Art and drawing from cultural references of the iconic, the monumental, and the symbolic, Donna J. Wan’s (Menlo Park, CA) large-scale photographs of the natural world question and subvert traditional perceptions of landscape.

CPW’s artists-in-residence build upon existing genres, while injecting their own personal inquiries and perspectives. MIW V champions these 18 talented artists of color and provides a forum for a visual engagement with a wide yet interconnected range of photographic methods, interests, and subject matter. Together, they celebrate and enrich Woodstock’s historic role as a home, community, and source of inspiration for generations of artists – past, present, and future.

 

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011William Cordova

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011LaToya Ruby Frazier

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Tia-Simone Gardner

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Lawrence Getubig

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Daniel Handal

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Wayne Hodge

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Hee Jin Kang

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Krajnak & Roig

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Jeannette Louie

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Emily Hanako Momohara

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Ricardo Morales-Hernández

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Dawit L. Petros

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Tim Portlock

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Justine Reyes

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Kanako Sasaki

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Lupita Murillo Tinnen

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Donna J. Wan

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The Frustration of Expression

curated by Dorota Czerner in collaboration with iNDIE

November 13 – December 23, 2010

Curated by Dorota Czerner and featuring works by former participants in the iNDIE Media Program, The Frustration of Expression brings back to Woodstock one of the most renowned voices in contemporary video art and an artist who spent his formative artistic years in Woodstock, New York, home to one of the nation’s longest running artist colonies.

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The exhibition features Gary Hill’s Wall Piece (2000) a complex multifaceted installation which features the artist hurtling himself against a wall, uttering a single word from a prepared monologue. With each impact a strobe flashes, both complicating and articulating the moment Hill simultaneously hits the wall and utters a word.

With Wall Piece as the exhibitions “center piece”, the five selected alumni of the iNDIE Media Program working with Czerner and iNDIE Director Russell Richardson, have created newly commissioned pieces both in response to Hill’s work and focused on addressing “the frustration of expression”, particularly in connection to having grown up in Woodstock. Their video installations, created specifically for this exhibition, explore the terrain of adolescent expression and the obstacles – both external and internal – to that expression. The development of these pieces can be followed on VIMEO by clicking here, as Richardson accompanies his former students and uses his own camera to capture the complex process of artistic creation

With the Aquarian paradise tangled before them in beaded necklaces, young people of Woodstock grow up knowingly listening through the gap between myth and reality.

The disjuncture between the town, and its own essential happening, generates nostalgia for the absent story.

“True life is absent. But we are in the world. All metaphysics arises and is maintained in this alibi” (Emmanual Levinas).

Teenage rebellion embodies rejection of the fake. Desire for a true life. Truly spoken – truly experienced. Every trajectory of acquiring an identity reveals both: a negation, and a yearning turned towards “the elsewhere, the otherwise, and the other”.

Yet ingress into the metaphysical space is never easy.

There, at the threshold, lies trepidation.

There, is breaking the boundaries of social acceptability, pushing against the predictabilities of the physical world. Testing the veracity of words and spaces, of textural and textual objects. Walking the line of trust.

There, is violence comparable to breaking through one’s own walls.

In flashes of flesh – flashes of light.

Breakthrough fragments of identity surface intimate worlds, expressed by the flow of images weaving themselves from the other side.

Like summer fireflies, their expressive energies illuminate the darkened field.

– Dorota Czerner, 2010

Born in Wroclaw, Poland, in 1966, Dorota Czerner is a writer and poet who currently serves as the editor of Open Space magazine. She actively collaborates on numerous mixed-media performances and audio/visual projects and is in the process of writing an experimental novel entitled a place of dunes.

Established in 1999, iNDIE provides hands-on educational offerings which allows youth between 16 and 23 years of age to come together, work on media projects – chiefly video – and interact with mentors from the local community. CPW is pleased to have had a history of collaborating with the program since its inception including hosting special screenings and curated exhibitions.

 

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Gary Hill

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Marilla Abrahamsen

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010    Will Lytle

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Anthony Morelli

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Kaela Smith

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Taima Smith

 

 

Lothar Osterburg

Piranesi

November 13 – December 23, 2010

My work is driven by images which are burned into my memory and which persistently resurface.

I recreate these images by building small-scale scenes quickly and intuitively from readily available, found materials. Continuously undoing and re-doing, I allow my imagination to fill gaps in my knowledge or to completely transform the image. I then photograph the scenes, finally printing them as photogravures. Cleared of superfluous detail by time, and altered during their recreation, the remembered images take on a timeless, archetypal quality.

In the “Piranesi” project, I celebrate both the artistic process and my own lineage as printmaker. From a singular starting point – the memory of Giovanni Batista Piranesi’s Carceri print series of imaginary prisions – I developed my own imaginary space, which I document and assemble into a stop motion animation film accompanied with music by Elizabeth Brown. From the photographs of a model, I produce photogravure plates, which, inspired by Piranesi, I then rework into a second version. Like “Piranesi”, who was influenced by the Roman ruins in the creation of his imaginary prisons, I bring my own experiences and memories into my created world through a process which is similar to the constant transformations that cities like New York or Rome have undergone. Building everything with found materials and reusing my own sculptures, plates, video, and prints, Piranesi is the product of a continuous and multi-layered rebuilding of an imaginary world formed by glimpses of the past.

– Lothar Osterburg, 2010

Lothar Osterburg is a sculptor, photographer, animator, and a master printer in etching and photogravure. Since 1993, he has been running his own studio in New York City, where he has collaborated with Adam Fuss, Lee Friedlander, Laurie Simmons, and many more. A three-time MacDowell Colony Fellow, Osterburg was a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Liguria Studies Center, and Anderson Ranch. His work has been shown at venues such as the Fitchburg Museum of Art (Fitchburg, MA), the 2nd Print Biennial at ICPNA (Lima, Peru), Moeller Fine Art and Lesley Heller Gallery (both in NYC). His work is in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Fine Arts Museum of Houston, among others. Awards include a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a 2010 Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and two NYFA grants. He has taught at Bard College since 1999 and at Cooper Union since 2002.

lotharosterburgphotogravure.com

About the Process

Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process or photo-mechanical process known for producing rich blacks and infinite grays.

To produce a photogravure, a copper plate is coated with a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which had been exposed to a film positive, and then etched, resulting in a high quality intaglio print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a photograph.

The earliest forms of photogravure were developed in the 1830s by the original pioneers of photography itself, Henry Fox Talbot in England and NicÈphore NiÈpce in France. They were seeking a means to make prints that would not fade, by creating photographic images on plates that could then be etched. The etched plates could then be printed using a traditional printing press. These early images were among the first photographs, pre-dating daguerreotypes and the later wet-collodion photographic processes. Fox Talbot worked on extending the process in the 1850s and patented it in 1852 (‘photographic engraving’) and 1858 (‘photoglyphic engraving’).

 

Questions Without Answers

Questions Without Answers: Photographs by the Photo Agency VII

curated by Amy Schlegel

October 8 – 31, 2010

Questions Without Answers presents photographs from the renowned VII Photo Agency depicting defining events of the post-Cold War period and their aftermaths, from the Fall of the Berlin Wall and September 11, 2001, to Iraq and Afghanistan, The Balkans and Congo, Chechnya and Gaza, among others.

The unique contributions of the independent photojournalists affiliated with VII are highlighted in more than 125 photographs, newly printed for the occasion, many displayed for the first time. These photojournalists collectively embody the tradition of concerned photography as their mission is to “document conflict — environmental, social and political, both violent and nonviolent — to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe.” As Stephen Mayes, CEO of VII, comments, “[VII’s] work has never been about simplistic representation, but rather about supporting debate and contributing to change.”

The end of the Cold War in 1989 began a new era in world history as globalization, modernization, regional and civil conflicts, complex terrorism, and environmental issues surged to the fore. People, states, and regions struggled to grapple with these ongoing challenges. At the same time, the media was enmeshed in a shift from traditional reportage to the era of multimedia, 24-hour coverage that blurs the distinctions between professional and citizen reporters. This exhibition offers a prism of both cataclysmic events and persistent conundrums of the last several decades.

In 2004, on the occasion of the founding of its program for photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights called Exposure, the IGL established a partnership with VII Photo Agency. James Nachtwey, a VII co-founder, commented then that “Exposure will help us all to understand photography as a valuable tool that can help us learn how to make sense of the violence, the destruction, the chaos of this world. Exposure will help to create an incredibly important historical legacy, providing meaning in our lives. Most importantly, it can help to create a public awareness integral to the process of change.” Since then, VII photographers have mentored Tufts students in workshops in Argentina, Bali, Cambodia, Kashmir, and Kosovo.

This exhibition has been co-organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, Tufts’ Institute for Global Leadership and VII Photo Agency, with images selected by the directors of the three organizations, with assistance from a Tufts Exposure leader, Samuel James. The exhibition was curated by Amy Schlegel, director of the Tufts University Art Gallery.

VII gratefully acknowledges Canon USA whose support made many of these photographs and the prints in the exhibition possible.

Photography Now 2010 – Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics

curated by Lesley A. Martin

July 24 – August 29, 2010

The artists presented in Part 2: The New Docugraphics are driven by a different set of aesthetic criteria and motivating factors from those in The New Skew.

For the most part, the photographers in The New Docugraphics are concerned with how to best depict and describe the world around us, focusing on specific sociological issues and observations. And while this particular set of photographers puts us in touch with the most timely and topical issues of our day, they are hardly traditional documentarians according to the old-school conventions of the genre. Foregoing the aesthetics of traditional photojournalism, these photographers have opted for approaches that have more in common with the conceptually driven photographers of The New Topographics than with old-school Magnum Photos.

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This now-historic movement of The New Topographics has been described as signaling “the emergence of a new photographic approach [in which] romanticization gave way to cooler appraisal” and also as “more attuned to conceptual concerns of the broader art field.” These aspects of the New Topographics inform all of the artists here to some degree. The critical difference— however, is that despite the mostly restrained aesthetic approach, each artist also injects a personal or “concerned” approach, accomplishing a hybrid of the “cool’ and the subjective—the topographic and the personal, the broadly documentary and the particular.

In Mike Mergen’s series on voting sites in the United States, for example, we are asked to consider the context for American democracy in action—the voting booth—situated in locations ranging from the sublime to the absurd. Brook Reynolds presents a catalog of vacant and abandoned sites of gasoline stations as a meditation on our dependency on fossil fuels; Thomas Gardiner isolates a handful of iconic details, contemplating the social landscape of our neighbor to the North (Western Canada); and Eric White depicts the disarmingly peaceful border between the U.S. and Mexico. Christina Seely seductively draws our attention to the most “highly illuminated regions on the NASA map of the night earth,” as a way of provoking thought about energy consumption in urban centers. For the most part, all of these images utilize to the fullest the coolly descriptive potential of panoramic and medium- and large-formats.

Jennifer Wilkey and Tony Chirinos both address issues that dovetail with concerns over healthcare of family and in general, bringing us closer to consider, as Chirinos puts it, “the defenselessness of an individual’s life.”

Cynthia Bittenfield collates a selection of notes and ephemera, including medals, left behind by a young suicidal soldier, along with images that capture the traces of his life – almost evidentiary in nature, but deeply emotional as well.

Natan Dvir presents a sympathetic examination of young Arabs in Israel and their conflicted identity, using the project as a foil against which to explore his own identity as an Israeli. At the furthest end of the subjective scale, Heather M. O’Brien, reflects on the ways in personal images, via their “surface structure” become, in their own way, magical.

Magic backed by precision; restraint matched with seriousness of purpose and personal commitment – this counterintuitive combination defines, to a large degree The New Docugraphics.

-Lesley A. Martin, Publisher and Director of Content, Aperture Foundation

Lesley A. Martin is publisher of Aperture Foundation’s book program and director of content for the Foundation as a whole. She has edited over sixty-five books of photography, including Reflex: A Vik Muniz PrimerMy Life in Politics: Tim Davis; Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names by Alex Webb; Richard Misrach: On the BeachBeate Gütschow: LS/SParis • New York • Shanghai by Hans Eijkelboom; and The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography by Lyle Rexer. Martin is also the coauthor of two volumes on design, Graphicscape: Tokyo and Graphicscape: New York; and a contributing editor to Full Vinyl: The Subversive Art of Designer Toys and Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Cynthia Bittenfield

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010   Tony Chirinos

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Natan Dvir

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Thomas Gardiner

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Michael Mergen

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Heather M. O’Brien

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Brook Reynolds

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Christina Seely

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010   Eric White

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part II: The New Docugraphics", July 24 - September 12, 2010Jennifer Wilkey

 

 

Photography Now 2010 – Either/And, Part I: The New Skew

curated by Lesley A. Martin

June 12 – July 18, 2010

The ten artists presented in Either/And, Part I: The New Skew propose a variety of idiosyncratic, skewed takes on photography. In doing so, they share a critical engagement with the accepted conventions of genre, series making, and photographic seeing.

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Take, for example, the work of Erica Allen and Gabriel Garcia Roman. The subjects in Allen’s images feel strangely familiar, but ultimately reject identification. As the artist describes, they are “fictional portraits created using anonymous faces from contemporary barbershop hairstyle posters combined with figures from discarded studio portraits.” Garcia Roman’s portraits, on the other hand, initially seem more decorative than substantive—yet, closer observation of each portrait reveals childhood memories in the form of personal photographs that have been woven into the semi-psychedelic backgrounds.

Then there is Rachel Bee Porter, who uses visual hyperbole to “pervert the language of commercial and editorial photography.” She finds a comrade in Amy Stevens’ manic cake décor—Martha Stewarts run gleefully amok! These are the characteristics common to all the artists in this group: the use of eye-catching, graphic surfaces and known forms that belie their true intent; plus a sly resistance to or inversion of established modes (of portraiture, as in the case of Allen and Garcia Roman; or of commercial still-life as seen in the works of Porter and Stevens).

Following in that vein, Sarah Palmer, Sam Falls, and Jordan Tate all forego traditional expectations of stylistic coherency in favor of situational aesthetics—each image is rendered without privileging any single style over others. Palmer and Falls in particular create work that is highly personal while also hyper-conscious of both the failings and the possibilities of the photographic medium. Tate’s work is most expressly concerned with the variety of possible forms that photos can take today—from the humble .GIF to three-dimensional and iPhone images.

Matthew Gamber, Charles Shotwell, and Laura Wulf, each share this interest in exploring the changing forms and function of photography. Whether meditating on the the optical nature of black-and-white photography, the changing role of the printed image, or the blurred boundaries of drawing and photography, these artists flesh out a common universe of concerns for contemporary photography: where and how do we experience it? And, perhaps most pressingly, what exactly is it?

For the members of the New Skew, the external world initiates the image, but the end result is rarely just a copy; the thing is never quite itself. What is certain, throughout the work of these ten artists, is that the power of the photographic image, it’s ability to surprise and to seduce, is still very much alive.

-Lesley A. Martin, Publisher and Director of Content, Aperture Foundation

Lesley A. Martin is publisher of Aperture Foundation’s book program and director of content for the Foundation as a whole. She has edited over sixty-five books of photography, including Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer; My Life in Politics: Tim Davis; Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names by Alex Webb; Richard Misrach: On the Beach; Beate Gütschow: LS/S; Paris • New York • Shanghai by Hans Eijkelboom; and The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography by Lyle Rexer. Martin is also the coauthor of two volumes on design, Graphicscape: Tokyo and Graphicscape: New York; and a contributing editor to Full Vinyl: The Subversive Art of Designer Toys and Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s


"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Erica Allen

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010   Sam Falls

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Matthew Gamber

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Sarah Palmer

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Rachel Bee Porter

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Gabriel Garcia Roman

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Charles Shotwell

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010    Amy Stevens

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Jordan Tate

"Photography Now 2010 - Either/And, Part 1: The New Skew", June 12 - July 18 2010Laura Wulf