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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.

Installation View of "partlycloudymostlysunny" June 12 - September 12, 2010

Andrew Neumann

PARTLYCLOUDYMOSTLYSUNNY

June 12 – September 12, 2010

— Introductory statement by Francisco J. Ricardo, Ph.D.

If we were pressed to summarize the major practices of 20th century visual art, they could arguably fall into three principal ones: representation – depiction of experience as sensed in the world; formalism – experiments based on geometric or color regularity, but also including conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s; and process – art that makes explicit the manner of its construction, as exemplified by Abstract Expressionism, action painting, and many post-World War II directions in modern sculpture. Despite the tendency of some artists to blend some of these dimensions, each tradition from Cubism to postmodern hyperrealism has remained remarkably loyal to one or another of these directions, and rarely more than one.

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The historical regularity of this pattern is what enables us to understand why the work of Andrew Neumann produces an insistent sense of uncanny refusal to fall into one of these patterns, for it comprises and equal synthesis of all three major modalities of art while maintaining them all in continual tension. There are, for example, undeniably evident forms of representation in the photographic and filmic realism contained in these works. Likewise, the rectilinear structure in the composition of elements of each work confirms a marked attention to formal considerations. No less obviously, Neumann’s Industrial Wall Panels make visible the perspective of the observer by integrating it within the electronic and kinetic mechanisms of the actual construction – all of which signals an emphasis on process where the work is reconfigured not as a higher kind of object but rather as a new kind of subject through the shift in emphasis from the finished work to a demonstration and enactment of the primordial processes of the observer in the filmic sculptures that perform their own gaze. But in all works, we can sense engagements with new temporalities and points of observation subtly embedded in a treatment of the image that is simultaneously filmic and sculptural.
– Francisco J. Ricardo, Ph.D.,
Rhode Island School of Design

This work reflects issues concerning the uses of technology, language, and transmission of power in both its various corporeal and elusive modes. These works, which I call Industrial Wall Panels, re-contextualize the technologically derived icons and place them in a new environment that allows one to question their original use and see the possibilities of organizing these icons/objects into a new language with a completely re-defined hierarchy.

I am interested in technology and its use as a representational model. With this work I am attempting to develop a specific iconography that reflects upon the recent evolution of technology while at the same time pulling it out of context and questioning its main function as a reflection of the authoritative and corporate powers that it is most clearly aligned and supported by.

By deconstructing these technologies, and reorganizing them into new formal “Panels”, I am questioning the value of the objects, disregarding any protocol (which is at the heart of any system) and exploring the relationship between technology and the world it is meant to serve.

True, a certain mechanical aesthetic is prominent, employing, for example, video capture and kinetic movement of sculptural elements, but the principal engagement happens in a kind of space between a captured moment and the current moment of motion, or between an observable aspect of the sculptural object and the same component viewed through the works video-retinal act of self-observation. This kind of engagement defines a space within which the technology of the video or kinetic sculpture is experienced less as an artifact of the technology than as a highly formal bridge into perpetual questions of depth, objecthood, and presence.

The framework, or panel has always been constructed of plywood. Originally, these panels were painted “industrial gray”, so the base material was already being transformed/acted upon, and any “organic qualities” were rejected or dismissed. For the past few years, in a desire to “strip away the veil” of the object, as it were, I started exposing in part the raw material itself, the plywood. This led to further contradictions between materials. Much of the most recent works have rid themselves of the painted veil completely, leaving the frameworks in a natural state, devoid of any technological connections, and those objects/icons placed on the frame hopefully have an even deeper ironic value.

Another main interest of mine, as a practitioner of avant-garde film methods and ideologies, has involved the observation, manipulation, and dissection of the “cinematic apparatus”; the film camera and projector. In electronic media, the connection is not as cleanly defined or direct; although the camera and monitor/projector are the basic mediators of the image, a great deal of electronic manipulation can occur with ease and immediacy. With the wall panels that incorporate cameras and monitors, the project was to allow the “apparatus” to be evident to the observer, and allow for the experience of optical apperception, perception, and misperception to be integral to the work itself. My project thus uses a deconstruction of technology as a transparently instrumental medium to highlight the rupture between machine (which serves the user in a dedicated mode) and user (whose subjective perspective is shaped by its use), embedding a sense of subjectivity into the mechanism itself.

The Video Projections draw upon another series of related issues. From a technological standpoint, these works are based on real-time manipulation and interaction. I designed a system where a computer program controls a small video switcher via the serial port, enabling interruptions in real-time between a variety of video sources. In essence, it works like an optical printer for video; the great advantage being that it operates in real time, and even lets one “improvise” and manipulate in real-time.

My work is about developing a new schema by presenting and integrating a variety of contradictory set of signs, visual references, and textual notions in an attempt at hybridization that will hopefully provoke in viewers a new relationship to mechanistic visualization.

– Andrew Neumann, 2010

Andrew Neumann is a Boston-based artist who works in a variety of media, including sculpture, film and video installation, and electronic/interactive music. In 2004, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2006, a LEF Grant. He has recently had one-person shows at bitforms Gallery (Seoul, Korea), the DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA), bitforms Gallery (NYC), and numerous shows for the Boston Cyberarts Festival. His videos have been shown on PBS, The Worldwide Video Festival, and Artist Space. He has had solo music/video performances at Isseu Project Room, Experimental Intermedia, and Roulette, all in NYC. Neumann has also been an artist-in-residence at Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY), The MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH), YADDO (Saratoga Springs, NY), Art/OMI (Chatham, NY), and the Experimental Television Center (Owego, NY).

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Landscape Forever

curated by Dion Ogust

Presented in collaboration with the Woodstock Land Conservancy.

January 9 – February 28, 2010

 

Human beings need nature.



We enter the woods, the mountains, the shadows, and streams, leaving behind the noise of our constructed worlds, the chatter of our minds. Here, something else rules. The terrain, the wildlife, the mosquitoes, snakes, and bears – here, we are the visitors. The natural world reveals the fact that we are part of something else. In all its profusion, nature shows us to ourselves.

Human beings need art.

Art is the expression of our uniquely human vision, our beauty and grace, our ugliness and discomfort, our confusion and our insight. We may shock one another, or we may profoundly encourage one another. Either way, we are communicating our deepest secrets. In all its profusion, art shows us to ourselves.

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In Woodstock, these two human needs are intertwined. Here, we are surrounded both by the mountains and by a history of respect for art and the creative imagination. Two of the vital organizations working to support and protect these precious resources are the Woodstock Land Conservancy and the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

A few years ago it struck me that these two groups could expand and enhance their efforts by bringing the resources of the CPW to help document, describe, and exhibit the rich environments WLC works to save. Ten photographers who live and work in our region were invited to spend time photographing various landscapes – open fields, rocky terrains, meandering streams, lush forests, and more – all sites which are now protected through the efforts of the Conservancy.

Over a period of four seasons in 2009, these artists have responded to the settings with their own individual inquiries and techniques. Some are cerebral in their approach, while others are purely visual. Each eye sees a different story, reveals different layers. Their work has developed over the past year, just as the terrain itself has changed throughout the seasons.

During an especially shaky and unsettling time in the world at large, we can see very clearly how much we need to work together. This project has helped CPW and WLC reach out to groups within the community including children from the Woodstock Elementary School.  For their part, the artists spoke of finding themselves anchored in the sanctuary of the natural world, looking closely, paying attention, and returning with a message locked in a little box we call a camera.

In looking at the landscape, we all have different points of view. Our varied interpretations are not a problem, they’re a gift, enhancing life for all of us.

– Dion Ogust, 2009

Manhattan-born visual artist  Dion Ogust moved to Woodstock in 1988, bringing with her a wealth of experience in animation, film, and photography. In the ensuing two decades, she has become a sought-after freelance photographer and photojournalist, establishing her own studio in the historic arts colony.

Critically acclaimed for her portraiture, Ogust specializes in creating images of writers, musicians and actors, as well as families. Her work has appeared on numerous book and CD covers and her video commissions have been featured on websites, on television and in a variety of public presentations and venues. Ogust’s award-winning photography has appeared in international and regional publications including The New York Times, Time Magazine, Acoustic Guitar, Hudson Valley Magazine, House, and the Woodstock Times. 

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Photography at Woodstock from 2001-2007 and she participates in the Onteora High School’s Student Mentor Program.

This project marks her first curatorial endeavor.

The Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) is committed to the permanent protection and preservation of open lands, natural resources, scenic areas, and historic sites in Woodstock and the surrounding eastern Catskills.

We believe that it is the places we love most that bring us together as a community, and that everyone benefits from conservation of the forests, fields, wetlands, and streams that keep the air and water clean, support farming, logging, and tourism, and are home to diverse wildlife.

WLC works with landowners who want to protect and determine the future use of their land. By offering alternatives to selling land for development that both respect private pro perty rights and can provide substantial tax benefits and financial advantages, we support the needs of landowners and local communities while protecting natural resources.  WLC often collaborates with other conservation groups, businesses, and local and state agencies to achieve our goals.  

This exhibition was made possible in part by funds from the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Services & Promotion Fund administered by the Dutchess County Arts Council. 

Additional funds have been provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Manhattan-born visual artist Dion Ogust moved to Woodstock in 1988, bringing with her a wealth of experience in animation, film, and photography. In the ensuing two decades, she has become a sought-after freelance photographer and photojournalist, establishing her own studio in the historic arts colony.

Critically acclaimed for her portraiture, Ogust specializes in creating images of writers, musicians and actors, as well as families. Her work has appeared on numerous book and CD covers and her video commissions have been featured on websites, on television and in a variety of public presentations and venues. Ogust’s award-winning photography has appeared in international and regional publications including The New York Times, Time Magazine, Acoustic Guitar, Hudson Valley Magazine, House, and the Woodstock Times.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Photography at Woodstock from 2001-2007 and she participates in the Onteora High School’s Student Mentor Program.

This project marks her first curatorial endeavor.

 

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010Richard Eldeman

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010     Gay Leonhardt

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010  Bill Miles

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010    Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010Fawn Potash

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010Peter Schoenberger

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010Carla Shapiro

Landscape Forever, Dion Ogust, January 9 - February 28, 2010Williams & Russ

 

 

 

Installation View of "Vanitas", January 9 - February 28, 2010

Justine Reyes

Vanitas

January 9 – February 28, 2010

Taking inspiration from Dutch Vanitas paintings, these photographs incorporate personal artifacts within the traditional construct of still life. Pairing objects that belonged to my grandmother with my own possessions combines present and past and speaks to memory and personal legacy.

Both the decomposition of the natural (such as rotting fruit and wilting flowers) and the breakdown of the man-made objects reference the physical body and mortality. These objects bear witness to a spiritual trace or imprint that is left behind or residual. The insertion of subtle contemporary details (like the saran wrap, the family portrait, etc.) locates the work in a specific time and place. It also lightens the weight of both the art historical references and the family history.

Much of my work explores the power of objects to bear witness to intangible ideas and emotional truths. Moreover, my work often explores how identity is shaped by our relationship to and our personal idea of home. This body of work employs the iconography and symbols of common everyday objects as a means of communicating memory and the passing of time.

Justine Reyes lives and works in New York. In 2000 she received BFA from Syracuse University and in 2004 she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Reyes’ work revolves around issues of identity, history, and time; and examines our relationship to these themes within the context of a post 9/11 world. Using photography and installation, she examines family, the idea of leaving and returning home, and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.

Reyes has shown her work both nationally and internationally. She participated in Proyecto Circo at the 8th Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba and took part in Contemporary Istanbul in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2008 Reyes was an artist in residence at both St. Mary’s College of Maryland and here at the Center for Photography at Woodstock where her series “Vanitas” began. In 2009 Reyes’s “Guayabera” series was included in Queens International 4 at The Queens Museum of Art. Reyes was recently awarded the Individual Artist Initiative (IAI) from the Queens Council on the Arts and a workspace residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for 2009-2010.

justinereyes.com

Martin Munkacsi

Ode to Munkacsi

November 4 – December 20, 2009

With the passing of Joan Munkacsi in December 2008, our community and the photography world at large lost a dear friend and a passionate supporter of one of the most defining artistic voices of the 20th century.

An internationally recognized expert in vintage jewelry and a highly respected writer who notably served many years as the editor of James Beard’s cook books, Joan left all who were graced to know her bedazzled with her intelligence, humor, and generosity.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock was particularly fortunate to have Joan Munkacsi as a friend. Over the years she served as a member of our board of directors, volunteered as copy editor of our publication, PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, and generously made her father’s work available for our annual benefit auction. In 1992, Joan contributed an eloquent article on her father’s oeuvre entitled The Man Who Loved Women: Martin Munkacsi in issue 54 of PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly.

It is impossible to say whether or not Martin Munkacsi’s legacy would have remained in relative obscurity had Joan not picked up the mantle. Certainly some passionate outsider may have rekindled our attentions toward such a revolutionary artistic voice, but none would have championed his work with the same level of dedication that Joan gave as she shared her father with the rest of the world.

On July 14, 1963, the legendary Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi (b. 1896) died after suffering a heart attack while attending a soccer game at Randall’s Island. His New York City-born daughter, Joan, was suddenly left fatherless and saddled with the stewardship of his photographic legacy at the age of 15.

Once billed as “the highest paid photographer in America”, Munkasci had single-handedly revolutionized the look and feel of fashion photography under the watchful eyes of Carmel Snow and Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar. His approach was exuberant, spontaneous, and full of a zest for life –his models leapt, ran, and turned cartwheels on the beach and even in the rain.

Although he was very successful, Munkacsi had never saved any money (in his later years, Joan recalled her father pawning cameras to buy her birthday presents). The radical changes he introduced to photography, which had gone on to influence the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon, had by the late 1950’s become standard practice. The once-illustrious Munkacsi suffered a string of misfortunes – a third divorce, his failing health – which forced him to cut back on assignments. At the time of his death, his work was virtually forgotten and his legacy was in shambles after years of neglect.

Over her lifetime, Joan worked diligently to cement her father’s place within the photographic canon by writing about his work and partnering with Howard Greenberg Gallery, which has represented Martin Munkacsi since organizing an exhibition of his work in 1984. In 1992, she helped the Aperture Foundation publish a definitive monograph of his work, and in 2007, she assisted the International Center of Photography in mounting a major retrospective in New York City entitled Think While You Shoot (a Munkacsi catch-phrase). In the year before her passing, Joan also helped to obtain a long-lost cache of over 4,000 fragile glass plate negatives that had been missing since her father’s death in 1963.

CPW’s exhibition of over two dozen modern prints of Munkacsi’s work reflect upon his major influences (fashion, street photography, his deep love for athleticism, the outdoors, and women), and features key points in his professional photographic career. Munkacsi worked for such publications as Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, the precursor to Life magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, and he was an enormous player in revolutionizing the aesthetics of fashion photography and magazine art direction. His signature approach is evident in his very first assignment for Harper’s, in which Lucille Brokaw runs towards him on the beach, as a “typical American girl in action, with her cape billowing out behind her” (Martin Munkacsi: An Aperture Monograph, p.47)

Richard Avedon said that Munkacsi “bought a taste for happiness and honesty and a love of women to what was, before him, a joyless, lying art. He was the first. He did it first, and today the world of what is called fashion is peopled with Munkacsi’s babies, his heirs.”

Yet if these photographs celebrate the work of a maverick and a visionary of his field, they necessarily pay tribute to his most indefatigable and ardent supporter, Joan Munkacsi. She was the primary force in championing her father’s remarkable contributions to the field and ensuring that his legacy was not forgotten. As such, this exhibition celebrates and remembers Joan Munkacsi, a dear friend and passionate advocate, who embodied the exuberance and joie de vivre evident in so much of her father’s vision in herself.

Special thanks to the Howard Greenberg Gallery, Lester Nafzger, and Bob Wagner for their help and support in making this exhibition possible.

 

Installation View of "Woodstock Generation" August 8 - October 25, 2009

Dennis Stock

Woodstcok Generation

August 8 – October 25, 2009

Woodstock Generation chronicles a chapter in American history; a time when the quest for new social systems drove young hippies into the most remote regions of the United States, forging a new way of life in the form of communes.

Faced with the alienation they felt within a changing American culture and the conventions of their former generation, and filled with a utopian ideal and an anarchistic temperament, these young rebels created intentional communities on the fringes of society.

Dennis Stock spent the entire year of 1969 visiting alternative communities in Colorado, New Mexico, and California. These communities ranged from the hip to the political to the spiritual; from the transient camp to the large and self-sufficient rural community, many of which took on names as if they were cities: New Buffalo and Lorien in New Mexico and Wheeler’s Free and Drop City, California. Each commune was different: a collection of individuals living together with some shared passion or practical function such as music, art, environmental concerns, political concerns, sexual liberation, the practice of Eastern religions, draft resistance, or fear of the apocalypse.

The photographs of “Woodstock Generation” portray a simpler life, closer to the Earth: the members of one commune clear the dry soils of the desert highlands dressed in only loin cloths while a young woman in an urban community bakes bread barefoot, and on a commune elsewhere, young lovers ride a horse in the nude. Stock remarks, “All my hippy pictures are about a search for a better life. I had a predisposition toward what they were trying to accomplish”.

Though the hippies were negatively portrayed in the news media of the 1960s and 1970s and at times blamed for the deterioration of American society, the ideals of the hippy commune were quintessentially American: a pioneering outlook which fits into the country’s heritage dating back as far as the Pilgrims. Dennis Stock playfully demonstrates this neo-Americanism in his Portrait of Couple in Gothic Style, 1969, his reinterpretation of the iconic Grant Wood painting American Gothic.

Dennis Stock can be considered somewhat of a nomad, spending his life photographing a wide range of subjects from movie stars to musicians, bikers, and hippies. All of his subjects shared a non-conformist approach to life which interested and inspired him: “I like being on the road. The photography I like, and the worlds I like are based on discovery… The photographers I admire most are the curious ones.”

Born in New York City in 1928, Dennis Stock’s photography evokes the spirit of America. In 1947 he became an apprentice to Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili after he won first prize in Life’s “Young Photographers” contest. As a result, in 1951 Robert Capa invited Stock to join Magnum Photos, the most world renowned of photographic cooperatives whose mission is to chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities. Capa encouraged Stock to move to Hollywood to shoot production stills on movie sets. There he created some of his most iconic photos of celebrities including James Dean, with whom Stock formed a close friendship.

From 1957 to 1960 Stock made lively portraits of jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet, Gene Krupa and Duke Ellington for his book Jazz Street. In 1968 Stock took a leave of absence from Magnum to create Visual Objectives, a film production company, and shot several documentaries. In the late 1960s and early 70s he documented the hippy movements of California and the American West and the subcultures of bikers, travelers, and motor-home owners along the country’s interstate highways. Today Stock concentrates on tulips: “Each of us needs to have a reverence for life. The object of our reverence should be life itself. In terms of photography, tulips are my perfect subjects.”

Dennis Stock has taught numerous workshops and exhibited his work widely in France, Germany, Italy, the United States and Japan.

He has worked as a writer, director and producer for television and film, and published numerous books of his work including: Portrait of a Young Man, James Dean, 1956; Jazz Street, 1960; The Happy Year, 1963; California Trip, 1970; The Alternative, 1970; Edge of Life, 1972; Brother Sun, 1974; The Circle of Season, 1974; America Seen, 1980; San Francesco d’Assisi, 1981; Provence Memories, 1988; Made in USA, 1995; James Dean: Per sempre giovane, 2005. His photographs have been acquired by many major museum collections including The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Dennis Stock resided in Woodstock, New York and Sarasota, Florida. He was married to the author Susan Richards. Dennis passed away on January 11, 2010. “Woodstock Generation” marked the last exhibition of his work that he worked on during his life time.

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A River Runs Through Me

curated by Ariel Shanberg

August 8 – September 20, 2009

In conjunction with New York’s Quadracentennial celebrations of the European discovery of what is now known as the Hudson River, the Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to present A River Runs Through Me, an exhibition of work by four artists whose photographic explorations celebrate rivers as a source of inspiration and intersection with personal, historical, cultural, and religious significance. Collectively, their works captures the tremendous influence these natural watercourses have on our lives.

Throughout history, rivers have provided the lifeblood to countless societies and cultures, as well as for commerce and as a source of artistic inspiration. In today’s world of global networks, interstate highways, the internet, and more, such rooted connections to what were once the defining element of a civilization (e.g. the Nile River in Egypt, the Euphrates River of the Middles East, the Thames in London, or Paris’ River Seine) are now lost if not severely disconnected. As often is its role, Art continuously offers us the portal to reconnect us to that from which our daily lives are severed. With their individual explorations, the artists featured in A River Runs through Me rekindle a sense of connection and influence as they draw inspiration from, document the nature of, and define the lasting effect rivers hold on us.

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Barbara Bosworth‘s (Stow, MA) work has long focused on her personal connection to the landscape. Featured in this exhibition are images from two bodies of work including The Bitterroot River series (1995-97) and work from her most recent residency at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont a place that was once her childhood home and now is now part of the national park. In her series The Bitterroot River, made along Montana’s Bitterroot River in the years following the death of a loved one, Bosworth employs the river’s elusive surface and constant state of flux as a meditative offering on our temporality while also embracing a more affirmative outlook in the river’s surroundings. Arranged in grid, the resulting installation offers a powerful visual narrative. Accompanying Bosworth’s work from the Bitterroot River series is a new multi-image landscape depicting one of the rivers that flows near by her childhood home. The enveloping sense of the culminating 40″x 90″ work retains the sense of wonderment and personal connection to nature.

In her series The Spoon River Anthology Albany NY native photographer Christa Parravani‘s (Sunderland, MA) brings the words of Edgar Lee Masters’ same titled collection of 244 poems written in the voice of the deceased residents of a fictional town describing the situations that led to their demise; to life. Set within evocative and lush settings of the MacDowell and Yaddo Art Colonies, each image, imbued with a tinge of mystery and melancholy posits the characters much like ghosts anchored to the setting of their mortal life. To Parravani, the individual is a product of his or her environment, and thereby belongs, embossed for eternity, within it. In their final presentation the each character’s poem is placed alongside the framed photograph collaborate to give voice to these fictional individuals who appear to be born out of and bound to their river setting.

Included in this exhibition are works from two series by Elijah Gowin (Kansas City, MO). The majority of images featured belong to Gowin’s series Watering and bring forth references to the religious importance rivers hold and water’s figurative and actual ability to offer a wiping of the past, and offer a sense of spiritual and physical renewal. With Christianity’s Baptismal tradition as a backdrop to this exploration, Gowin’s images lie within an ambiguous in-between state, like their subject matter, frozen within a state of transformation. Alongside works from the Watering series are images from his series Of Floating & Falling which echo the previous body of works’ religious themes with visual explorations of faith and doubt.

Though the Mississippi River never actually appears in the selection of images featured in this exhibition, by Alec Soth (Minneapolis, MN), the River’s presence reverberates through images of landscapes and individuals who live along its banks in his series Sleeping by the Mississippi. Known to the Algonkian Indians as the “Father of all Waters” the Mississippi River with its tremendous literary influence (perhaps most notably in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn) bares many identities along its course. Traveling along its path which covers ten States, Soth’s subjects appear posed before his 8×10 camera professing their dreams as well revealing as their tethered realities. Like the river whose constant stream can both transport us to our promised destination and pull us down to its haunting depths. Soth, who sees photography as closely akin to poetry, offers us through his images, a poetic journey along the Mississippi one that is both languid and jostling, seductive and haunting.

– Ariel Shanberg, 2009

Ariel Shanberg is the Executive Director at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

 

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Barbara Bosworth

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Elijah Gowin

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Christa Parravani

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009  Alec Soth

 

Photography Now 2009

juried by Charlotte Cotton

June 13 – July 26, 2009

The open submission process garnered a lively and diverse range of points of view about what, right now, constitutes photographic practice.

The scope of the photographs was a timely reminder to me that photographers continue to address the rapidly changing notion of photography – both by rephrasing the language and processes of analog photography and also by rendering artistic ideas with the new default techniques that digital photography offers us. The final choice of eight photographers hinged on my belief that they each showed a creative sentience for the enduring capacities of photography within a changing technological climate and a time when the gallery wall rather than the magazine page is the focus of much of the most innovative photography today.

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Lacey Terrell, Yijun Liao, and Betsy Seder each find their own routes through the much trammeled terrain of ‘constructed’ photography. In her offSET series, Lacey Terrell uses her role as a Still Photographer on film sets to find pungent, ‘off-camera’, compositions. She subverts the constructed scenes which are geared towards the vantage point of the film camera by focusing to the side of or in opposition to the conventional view. Terrell merges the fiction of the film sets with the unscripted reality of what her camera finds. That heady mix of photographic fact and constructed fiction is also present in Yijun Liao’s Stills from Unseen Films. In this series of one-off ‘scenes’ each image depicts a figure in an interior from films that exist only in Liao’s imagination. Liao composes her photographs and her subjects into pronounced yet ambiguous scenarios. She transfers the exploration for the narrative of the unseen film from her imagination to ours.

Betsy Seder’s series Time and Space Died Yesterday is inspired by Antonioni’s dystopic 1962 film L’Eclisse and the imposing architecture of the mid-twentieth Century Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini’s Fascistic Italian city, EUR. Seder eloquently rephrases the monochrome language of Antonioni’s film to create sparse and unsettling visions of EUR. In her choice to photograph the least Italianate architecture of the city, Seder opens up the narrative of the work beyond its specific locale to the universal use of architecture within dictatorships and political regimes of the 20th century.

Clint Baclawski’s free-standing lightboxes are, similar to Seder’s imposing black-and-white photographs, a refreshing injection of drama and physicality into architectural photography. Baclawski’s antenna for the moment when a space and the choreography of its inhabitants fuse into a spectacle is sharp. Coupled with the final resolution of his select images into their sculptural form, Baclawski draws out the material spectacle of photography.

Alex Aristei’s diaristic, off-kilter framing of lived moments is both very much within a current vein of contemporary art photography as-well-as an homage to the enduring potential of photography. His style of photography is one that I call ‘waiting for pictures to happen’ – a vocabulary of pictures that are all culled from the permission that a camera gives to look photographically at the world around us. The cumulative effect of a mosaic of Aristei’s photographs is a reminder of the potent visual charge that the medium gives to day to day experiences.

Shane Lavalette and Stacey Tyrell have both created bodies of work that locate a small community within their distinct landscapes. Stacey Tyrell’s gentle photographs of the people and places on the island of Nevis in the West Indies subtly narrates the emotions of a migrant’s return to ‘home’ and the mixed emotions of longing and displacement. In Shane Lavalette’s portrayal of the landscape and inhabitants of a national park in County Clare in Ireland, Lavalette thoughtfully and plainly brings together the beauty and contemporary politics of this rural area. Both photographers update and re-work the language of documentary photography in substantial ways and, in so doing, remind us how photography continues to commemorate the visual legacy of history upon the earth and its communities.

Toshihiro Yashiro’s strange, vibrant photographs were the strongest fusion of photography and performance that I saw in this year’s submissions. His KAITENKAI series (the title blends the Japanese words for revolving and revolution) documents his performances in public and domestic spaces where objects and human participants’ rotate on fixed points and their circular movements captured with long exposures. Yashiro, resplendent in his clown-meets-superhero costumes, appears as the ring master of the KAITENKAI Live! performances. While the history of photography documenting artists’ performances is playfully being referenced in Yashiro’s work, I have literally never seen photographs quite like these. As with all the photographs selected for Photography Now 2009, they are resonant with photography’s past but make their own departure.

– Charlotte Cotton, 2009

 

Charlotte Cotton is Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Previously, she was Head of Programming at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1992 to 2004) and Head of Programming at the Photographers’ Gallery in London (2004-5). She has curated many exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography including, “Imperfect Beauty: The Making of Contemporary Fashion Photographs” (2000), “Out of Japan” (2002), “Stepping In and Out: Contemporary Documentary Photography” (2003) and “Guy Bourdin” (2003). Charlotte is the author and editor of publications such as Imperfect Beauty (2000), Then Things Went Quiet (2003), Guy Bourdin (2003) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2005). Currently she is preparing for two touring exhibitions for LACMA for 2009 – “Heavy Light: Recent Photography” and “Video from Japan and New Topographics”.

 

   Alex Aristei

Clint Baclawski

Shane Lavalette

Yijun Liao

Betsy Seder

Lacey Terrell

Stacy Tyrell

Toshihiro Yashiro