Jun 132024
 

For the exhibition  Ming Smith: On the Road at Nicola Vassell, a variety of work from the artist’s impressive career is on display throughout the space.

From the gallery-

Nicola Vassell is pleased to present Ming Smith: On the Road, a selection of photographs from the artist’s archive that encapsulates the arc of her exploratory impulses as she sought and probed new subject matter and formal innovation from 1970 through 1993. Encompassing never-before-seen vintage and contemporary prints of images captured during her travels around the world, On the Road embodies the spirit of adventure and curiosity that advanced Smith’s singular entry into, and scrutiny of, the provinces of urban existence, nature’s quietude, family intimacy, popular culture, military life, and jazz milieus.

In the 1970s in New York, Smith’s practice was propelled by inquiry—both through her immersion in the Kamoinge Workshop and her preoccupation with the ideas of prominent twentieth-century American and European photographers. Cultivating her own radical sensibility in early experiments, she alluded to the virtuosity of Brassaï, Roy DeCarava, Diane Arbus, and Robert Frank. These artists set a tempo upon which Smith developed her own dexterity in portraiture, landscape, and street photography—highly attuned to the textures, geometries, and thrums pulsing through every spectrum of life. She recognized the haunting allure of an oil-slicked roadside and the liquid lightning of brass instruments in musicians’ animated hands.

Smith listens through her camera, sensitive to the harmony and dissonance that enliven her subjects and surroundings. At times, it is easy to forget that she works in a static medium, since each photograph transports its viewer into the energetic nucleus of the moment she captures. Through paint application, double exposure, and low shutter speed, Smith pushes photography’s form to the point of its brim and break. Like harnessing a memory, Smith underlines the evanescent—at once vivid and obscure.

This exhibition closes 6/15/24.

Jun 072024
 

Shaun Pierson

William Eric Brown

Sophia Chai

Sheida Soleimani

Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez

Kevin Landers

Brittany Nelson

The seven artists on view at Luhring Augustine for the exhibition Tiptoeing Through the Kitchen, Recent Photography, each bring a unique vision to their practice. The artists included in this show are William Eric Brown, Sophia Chai, Kevin Landers, Brittany Nelson, Shaun Pierson, Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez, and Sheida Soleimani. Below is more detailed information on the work from the gallery.

From the press release-

“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”  – Diane Arbus

Materialized in varying ways, kinship and cultural inheritance are frequent touchstones for many of these artists. William Eric Brown’s works — the source images for which were taken in Antarctica in the 1950s by the artist’s father while serving in the US Navy and stationed on an icebreaker — are instilled with new significance through his manipulation and reconceptualization, which address the current reality of climate change and its effects on the arctic. Sophia Chai explores her memory of learning the Korean alphabet as a child through her work. By drawing and painting the shapes and lines of the characters on the walls and floor of her studio, Chai reimagines them in space, thereby abstracting written communication into an embodiment of the sensation of each word being formed inside the mouth.

Sheida Soleimani stages elaborately constructed tableaux to address interwoven narratives of family, politics, and caregiving that trace both personal and public histories. Her carefully fabricated scenes demonstrate her commitment to approaching her practice with measured sensitivity; rather than divorcing her subjects from their own realities, Soleimani creates a contemplative space in which each incorporated object or image conveys an intentional message. Similarly, Shaun Pierson’s work illuminates the complex dynamics in the relationship between photographer and subject. Entwining conflicting sensations of inhibition and desire, Pierson lays bare the often simultaneously transactional and vulnerable apparatus and process of making photographs. Kevin Landers’ photographs, taken on the streets of New York and across the country, are rooted firmly in the here and now. He documents a collection of seemingly unnoticed moments, paying careful attention to unexpected details that, more often than not, most people would simply walk past — ephemera such as an abandoned shopping cart or an intricately woven spider web, expanding our notion of landscape beyond simply the pastoral.

Queer desire and a longing for another space and time are explored through the re-authoring of found or archival images in the works of Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez and Brittany Nelson. Reyes Rodriguez pairs images from his own history with a series of photographs he purchased from a bookshop in Mexico City — dated between 1987 and 1993, the found snapshots evidence the personal experiences of a young, presumably queer, man known to us as “Technoir.” By combining the two archives, Reyes Rodriguez invites us to dwell in a space of merged memories, neither of which we can fully inhabit, and of the desire to know more. While at first glance Brittany Nelson’s use of archival materials is less overtly personal, her work considers themes of otherness, isolation, and the desire for connection. In one of the series on view, she perceived a sense of romantic devastation in the images taken by Opportunity, the Mars rover, which she amplifies by re-printing them using the 1920s analog bromoil photographic process, thereby infusing them with an added eerie, otherworldly quality.

Though varied in their approaches to photographic practice, what unifies these artists is their investigation of longing, care, and lineage — familial and otherwise — and the way in which they use the medium and the process of making the work as a means to engage with others, with themselves, and to challenge expectations. Generating a constellated conversation that draws upon photography’s history, yet turns toward something altogether new, the artists included in Tiptoeing Through the Kitchen, Recent Photography imbue the seemingly unknown with flashes of recognition.

This exhibition closes 6/8/24.

Apr 172024
 

Currently Tampa Museum of Art is showing work from Garry Winogrand’s book, Beautiful Women. The photographs are from the 1960s and 1970s and are a fascinating glimpse of this time period. His ability to find and capture these brief moments is impressive.  At the same time, some of the photos of these women feel invasive and, as said in the museum’s statement on the work below, voyeuristic.

From the museum-

Garry Winogrand was a master at photographing the unseen, extraordinary moments of everyday life. With his Leica camera, Winogrand photographed both up close and at a distance, but spontaneously as the image came together. He liked to break the rules of photography by ignoring traditional horizon lines and shooting at titled angles to create compositional allure.
Described as one of the 20th-century’s most influential street photographers, Winogrand often defied social decorum by getting into the space of his subjects – sometimes unknowingly to the person and at other times to their great annoyance. He captured life in the 1960s and 1970s in the blink of an eye, preferably with his 28mm lens which allowed more of what was in front of him to be featured in the frame. Winogrand once remarked, “I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”

Women are Beautiful represents of one Winogrand’s most celebrated yet controversial artworks. His magnum opus, Women are Beautiful was first published as a book in 1975 and later printed as a portfolio in 1981. Comprised of 85 photographs, the works were shot over a ten-year period between 1965 and 1975, notably at the height of second-wave feminism and the sexual revolution, the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement. As the title suggests, women served as the inspiration for the project. Winogrand culled images from his extensive archive that emphasized the confidence, vibrancy, and individuality of the American woman. While the photographs have been lauded as artifacts of their time, the works have also been criticized as voyeuristic and invasive to women’s privacy. Both observations deserve consideration in viewing this body of work.

The presentation of Women are Beautiful in this gallery follows the format of the book, which is now out of print. Winogrand selected the images and organized the photos without reference to subject, date, and place. Apart from the first photograph in the series, the images are presented as pairs to represent Winogrand’s book spreads. This arrangement aims to highlight how the photographer viewed and read his pictures. While women anchor the photographs, Winogrand looked at the total image-such as the other people in the photo or the quietness of solitude, the surrounding landscape, and the objects featured in the frame. At quick glance, the connections between images may not appear readily visible but it is in these photographs that Winogrand invites viewers to take a longer, closer look at the pictures. Subtle gestures such as the common angle of limbs and facial profiles, or shadows, corners, and lines – even the shared shading of a hat and tree-inspired Winogrand’s paired selections. Viewed together, the photographs reveal a deliberate sequencing and pacing, like a storyboard or film. Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful offers insight into the vantage point of one the 20th-century’s most accomplished photographers.

Below are some of the pairs from the show.

This exhibition closes 4/21/24.

Mar 072024
 

Francesca Woodman, “Untitled (Rome), 1977-8, Gelatin silver print (image via Columbus Museum of Art)

Two of Cindy Sherman’s “Film Stills”, Gelatin silver prints from the 1970s

Four Gelatin silver prints by Diane Arbus

Francesca Woodman’s “Italy”, 1977-1978 (printed later) Gelatin silver print

Currently on view at Columbus Museum of Art is Arbus • Sherman • Woodman: American Photography from the 1960s and 1970s. Although many of these photographs by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman are well known, it’s great to see the work of these three exceptional artists in person. The black and white images still captivate, even in our current image saturated world.

About the show from the museum-

This selection of monochromatic prints reflects a shared interest in capturing the world outside oneself as well as the world within. Perspective is an elemental link between each work: the images speak to how we see ourselves as individuals, how we are perceived, and how we observe others.

While Arbus was known for photographing families, children, pedestrians, performers, and celebrities, both Sherman and Woodman turned the camera on themselves. Dressing as anonymous female film characters from the 1950s and 1960s, Sherman poses in the series “Untitled Film Stills”. However, these works are not considered self-portraits, but rather carefully constructed performances of various female identities. Conversely, Woodman’s surrealist images might be called non-traditional self-portraits. By obscuring, blurring, or cropping parts of herself out of the final image, the photographs become intimate, personal snapshots that reflect a wider human fragility.

Arbus, Sherman, and Woodman are considered among the most prominent twentieth-century photographers and remain influential to contemporary artists today. By including aspects of feminism in their work and pushing the limits of the medium, these women challenged societal norms of their time while contributing to the elevation of photography as an art form.

It’s always interesting to hear artists discuss each other’s work. Included in the exhibition is this quote by Cindy Sherman about Francesca Woodman-

“She had few boundaries and made art out of nothing: empty rooms with peeling wallpaper and just her figure. No elaborate stage set-up or lights… Her process struck me more the way a painter works, making do with what’s right in front of her, rather than photographers like myself who need time to plan out what they’re going to do.”

For more on Francesca Woodman, her short life, and her artistic family, The Woodmans is an excellent documentary.

Jan 162024
 

(photograph by Richard Avedon from The New Yorker’s website)

Above is Richard Avedon’s portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. with his father, Martin Luther King, and his son, Martin Luther King III, 1963. The image is part of the 1964 book Nothing Personal, Avedon’s collaboration with writer James Baldwin.

Nov 292023
 

Kimowan Metchewais, “Cold Lake Fishing”, 2004/06

Koyoltzintli, “Gathering Roots” and “Spider Woman Embrace”, Abiquiú, New Mexico, 2019, from the series MEDA, 2018/19, Archival pigment print

Alan Michelson “Hanödagayas (Town Destroyer): Whirlwind Series”, 2022 Archival pigment prints and “Pehin Hanska ktepi (They Killed Long Hair)”, 2021 Single-channel video installation: wool blanket and video projection; 1:05 minutes (looped), no sound

Currently at the USF Contemporary Art Museum is Native America: In Translation curated by Wendy Red Star and organized by Aperture. The work included offers viewers a chance to discover new perspectives on the Native American experience.

From the museum-

“The ultimate form of decolonization is through how Native languages form a view of the world. These artists provide sharp perceptions, rooted in their cultures.” —Wendy Red Star

Native America: In Translation assembles the wide-ranging work of nine Indigenous artists who pose challenging questions about identity and heritage, land rights, and histories of colonialism. Probing the legacies of settler colonialism, and photography’s complex and often fraught role in constructing representation of Native cultures, the exhibition includes works by lens-based artists offering new perspectives on Indigenous identity, reimagining what it means to be a citizen in North America today.

Works included in the exhibition address cultural and visual sovereignty by reclaiming Native American identity and representation. Honoring ancestral traditions and stories tied to the land, Koyoltzintli (Ecuadorian-American, b. 1983) reflects on how the landscape embodies traditional knowledge, language, and memories. Nalikutaar Jacqueline Cleveland’s (Yup’ik, b. 1979) photographs of contemporary tribal communities in western Alaska document Native foraging and cultural traditions as a form of knowledge passed through generations. Revealing stories of trauma and healing, Guadalupe Maravilla (American, b. El Salvador, 1976) communicates autobiographical and fictional narratives informed by myth and his own migration story.

Expanding Indigenous archives and collective memory through photographic means, works by the late artist Kimowan Metchewais (Cree, Cold Lake First Nations, 1963–2011), drawn from his personal archive of Polaroid photographs, construct self-realized Native imagery challenging the authority of colonial representation. Excavating repressed colonial histories of invasion and eviction, Alan Michelson (Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River, b. 1953) reinterprets and repositions archival material to redress history from an Indigenous perspective. Marianne Nicolson’s (Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations, b. 1969) light-based installation projects Dzawada’enuxw tribal symbols of authority and power onto colonized spaces to contest treaties that imposed territorial boundaries on Indigenous lands. Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Ininiwak from Moose Cree First Nation, b. 1976) reconfigured the pages sourced from a 1995 issue of Aperture, featuring Indigenous artists, creating space for artistic improvisation and reinvention across generations.

Reflecting on performative aspects of Indigeneity and the colonial gaze, Martine Gutierrez’s (American, b. 1989) series of photographs reinterpret high-fashion magazine spreads with a revolving roster of identities and narratives to question Native gender and heritage. Working across performance and photography, Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe, Lac Seul First Nation, b. 1960) creates powerful reenactments of past performances incorporating organic materials that reference knowledge, labor, and care of the Earth in defiance of state violence of Indigenous people.

This exhibition closes 12/1/23.

Rebecca Belmore, “matriarch”, 2018, and “mother” from the series “nindinawemaganidog (all of my relations)”, 2018, Archival pigment prints

Photos by Rebecca Belmore and Installation by Marianne Nicolson

Marianne Nicolson’s installation detail

Marianne Nicolson’s installation detail

Nalikutaar Jacqueline Cleveland, “Molly Alexie and her children after a harvest of beach greens in Quinhagak, Alaska”, 2018 and “There are two main Yup’ ik names for crowberries or blackberries in Alaska, “paunrat” and “tangerpiit””, 2017, Archival pigment prints

Guadalupe Maravilla, “I Crossed the Border Retablo”, 2021, Oil on tin, cotton, glue mixture, wood

Guadalupe Maravilla, “I Crossed the Border Retablo”, 2021, detail

Duane Linklater, “ghost in the machine”, 2021, Archival pigment prints

Duane Linklater, “ghost in the machine”, 2021, Archival pigment prints

Martine Gutierrez, “Queer Rage, Dear Diary, No Signal During VH1’s Fiercest Divas”, and “Queer Rage, THat Girl Was Me, Now She’s A Somebody”, 2018. digital chromogenic print

One of Kimowan Metchewais’ polaroids from the slide show

 

 

Oct 282023
 

Photographs by Jerry Uelsmann (left) and Herb Snitzer (right)-“Bette II”, top and “Tennessee Williams”, bottom)

Photographs from the International Photography Competition

Continuing from the previous post about the Ybor Arts Tour, there are three venues that were part of the tour that are also worth highlighting.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is showing some impressive photography in their new Ybor City space. On one side of the museum is Icons of Black and White, a selection of over 60 fine art photographs, by some of the most famous photographers in history including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and more. This show will be on view until 12/3/23.

In the FMoPA Community Gallery are the winning photographs from the 2023 International Photography Competition, previously on view at The Tampa International Airport. This exhibition closes 10/28/23.

Kaitlin Crockett of Print St. Pete, “Why?” letterpress monoprint (left) and Chris Sellen/ Kaitlin Crockett, “It’s Only A Matter of Time”, risograph print

Mia Makes It, “[redacted]”, risograph print, and “Molecular Anxiety”, linocut on fabric

The Bricks is a restaurant in Ybor City that also has an event space. For the Arts Tour the space turned into a gallery for Print Mode (2) a selection of work by Tampa Bay printmakers. That show will be up for a few more weeks.

Marcolina’s (seen below) is a relatively new gallery currently showing the group exhibition EDEN: Beyond Paradise until 11/30/23. Check out their Instagram and Facebook to see upcoming events like Nude Model Life Drawing (every third Wednesday) and Deidre Kling’s “The Haunted Flesh” Photography Book Release on 10/28.