MOST RECENT PRESS RECEIVED
UNLESS YOU WILL , September 23, 2011
"We are intrigued by the details in her images, by the illusionary dialogue. We can easily relate to these images as we all have had moments where 'our other' had something to say. It is hard to tell if they are twin sisters, a display of different voices, alter ego exchanges, split personalities, parallel lives, multiple confrontations with ourselves. By the time we leve, we are inspired and our stories multiply. We found a little wine bar around the corner and amongst other things discuss the complex set, an imagined timeline, the attention to lighting and compare the small details we noticed".
FEATURE SHOOT, September 20, 2011
"I have a strong desire and need to create artwork, as most artists do. When I started the project, in 2004, I had no idea that it would end up in a gllery, I didn't produce it for a gallery setting, having the end result in mind. I created this body of work because I am fascinated with the sbuejct and I needed to go through the process of exploring it. Having said that, I am trained as an artist and eventually I do create work for the public to see".—Cornelia Hediger.
A SKY FILLED WITH SHOOTING STARS, September 9, 2011
It's a real pleasure to begin the new season with this conversation with Cornelia Hediger, who is responsible for some of the richest, most engaging photographs I have seen in a long, long time. In her two most recent series, Doppelgänger and the brand new Doppelgänger II, Ms Hediger has emerged as a visual storyteller of remarkable complexity, ambiguity, and depth. Single pieces have the character of brief, self-referential episodes; and the fact that she is always her own model, employs the same locations repeatedly, and often re-uses image fragments in more than one picture gives the series as a whole an almost novelistic air.
The doppelgänger is the usually malevolent personification of the dark side of the personality that has been widely explored in Germanic literature since the beginnings of romanticism. Ms Hediger's subject is thus psychological dilemma. Her settings evoke mid-twentieth century Europe, and she never shies away from the romantic - or even less often - the erotic. While her pieces maintain a near-narrative specificity, they are also available to each spectator's personal reading and in this she works at a level of sophistication that is only achieved by the very best contemporary art.
Given the degree to which Ms Hediger reveals herself in her art, it is not entirely surprising that she prefers to remain personally anonymous. That fact was where we began when we spoke earlier this week, but our conversation ranged over many aspects of her work's content and technique. Thanks to her candidness this interview makes a fascinating introduction to her Doppelgänger II show which opened at the excellent Klompching Gallery in DUMBO on Wednesday (September 7).
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 7, 2011
Photographer Cornelia Heidger left Switzerland for Harlem 10 years ago, and she feels more at home in New York. This is no surprise: As an artist, she is well acquainted with srong contrasts and dualities. In her composite photogrpahs, many of which play out a narrative between a main character and one or more doubles, Ms. Hediger plays all the parts, often confronting or consoling herself.
On Wednesday, a new exhibition of images, "Doppelgänger II," will open at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, showcasing work three years in the making. While some of the pieces focus on experiences to women, the show is universal in its central thems of lust, loss, fear, innocence, hope and madness.
"I do think that having grown up in Switzerland has shaped me," Ms Hediger said recently. "On one hand, Switzerland is this seemingly gorgeious country, with its perfectly groomed geraniums sitting on every windowsill. On the other hand, I always felt that there was this underlying darkness that was hushed away."
To create her multi-panel images, Ms. Hediger shoots each panel separately as a single photo, then digitally fits six o rmore togeher in a grid as one composition. An average of 120 images are shot for each six-panel image. The result is a fragmented figure in which objects grow and shrink from different angles and proportions in a single frame.
Ms. Hediger's tiny Harlem apartment, which she shares with her pet guinea pig, gets a fresh coat of paint for each new photograph, and it's stuffed with props. She said she finds inspiration in the postures of people on the subway, often sketching on the train and appropriating poses or movements for her photographs. She teaches photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but scrapes by with as little money as she can so as to devote more resources to her pieces.
Ms Hediger's work, said galleriest Debra Klomp Ching, "causes a physical response, excites your entire being and challenges your visual perception and intellectual enquiry. She is committed to the making of her artwork, to expressing herself visually and technically—allmost to the point of obsession. Her artowrk is her life and her life is her artwork. She lives and breathes it."
PDN PHOTO OF THE DAY, September 2, 2011
"With her newly released work of Doppelgänger II, Cornelia Hediger continues her exploration of the uncanny, constructing complex pictorial narratives into segmented tabelau vivants, consisting of up to eighteen individual photographs into a single composition. In each artwork the central characters—doppelgängers—are interwoven into a performative psychological struggle, displaying an undercurrent of the sinister, of angst and moral ambiguity. Hediger was selected as one of PDN's 30 in 2009. The artist reception for Doppelgänger II is Wednesday, September 7th, from 6-8pm, the exhibit will be on view through October 21st at Klompching Gallery in New York".
RE-ENACTORS — Jim Naughten
DAYLIGHT MAGAZINE ONLINE, November 24, 2010
Photography has long held an intrinsic relationship with war. As early as the 1860s, photographers such as Matthew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O'Sullivan, and George P. Barnard all directed their photographic efforts to memorializing — and often monumentalizing — the transitory scenes of the battlefield. So, shouldn't there be a natural, if not necessary, place for such a photographer at a modern-day war reenactment? London-based photographer Jim Naughten (b. 1969), whose exhibit "Re-Enactors" is currently on view at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, through December 18, 2010, proves that there is. For the past two years, he has followed some 20,000 re-enactors who gather annually in Southeast England. Using a small wedding tent as a portable studio, he took many of the attendee's portraits while also photographing the fantasized front-line mêlées.
Inspired by Richard Avedon's "In The American West," Naughten's portraits present isolated figures taken out of their environment. As a result, the subjects and their attire provide the viewer with the only available visual cues and context. Each portrait subject takes on the appearance of yesteryear as they role-play British infantrymen, US Medics, civilians, and Schustzstaffel (SS) Officers, among others. This 1940s mystique is only heightened by Naughten's use of a muted color palette, which recalls the limited color gamut of Autochrome Lumiére, an early color photography process. The titles of each subject, along with the details of his or her garb, become evidence to the scrupulous details that re-enactors go through to bring back the past. What serviceman, for example, would be without his spoon?
Naughten also documents the re-enactors' vehicular artillery in the field. Through post-processing, he is able to remove the external environments and enhance the shadows cast by each truck, tank, and automobile. Placed against a light white background, these objects once used for mass destruction are now shown for their aesthetic value—similar to the affect of Raphaël Dallaporta's “Antipersonnel” series.
Also included in the exhibition: one of Naughten's panoramic views of the battleground, full of glorified combatants, smoke, and pretend gunfire. This photograph and his other combat-zone panoramas can be seen as historical citations while also existing in the contemporary milieu. His subjects, in other words, are not actual militiamen but rather tableaux vivants. In another reference to the past, the print itself appears especially light, as if it were decades old and bleached by the sun.
During the past few years there has been an uptick in news media questioning the veracity of wartime images. (See: New Doubts Raised Over Capa’s ‘Falling Soldier’ and In an Iranian Image, a Missile Too Many). Given this, Naughten's intentionally staged photographs of re-imagined war become all the more timely. They may very well give new meaning to the term "theater of war.
FOTO8, November, 2010
If it is true that history repeats itself – first tragically, and then farcically – the implications are not good for the legions of civilian combatants whose weekends are devoted to the faithful re-enactment of battles and military manoeuvres. Judging by the work of photographer Jim Naughten, currently on show in New York’s Klompching gallery, tragicomedy stalks the latter-day gunners, Cossacks, Panzermen and Home Guard.
Naughten worked for two years in southeast England, picturing the role players as they posed for him in a small wedding tent that functioned as a mobile studio. They appear one by one – photographed square-on or oblique, three quarter length - against a neutral backdrop onto which they appear to cast the hint of an airbrushed shadow. They are, then, removed from the field. Incongruously deprived of incident and context, the pictures force attention onto the uniforms, faces, and demeanour of the participants, whose attention to period detail is made manifest. The tunics and webbing, boots and breeches, insignia and accessories all look, to the untrained eye at least, to be historically faithful.
By definition, of course, their battles and military operations are exercises in a specific form of anachronism - sanitised, secure, and ideologically somnolent. Put another way, not all that is historical qualifies for recreational re-creation. Sometimes history has not been well enough rehearsed. When the Bolsheviks re-staged a heroic ‘storming’ of the Winter Palace, a mere three years after the considerably less dramatic occupation of 1917, there were pressing contests still to be fought. And such were the enduring issues and stakes of the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike that Jeremy Deller’s 2001 re-enactment of the Battle of Orgreave reportedly threatened to result in real, unchoreographed violence.
So it is significant that Naughten’s ersatz troops are all too young to have witnessed the events they playfully fabricate; for despite their commitment to re-living the past, surely only a degree of wilful historical amnesia could legitimise the leisurely use of the badges, decorations and cap skulls of the SS. Naughten’s work raises but does not explore such issues. Indeed in an interview last year he made clear that, “We met plenty of characters, as you can imagine and it was particularly strange seeing people from all over the world dressing as Nazis. I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to get involved in the debate, at least not with this project. I love the fact that questions are raised but I do not attempt to answer them. The German uniforms still retain an extraordinary ‘power’.”
Naughten describes the project as ‘documentary portraiture,’ but that term perhaps belies the work's convincing and astute fusion of the 'straight' and the rehearsed. The strikingly frozen arrested poses, the evidently ‘unreal’ backdrops, the studio lighting and controlled drained palette all position the images in the terrain that lies between the mediated and the direct. The notion of documentary is pushed even further in the elaborate, grand scale, choreographed pictures of war games in progress. Here, Naughten’s post-production work enables him to place carefully posed studio shots of individuals into previously photographed landscapes. The resulting staged vistas are compellingly detailed, assiduous and mannered fictions. Fraudulent even - but what better way to picture the might of the Red Army, dressed for a Russian winter, as it advances on a hazy summer afternoon across a field in the Garden of England.
A NEW KIND OF BEAUTY — Phillip Toledano
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, September 13, 2010
Toledano's series "A New Kind Of Beauty" offers us portraits of people who've undergone extensive plastic surgery, eschewing scorn in favor of a respect for the subjects' humanity; 09/09-10/29.
LESS IS MORE, September 3, 2010
It seems like only yesterday when someone forwarded me a link to Phillip Tolendano's Days With My Father, a very moving site and critically acclaimed book. Mr Toledano, as his site proclaims, is at it again with a beautifully disturbing body of work called A New Kind Of Beauty. A show of the work opens in New York (DUMBO) on Wednesday, September 8 from 6-8pm @ KLOMPCHING. And as I have pointed out before, KlompChing is a gallery worth visiting.
"Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?"—Phillip Toledano.
DAN SAELINGER ON PHOTOGRAPHY, September 2, 2010
Phillip Toledano has been on the top my list of hero photographers since my days in college. While I’m often not so overwhelmed with a lot of commercial shooters’ personal work Toledano’s newest project "A New Kind Of Beauty" is just plain stellar. Photographed in the style of a classical painter the images truly draw you in. A study of what is personally beautiful, Toledano photographs subjects that have enhanced their looks and created their own beauty through plastic surgery and modern technology. If your in New York you can see the project when it opens next week at the Klompching Gallery in Dumbo Brooklyn. The show is running from September 9th through October 29th with an opening reception 6-8 Wednesday September 8th.
BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, September, 2010
Phillip Toledano's latest project, A New Kind of Beauty, looks at the new physiognomies created through extreme plastic surgery. His first subject, Allanah, came to hm via a friend, and over the next two years found another 14 subjects, one person leading to another. He hopes to photograph four or five more and turn the project into a book, but what he's shot already is going on show at the Klompching Gallery in New York this month (09 September to 29 October), printed at 5ft high. The images are unsparing, especially at this larger-than-life size, but they're not critical, dispassionately presenting people who could all too easily be mocked as freaks. As in another earlier project, Phonesex, portraits of the operators who worked XXX chat lines, Toledano has taken a commedably non-judgmental tack.
"I think they're really fascinating — we're looking at a new stage of human evolution," he says. "Twenty years ago, getting your tongue pierced or having a full arm tattoo was considered outrageous, but now they're commonplace, and perhaps the same thing will happen with plastic surgery. Tom Ford [the fashion designer and film director] has made some extremely interesting comments on plastic surgery and the post-human, which is exactly what I've been thinking about. Perhaps we could even say a new species of human is evolving, the Homo Plasticus."
Some of his subjects weren't interested in looking natural, others merely embodying an extreme form of contemporary conventions of beauty — large breasts, big cheekbones, plump lips and wrinkle-free skin. But all are more than happy with how they look, and for Toledano, one of the biggest challenges was persuading them not to strike a pose. He was aiming for dignified, honest portraits instead. using a black background to emphasise his subjects alone, and taking three or four hours to shoot them with three lighrs and a Contax 645. Used to seeing themselves in more glamorous guises, some of his subjects didn't like what they saw, and even turned him down when he offered them a print.
"They were disappointed that they didn't look sexier," he says. "That made me very sad. I guess people have a specific way of looking at themselves. When I photographed my father [for his last project, Days With My Father, capturing his dad towards the end of his life] it was the same thing — he didn't like his pictures because he was used to seeing photographs from the 1950's when he was a Hollywood actor. But they all said they understood why I was doing it."
MICRO MUNDI — Elaine Duigenan & AS ABOVE SO BELOW — Odette England
THE NEW YORK PHOTO REVIEW, July, 2010
"At the Klompching Gallery in Dumbo two photographers, both oriented strongly to the natural world, are currently showing their work. Elaine Duigenan's black and white studies of algae are the more interesting of the two. String-like forms resembling chromosomes inhabit a secret world revealed by the lens with satisfying exactitude. Done traditionally with a 4 by 5 view camera, her round compositiions mimicking the form of the microscope, offer the kind of detail rarely seen in this digital age. Odette England, whose work shares the gallery space, in a show entitled "As Above So Below", looks skyward in double exposures of land and cloud. Though less striking than Ms. Duigenan's imagery, the two styles work well together and form a complimentary pair. the show is certainly worth a look and Ms. Duigenan's perhaps yet another.".
BLANKET MAGAZINE, June 22, 2010
"If you are lucky enought to live in New York you must make time to check out the artwork from our featured artist from the Cosmos Issue, Elaine Duigenan, in person! Her Micro Mundi series is now showing at the Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn until August 6th.
Elaine's work was actually the inspiration for me to create a whole issue on the theme of 'cosmos'. I had first come across her work when she sent in some of the work from her Micro Mundi series for the 'Here's My Work' section for Blanket. I featured some images in the Black & White issue but I was just so touched and inspired by her work that I was still thinking about it months later. It seemed almost fateful that after a re-visit to her website I was to then discover that her work had recently been taken into space in the notebook of Astronaut Leland Melvin! I couldn't have dreamed for a more positive and inspiring story to be featured in the Cosmos Issue".
BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, May 27, 2010
"When Odette England went to photograph the Australian Outback she took a novel approach; she would shoot the ground beneath her feet and then the sky direcly above that spot. "These are double exposures created in Photoshop, made with a Hasselblad HD3" she explains. "The technique here was very fixed, very rigid as to how the images were taken. I don't mind changing what the camera finds but this work was very disciplined. It's not typical of my work as I like to be more explorative. It was a new experience for me and quite refreshing". England found that her work was at the whim of the winds: "I didn't go out seeking a specific weather pattern, I just took what I got. I was more interested in the place, wherever that place might be. So in that sense the final image is always unplanned".
While the project (As Above So Below) itself might seem random it is the result of serious contemplation. "I like to spend a lot of time on research before I take on a project. I came across a book by James Cowan (whence the phrase 'as above, so below' comes) about the attachment indigenous people have for their landscape and environment. I want to give a visual, photographic representation to this feeling, which is alien to wite Australians and Europeans in general. The Aborigines consider themselves one with the landscape — the sky above, the earth below and they themselves acting as a middle layer. I was trying to portray the landscape as indigenous people might see it; my work was more tempered by my personal understanding of the environment".
The series was made during an artist research residency, and England was appointed as a visiting fellow by the University of New South Wales, to live and work at the Arid Zone Research Station of the Imaging the Land Research Institute (ILIRI) from May-June 2009. ILIRI is Australia's only research institute concerned with the artistic interpretation of the science of land.
Apart from intellectual considerations, England found that the alien environment threw up challenges of its own: "Working in the desert totally forces you to adopt a new methodology. You have to rethink how you work and what you want from the shoot when you're 120km from the nearest source of help".
As Above So Below is on show at Klompching Gallery in New York from 17 June until 6 August."
BEYOND THE VIEW — Helen Sear, April 28 - June 11, 2010
THE NEW YORKER, May 24, 2010
"You may never figure out exactly how Sear made these digitally layered photographs, but, before you get too caught up in her process, stand back and just enjoy the work. At the center of each big color image is the head of a young woman who has turned away from the camera; her identity is further hidden by a shower of flowers, grasses, and other foliage strewn across intricately patterned backgrounds that look like lacy curtains or screen doors. Whether the women are workers or watchers remains a mystery, but Sear turns these anonymous figures into lush earth goddesses, the unwitting cause for a celebration that spills out of the picture frame.
DESIGN ARTS DAILY, May 12, 2010
"Helen Sear, A British artist with strong connections to the landscape and the sublime, is a romantic with an intellectual bent. With Inside The View, her first show at Klompching Gallery two years ago, her images combining landscape with portraiture were constructed by digitally layering in evocations of the traditional needlework of Finland to define a new landscape of the feminine.
In a new group of photographs now at Klompching, Beyond The View, Helen Sear continues her investigation into the sbulime through her innovative use of image superimposition and erasure. Beyond The View was photographed in and around the agricultural lands south of Milan in response to the 'hidden' presence of women in this rural environment on the edge of the city, and with reference to the Northern Romantic tradition of landscape and portrait painting.
The title she has given this ongoing project is something of a play on words. Taking a cue from a series by Max Ernst (1891-1976) called Inside The Sight, which implies that art is integral with vision, Sear instead places the view inside the mind's eye of the viewer, implying that vision is an equivalent for the sublime in nature.
The eight prints currently installed at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York offer viewers an alternative reality in which the immersion of body, mind and spirit into nature is the game. The portraits are mostly head-and-shoulder shots of young women, which she has combined with landscape photographs to create transparent blends that suggest both the irreality of the spirit transported and the physicality of the experience.
Not one to avoid risk, Sear has photographed her female subjects from the back. On entering the gallery, in fact, one immediately wonders why. But the incredible detail in the large-scale prints invites close scrutiny, which soon pays off with engaging combinations that support her stated mission.
Using Photoshop, and actions that are the stock in trade of graphic artists, Sear treads the ground of her predecessor, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), who hand-collaged found embellishments, such as lace, delicate net-like tracery of leaves and stems that erase through her landscape images. The transparency she achieves in these erasures subliminally unifies the component parts of each image, suggesting the beauty and delicacy of women's work and its importance to a society's culture."
1000 WORDS PHOTOGRAPHY (Blog), May 10, 2010
"To those of you who are heading to New York for the festival why not drop by Klompching Gallery and check out the exhibition of work by Helen Sear ... Highly recommended."
PDN PHOTO OF THE DAY, May 7, 2010
"In Beyond the View,Helen Sear continues her photographic investigationinto the sublime—and an engagement with the retinal and digital—through her innovative use of image superimposition and erasure. The dialogue between the artwork and viewer, as well as the labor of the artist's hand, is enhanced by a shift in scale that emphasizes the artist's concern with the viewer's habits of looking."
LENSCRATCH (Blog), May 5, 2010
"British photographer, Helen Sear, just opened a new exhibition, Beyond The View, at the Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn. the opening reception is on May 13th, and the show will run through June 11th.
Sears is an accomplished and varied photographer, using interesting techniques to create layered images: from a series oflandscapes and figures, two separate phoographs are superimposed, the image behind appearing to float as a net or veil on the surface by a process of hand drawing/erasing in the computer. One photograph depicts the back of a head, the other a landscape both taken in different locations and reconstructed within a single image.
"I have developed this apporach of a double time of image making, one being the instant of the taking of the photograhs, and the other their subsequent recnstruction through touch and the labour of the hand, signalling a return to a ore primitive and bodily experience. Neither able to be fixed as a complte picture, the partial erasure of one reveals an incomplete picture of the other. the figures and landscapes are taken in different geographic locations and the enmeshing of the two explores the possibility of being simultaneously in more than one place at any one time."—Helen Sear."
BIRD WATCHING — Paula McCartney, March 3 - April 23, 2010
THE NEW YORKER (Photo Booth Blog), April 16, 2010
"A few weeks ago, on one of those dark winter days when I was longing for spring to finally arrive, a most beautiful book arrived on my desk: "Bird Watching," by Paula McCartney, published by Princeton Architectural Press. It looked like a bird watcher's diary—tiny birds photographed in their habitats. Each lovely bird picture was identified and hand-labelled, complete with details of origin and date. There were samples of leaves and moss, and a sprinkling of drawings, all collected in a handsome, linen-bound book. It was a nature-lover's delight. Spring suddenly seemed around the corner.
But perhaps each picture was a little too perfect to be real. What bird sits still for the photographer to take such pristine images? It therefore should have come as no surprise to find out that the crisply sharp bird pictures in their dreamy environmnets were actually photographs of fake birds found in an ordinary craft store. McCartney, like an proper ornithologist, had studied each bird's environment, hiking throughout the U.S. to find the scientifically correct locations for photographing her aviary of fakes. The pictures looked so convincing that even bird watchers were fooled.
Far from being upset about McCartney's "real fakes" (as she calls them), I loved the play between the authentic habitats and the counterfeit birds. Her pictures can be seen at the Klompching Gallery, March 4th-April 23rd."—Elisabeth Biondi.
THE NEW YORK PHOTO REVIEW, April 14, 2010
"John Jame Audubon would be amused by 'Bird Watching' or maybe just appalled. After all, in this exhibition, photographer Paula McCartney has managed to capture a variety of colorful birds across the United States; Winter Bluebirds in Interlochen, Michigan, a Summer Tanager in Florida, two Baltimore Orioles perched on a tree branch in Minnesota and at just the right angle for the camera, 19 images in all. At first glance, you may ask, 'What lens did it take to get that close?' 'How did she get them so perectly positioned?' But look closely and it becomes apparent that things aren't always what they seem to be. In this case, these songbirds are store-bought fakes, wire constructions with painted beaks and eyes, stuck into native habitats by McCartney who aims to show there is a fine line between fact and fiction. McCartney explains that her long walks in the woods were frustrating since the birds she admired were too far away or not posed right for her amera, so she simply created pictures every bird watcher longs for but rarely sees. The pictures and birds are so perfect, the viewer may wonder if fake trumps reality. And in this case, the answer is self-evident. McCartney says '...This work explores how nature and fabricatred elements can combine to create a scene that questions what is natural, and whether being so holds any intrinsic importance.' What adds to the conceit are the remarks under each photograph: name, size, coloring and location. The result is an exhibition that leaves the viewer with a heightened sense of appreciation for walks on the wild side. For the nature lovers and all others, this exhibition is a breath of fresh air."
WFMU RADIO, March 15, 2010
The interview is available online at this address: www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/35063.
FOAM MAGAZINE, No. 22, 2010
"This book contains photographs of small birds perched on brances, multicoloured specks observed in their natural surroundings. The images are supplemented by handwritten notes the author made on journeys through the forests of California, Michigan and Oregon as well as small sketches and photographs of leaves against a white background. The appearance of this book will enrapture readers, but we cannot for long ignore the fact that the birds are not real. They are models made to fool your eyes. McCartney operates at the edge of deceivability, mounting her models into our ideal landscapes and captivating us with her rich presentations of actual landscapes. With the help of Darius Himes as editor, Princeton Architectural Press has produed a satisfying and beautiful photobook. It has the look and feel of a private album, bound in linen, with the title tipped in, and design details that lovingly serve the enjoyment of this work.
PHOTO-EYE MAGAZINE, March 6, 2010
"Paula McCartney has been making unique and limited edition artist books for many years. She sees the book as a medium and visualizes much of her photographic work in book form, many of her photographs exist only in the artist book. McCartney's first trade edition, published by Princeton Architectural Press, will be welcomed by individual collectors interested in McCartney's work, as it is both affordable in comparison to her artist books and beautiful. The monograph is an expanded version of her artist book Bird Watching and includes every image from the series. Mimicking a private field guide journal, McCartney takes the reader on the most successful bird watching quest, or so it seems at first glance."—Larissa Leclair (excerpt).
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, March 8, 2010
"A closer look at these deceptively dreamy bird-watching photographs of winged creatures perched in their native habitats—including the beautifully composed Bird Watching (Aqua Tanager)—reveals chintzy avian forms composed of craft-store materials, like faux feathers andpainted beaks.
PDN PHOTO OF THE DAY, March 2, 2010
"A bird-watcher's dream comes to life via Paula McCartney's Bird Watching series in her first solo show in New York."
DOUG KEYES — January 7 - February 26, 2010
FEATURING WORK FROM
THE NEW YORKER, February 23, 2010
"Keyes, a Seattle-based photographer who works with multiple, overlapping imagery, shows pictures from two related series, both so ephemeral they seem to be coalescing and disintegrating before your eyes. One series layers views of famous architecture and urban landscapes from Barcelona to San Francisco into fizzy, kaleidoscopic visions. The other lays open books, including the Bible, "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back", and monographs by Marcel Broodthaers and Chuck Close, on black backdrops and flips through their pages until they become as transparent as film. Like Idris Khan's contemporaneous photographs of multiply exposed books, these images are about the slippage between permanence and transience."
THE NEW YORK PHOTO REVIEW, Vol. 1 No. 4, February 2010
"Doug Keyes, a Seattle-based photographer, specializes in multiple exposures. His current show at Klompching includes selections from two bodies of work, one of urban landscapes and buildings and the other of books ... The book series is the standout in this exhibition ... A wide varity of books are included, including the Bible, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. Results are magical. The photographs, presented in the same size as the book itself, acquire an ethereal, insubstantial quality ..." (excerpt)
FOREIGN BODY — Antony Crossfield, October 29 - December 19, 2009
HOTSHOE, December 2009/January 2010
"With Foreign Body, Antony Crossfield presents a powerful and unsettling series of images that work simultaneously on a number of levels. While they remain photographically based, they incorporate concerns and techniques more normally associated with painting. Crossfield pulls out all of the tools in the modern photographer's bag of digital and analogue tricks to great effect in these intelligent, beautifully executed, and provocative images that question the concepts of identity and the body in the construction of masculinity." (Extract)
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, Oct 26—Dec 14, 2009
“Warped and oily and way-too-appealing photographs, considering the sadistic things that appear to be happening to this British artist's models. Most are playing naked Twister—not the fun version. Guillermo del Toro should visit this show."
THE L MAGAZINE, October 30, 2009
“The fused, melted and hybrid bodies in Crossfield's uneasy photo-manipulations are very literally joined at the hips (or elsewhere), yet appear eerily isolated and lonely in their dilapidated and tragic surroundings."
WE ENGLISH — Simon Roberts, September 10 - October 24, 2009
THE NEW YORKER, October 19, 2009
“We English, the title of Roberts’s engrossing exhibition of large-scale color photographs (and the related book) might lead you to expect gently satiric social studies in the style of Martin Parr. But the focus of the work is primarily landscape, and several of the images are broad, handsome vistas with only a few people scattered about the terrain. Even the photographs that include larger groups were taken from a distance—a perspective that echoes classical painting, although the subjects (golfers before a line of cooling towers, race contestants sloughing through the mud of a river at low tide) are decidedly contemporary. Through Oct. 24. (Klompching, 111 Front St. 212-796-2070.)
HOTSHOE, October/November 2009
"In We English, Simon Roberts presents his portfolio of large-format photographs of the English at leisure. Capturing everyday English residents occupied in an assortment of activities, the artist uncovers the aesthetic of ordinary life. The majority of Roberts’ images depict the exquisiteness of the English landscape and reveal those who are attracted to its landmarks. For example, in one image an older couple sits alongside the road, enjoying a picnic and gazing at the rolling fields before them. Considering the affiliation between people and place, Roberts portrays the landscape with active inhabitants, touching on the concept of “Englishness” and his own sense of “belonging, of memory, identity and place”."
CREATIVE REVIEW, October 2009
"In his book, We English, photographer Simon Roberts looks at contemporary English leisure in all its collective glory.
Like a well-planned domestic family holiday, photographer Simon Roebrts' journey around England for his latest book was a mission in itself. He took his Talbot Express Swift Capri motorhome (plus family) and a hefty 5 x 4 large-format camera on a quest to capture the English at leisure. We English, the result of his year spent on the road, is far from being a nostalgia trip; it is a document of free time - be it spent at the races or at the beach - as english people experience it today.
Roberts approached his project with the view that one's experience of landscape is vital to the national make-up. In his previous book, Motherland, he looked in from an outsider's point of view, recording Russians' attachment to their native country. Returning to England, and through the 56 colour images taken between the summers of 2007/8, he charts how the landscape influences and shapes the English.
While many of Roberts' images adhere to our traditional notions of beauty spots, others are of noisy, packed events like Derby Day. In each, however, the framing is such that the subjects are fixed firmly within their environment. Individuals are rendered small but, significantly, we can still read them by their expressions, their clothes and what they're doing. It's a technique that links back to landscape painting and the layered canvases of the 16th century. As a contemporary record, however, Roberts has captured a nation beautifully and brilliantly."
AG MAGAZINE, Issue 57, Autumn 2009
"Simon Roberts’ first book Motherland, published in 2007, also by Chris Boot, won great critical acclaim and the work was widely exhibited. The book represented the fruits of a year spent traveling through Russia with his large format camera recording the varied peoples of this vast country and identifying the thing that consistently bound them: a strong sense of homeland and quiet national pride. This experience was to set him thinking about Englishness and his own attachment to England, and so began his latest project. This excellent book deserves to be even more successful than his first.”
ART MOST FIERCE, October 7, 2009
"If you haven't seen this show yet, I suggest you do and trust me, it is selling pretty well."
1000 WORDS PHOTOGRAPHY, Issue 06, Fall 2009
"...You can see in his work, thematic similarities to Tony Ray-Jones, John Davies and Martin Parr, although it is not, of course, ironic or cynical. Still, it isn’t social critique he is after. His work is unashamedly beautiful, more subtle in its discovery and representation of forms of cultural character and identity which actually, upon closer inspection, reveals a much great richness of detail and meaning. With a Simon Roberts it is a case of the more you look, the more you see. We English has tremendous historical and anthropological interest; it takes us on an amazing journey through ideas of belonging and memory, identity and place. It is one of those rare books than you can and will come back to time and time again.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, October 5, 2009
"A gorgeous series of lyrical, light-strewn photographs that the artist took of the English at play—bathers in a chilly-looking Gloucestershire, a couple miniaturized amid misty hills in East Sussex—on a tour of his homeland; through 10/24".
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY REVIEW, October 4, 2009
“Combining a Martin Parr-esque British wit with wide, open skies and an almost visible damp chill that are reminiscent of Mike McCartney’s Liverpool photographs, ‘We English’ is the result of a year-long odyssey through England in, fittingly, a motor home. Picturing ordinary people doing curious things, Roberts looks for ‘beauty in the mundane’.”
THE INDEPENDENT , October 1, 2009
"...I am part of a lineage of other photographers, such as Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones and Bill Brandt, who have captured the social, political and cultural landscape of Britain and England. But there has been very little done in the past decade. My gist is quite optimistic. I am not being critical."—Simon Roberts
BBC NEWS, October 1, 2009
"...I think Simon has achieved all he set out to, and much more. The pictures are in themselves undeniably beautiful, but their real power comes from the collection as a whole.
To remove from the stream of time a series of moments that are instantly recognisable as being part of life in England is a real achievement, and one that will ensure this collection will become the defining study of life in England at the end of this decade."—Phil Coomes
PHOTO DISTRICT NEWS, September 25, 2009
"In 2005, I spent a year traveling across Russia to produce Motherland, a book exploring the Russians’ attachment to their homeland. This attachment to place was somewhat mysterious–simultaneously profound and banal–and it led me to think about my own sense of belonging and memory, identity and place. We English became another journey, not quite as epic as that across Russia, but involving a 1993 Talbot Express Swift Capri motorhome, my pregnant wife, our two-year-old daughter and a 5×4 large-format camera.”—Simon Roberts
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, September 28, 2009
"A gorgeous series of lyrical, light-strewn photographs that the artist took of the English at play—bathers in a chilly-looking Gloucestershire, a couple miniaturized amid misty hills in East Sussex—on a tour of his homeland; through 10/24".
DESIGN WEEK, 17 September, 2009
“We English looks at the country with a lyrical pastoral gaze rather than irony or sarcasm ... Roberts shows people engaged in group leisure activities presented small in the frame and with light that is unfashionably undramatic. It’s a body of work that is unfashionable not only stylistically and in subject matter too. To take the photographs, Roberts covered his head with a dark cloth to peer through the concertina of a large-format view camera, essentially unchanged since the 19th century, and shot on film.”
GO SEE , Issue 38, September, 2009
“Several of Simon Roberts’ shots of his country and her inhabitants, call to mind Massimo Vitali’s swarming beach images, yet Simon’s gatherings of people are different – somehow more English. The spaces come across as less tidy. Other motifs reminds us of Martin Parr’s soft touch, just more sublime and somehow more honest.”
WHAT'S THE JACKANORY, September 10, 2009
FOTO8, September 8, 2009
THE GUARDIAN, August 22, 2009
SPLASH! — April 30 - August 8, 2009
RENATE ALLER, TESSA BUNNEY, ELAINE DUIGENAN, CORNELIA HEDIGER,
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, May 4 to June 29, 2009
"A show of the gallery's lineup of artists, including Cornelia Hediger's ambrosial and melodramatic photographs and Renate Aller's progression of moody seascapes ".
VISUAL MORPHOLOGY — March 5 - April 24, 2009
MARC BARUTH, MATTHEW BAUM, ANTONY CROSSFIELD, ODETTE ENGLAND,
THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER (Diary) , March 5, 2009
"Moving beyond the lush yet clinical style of photography stars like Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky, Visual Morphology, on exhibit at Brooklyn’s Klompching Gallery, presents contemporary work from Australia, Canada, Germany, England, and the U.S. that expands the field through unconventional means.
In his digitally-constructed landscapes based upon the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens, Marc Baruth offers almost haunting scenes that explore the human place within nature. Matthew Baum extends the tradition of street photography, presenting tableaux of figures in public spaces, as in Fountain (2007, above), where everyday scenes take on strangely monumental effect. The human presence disappears in Steve Hanson’s long exposures of rush-hour traffic, in which the absence of cars gives the city’s infrastructure a poetic presence.
Most adventurously, Odette England manipulates family photographs so that the viewer must fill in negative spaces in the pictures, elegantly showing that the world around us is truly a state of mind."
NEW YORK TIMES, March 4, 2009
"David Trautrimas, a 30-year-old Canadian artist, takes apart old kitchen mixers, hole punchers, waffle irons, staplers, vacuum cleaners, coffee machines and other household objects; photographs the pieces; and then “reassembles” them digitally, into what he calls “Habitat Machines.” With their industrial steampunk aesthetic and looming, animated postures, his machines would fit nicely into the sets of Terry Gilliam’s clanking dystopia “Brazil.” Or perhaps post-crash Dubai.
Mr. Trautrimas became interested in the idea of creating fanciful dwellings unfettered by zoning ordinances or the laws of physics, he said, after noting the blandness of most residential development. “What Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid are doing on a commercial scale would be so cool if it was happening residentially,” he said.
He also enjoys spoofing the marketing come-ons of new condo developments, which typically — or “at least here in Canada,” he said — depict an idealized version of the new building set in a rolling meadow. “You know it’s in downtown Toronto,” he said, “and not in any wilderness.”
Two of Mr. Trautrimas’s digital “Habitat Machines” are included in “Visual Morphology,” a show opening Thursday at the Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn. (“Sprinkler House,” above, is 15 by 16 1/2 inches and sells for $450 unframed and $700 framed.) ... "
INSIDE THE VIEW — Helen Sear, January 8 - February 27, 2009
ART REVIEW, April, 2009
“Superimposing two photographs - one a landscape and the other a portrait of a woman facing away from the lens - Helen Sear then partially erases both layers, creating intricate patterns of negative space on crochet lace, or sewing-work. Initially you notice the portraits, but then upon closer inspection trees, streams and lawns etched onto or behind the figure. Inside The View shares a ponderous psychological aesthetic with Andrew Wyeth - yet Sear’s montages are more internalised, more suggestive; both utilise realist yet symbolic landscapes, but Sear’s domesticity is stylistic, not direct. Differences notwithstanding, both artists’ work is inoffensively troubled: overly pretty, elegant and stylish.”
HOTSHOE, February/ March 2009
Helen Sear, a British artist with strong connections to the landscape and the sublime, is a romantic with an intellectual bent. In her recent series, Inside the View, she combines portraiture with landscape, digitally layering in evocations of traditional needlework to define a new landscape of the feminine.
The fifteen prints currently installed at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York offer viewers an alternative reality in which the immersion of body, mind and spirit into nature is the game. The portraits are head-and-shoulder shots of young women Sear made on a recent visit to Finland. On her return to the UK, she began combining these images with landscapes from various locales, creating transparent blends that suggest both the irreality of the spirit transported and the physicality of the experience.
Using Photoshop, and actions that are the stock in trade of commercial artists and designers, Sear treads the ground of her predecessor, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), who hand-collaged found ornamentations with photography to extol feminine beauty. Sear, however, draws by hand in the computer to create delicate net-like veils that erase through her landscape images, evoking a style of lace-making she observed during her stay in Finland. The transparency she achieves in these erasures subliminally unifies the component parts of each image, suggesting the beauty and delicacy of women's work and its importance to a society's culture.
The title she has given the series, Inside the View, is something of a play on words. Taking a cue from a series by Max Ernst (1891-1976) called Inside the Sight, which implies that art is integral with vision, Sear instead places the view inside the mind's eye of the viewer, implying that vision is an equivalent for the sublime in nature
Not one to avoid risk, Sear photographed her female subjects from the back. On entering the gallery, in fact, one immediately wonders why. But the intimate scale of the prints invites close scrutiny, which soon pays off with engaging images that support her stated mission. Each figure is framed at the same scale to the landscape backgrounds, a strategy that supports Sear's statements about the work and comes dangerously close to, but happily avoids being, a bit too academic.
One of the pleasures to be had looking at this series is the myriad associations that spring to mind The figure in Inside the View No. 1 (2005), wearing a scarlet coat, observes a forest on the edge of a field, its leafless trees leaning gracefully toward the centere to form an inviting alley into the winter woods. But the darkness of the transparent woodland superimposed on the subject's hair creates an ominous mood. Negative spaces in the net-like drawing suggest forms that could be read as a flock of sheep; tiny dots in the webbing can be read as handmade knots in a veil or as the floaters swimming on the viewer's retina after squinting in bright sunlight. Is this figure a contemporary person or a literary figure roaming the heath? Is it male or female? The questions go on and in the process, the viewer gains insight into his or her place in nature as well as his or her appreciation of history.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, 2, 9, 16 & 23 February, 2009
Two separate imges—a portrait of a woman and a landscape—are layered, then erased through a complex and painstaking process of digital drawing, with effective results.
GALLERY HOPPER , 16 January, 2009
The transition from film to digital photography has brought with it a range of types of manipulation. Some merely mimic traditional darkroom techniques like burning and dodging or are intended to improve the image in someway after it is captured, such as changing saturation, exposure or contrast. Other applications such as CameraBag or Poladroid aim to replicate various types of film-based photography. Beyond these analog-influenced manipulations, many photographers, particularly in the online crowd, are using software to enhance and change the digital image in ways a darkroom and chemicals cannot. High dynamic range (HDR) is a stunt that’s popular on Flickr and may one day advance far enough to be more than a gimmick mostly producing spectacularly garish photographs.
In the fine arts world, digital alteration seems to be mostly seen in collage work or more quickly and easily accomplishing what used to be done in the darkroom. Gursky’s relies on digital alteration, most of it undetectable. Loretta Lux’s work is manipulated in more obvious ways. The seams in Beate Gütschow’s photographs (photo-collages?) call attention to the artifice in her landscapes.
Helen Sear’s latest efforts, currently on display at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, likewise adopts analog technique to digital prints, but focuses on approaches that even in the film era were marginalized and rarely seen. Multiple exposures were a staple of early 20th Century avant garde photography (Sommer’s portrait of Max Ernst leaps most immediately to mind) but are rarely seen today. Sear combines landscapes and portraits in images created digitally, duplicating multiple exposure effects. Layered on top of this is manipulation of the photographic surface, a destruction of the image in a pattern mimicking lacework. Scratching directly into the photographic print is almost disrespectful to the object as we typically handle photographic prints, even vacation snapshots, gingerly. Sear’s manipulation takes place in the computer prior to printing, so this doesn’t necessarily carry those same connotations, and the lace-making reference is more constructive than destructive.
GOTHAMIST, 16 January, 2009
"You want a montage!" British artist Helen Sear is getting her first exhibition in the U.S. at DUMBO'S Klompching Gallery, and seeing double never felt so good. Called Inside The View, the exhibit emphasizes work with two superimposed images—one a portrait of a woman and the other a landscape. Each image is then erased through a painstaking process of digital drawing, with a lace-like network of lines based upon the patterns of sewing or hand woven lace making.
ARTINFO, January Editor's Pick, 2009
Another artist employing technical ingenuity in her photography is Wales’s Helen Sear. Her pictures, on view at DUMBO’s Klompching Gallery, are as romantic as they are complex: Wistful, anonymous portraits of women are superimposed on landscape shots, and the resulting amalgam is then made the ground for the most intricately drawn (or rather, digitally erased) patterns, a sort of lace-making or embroidery in reverse. The whole is an utterly fascinating study in how images are made and perceived.
PHOTOGRAPHY SNOB, January 2009
January 8 the Helen Sear show is opening at Klompching in Brooklyn. Sometimes I'm a little baffled by the work they select, but Helen Sear's work is dreamy, visually relaxing and truly original. Especially because she's from across the pond I'm excited for her work to be shown in DUMBO.
SEASCAPES: ONE LOCATION — Renate Aller, November 6 - December 20, 2008
THE NEW YORKER, December 15, 2008
This German photographer’s large-scale seascapes are all taken from the same location on Westhampton Beach, but they range from minimalist studies to dramatic views of storm clouds and glistening water. Richard Misrach’s unabashedly gorgeous panoramic vistas of San Francisco Bay, also shot from the same spot each time, would seem to be the model here. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photos of sea and sky provide a more rigorous template, one that Aller honors but softens, primarily through her subtle use of color. There are no blazing sunsets here, only shades of blue, white, and gray—a cool, chic version of the rainbow.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE (Art Candy), November 13, 2008
Renate Aller's show at Dumbo's Klompching Gallery through December 20 is a series of neat photographs of different versions of the same seascape, in moods ranging from mellow to dazzling to dark and stormy, as if Aller spent her latest LSD trip sitting on the shore with her camera.
DOPPELGANGER — Cornelia Hediger, September 10 - October 31, 2008
NARTE ESPACIO MOVISTAR, October 1, 2008
NEW YORK MAGAZINE (Art Candy), September 17, 2008
Cornelia Hediger's photographs are meticulously staged and impeccable: Her characters are stylishly prim; her lighting is soft but it pops. In her latest show, "Doppelganger," on view at Klompching Gallery in Dumbo through October 31, she exhibits her budding genius for alluring telenovelas, starring an eternally confused young chica and her eternally spooky doppelgänger. There are also several lewd scenarios, one of them involving an aroused fish.
INTIMATE ARCHAEOLOGY — Elaine Duigenan, July 9 - August 29, 2008
MODERN PAINTERS, October, 2008
Conjuring the formal rigor and appearance of Man Ray's and László Moholy-Nagy's photograms of mundane household objects (like paperclips or scissors), are Elaine Duigenan's digital scans featuring an assortment of similarly banal nylon stockings and hairnets.
In her first New York solo show, the British photographer devoted all her focus to just these two items. (Duigenan worked from her own collection of hairnets made between the 1920's and '50s, some of which are intricately constructed from real human hair.) The subsequent reduction of content teased out the structural qualities of these nostalgic women's accoutrements. The images from her 2005 stocking series, "Nylon", were cropped in so closely that details such as a crumpled thigh grip or snagged thread became abstract, tidy geometric forms (picture the close-up of a counterstitched, triangular heel, or the graping oval sheen of a stocking's opening). Even more engaging in an eerie sort of way is her series from 2008, "Net", highlighting the crisp, razor-thin black lines of hairnets, which appear to be pressed onto paper with the inky contrast of a drypoint etching. This series offers a Rorschach romp of associations: nets become jellyfish, a uterus, a heart, or a bird's wing.
With Duigenan's marvelous handiwork, one innocuous item dropped onto a scanner can resemble either the clean grid of an architectural drawing or a foul clot of wet hair pulled from a drain.
THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY, July 9, 2008
The gossamer quality of nylon stockings and hairnets is at the core of Elaine Duigenan's fascinating photograms. Colin Pantell talks to her about her work, and how she was discovered by a New York gallery at Rhubarb-Rhubarb.
"I started doing photograms through pure experimentation," says Elaine Duigenan. "The first thing I scanned was an old hairnet and it felt like I had discovered something new and exciting, something that lent itself well to the work that I was doing." These early experiments by the London-based photographer led to more detailed photograms of archaic women's wear, work that will be on show in Duigenan's Intimate Archaeology exhibition running at Klompching Gallery in New York from 10 July until 29 August.
"After I scanned the hairnet, I did the Nylons series," says Duigenan. "I began collecting them, starting with vintage stockings by Dior and going through to more contemporary versions. Collecting and discovering nylons in unlikely places was part of my passion for the process."
"It's like finding by accident because nylons are objects of beauty and oddness. They are functional, but they are also flirty, sexy things, and they are fetish objects. I was interested in the delicacy of the stockings, the way you could see individual threads pulling away. The nylons are both there and not there, fragile items that are incredibly intricate and can unravel so easily, but with a texture that has an almost sculptural quality. They connect on many levels, so people react in different ways and bring their own connections to them."
"After completing her Nylons series, Duigenan returned to photographing hairnets, partly because she also wanted to collect them. Drawn by the strangeness of the items, and the fact that some older hairnets are made from human hair, duigenan found her curiosity piqued. She also found that the organic nature of the hairnets revealed a darker, forensic side that found a resonance with some of her earlier work. This darkness carried over to Duigenan's hairnets, where the mystery was compounded by her arrangements of the nets on the scanner, arrangements that, given the hairnets' flexible nature, are only partial at best. Indeed Duigenan's hairnets almost take on a life of their own. They tend to spring back from their orderly arrangements and weave shapes that emerge from their organic architecture. Look at them long enough and they become a photographic Rorschach test — one image depicts a seahorse, another a pair of knickers or a jellyfish, or whatever the depths of the viewer's psyche decides it to be.
The luxuriant quality of the prints, and finding opportunities to show them to gallerists and publishers, has played a large part in Duigenan's burgeoning career. For her, the most effective places to show work and network are review events, especially Rhubarb-Rhubarb, where she met both Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching (owners of the Klompching Gallery).
" ... I had a three-line email from Debra last year asking if I would like representation, and I said yes, and now I have my first New York show, something I am obviously delighted about."
FALLEN PARADISE — William Greiner, May 1 - June 27, 2008
THE NEW YORK SUN, May 15, 2008
The Klompching Gallery, Suite 206, has only been open for six months. Its present exhibition is “William Greiner: Fallen Paradise,” color photographs of Louisiana where Mr. Greiner was born and still lives. “London Lodge, Metairie” (2005) is a picture of a closed gas station and a dilapidated motel; the bottom half of the frame is taken up with cracked asphalt and a stagnant puddle. Mr. Greiner seems to have absorbed influences of Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, and found a style based on abstracted architectural components and oddments of color.
SUSPENDED REALITIES — Sarah Lynch, March 6 - April 25, 2008
NEW YORK MAGAZINE (Art Candy), March 20, 2008
It's a cream cake dangling from a fishing rod — every dieter's nightmare! Actually, it's a photograph of a pile of papers, topped with a raspberry and suspended from a piece of wire. Sarah Lynch builds such sculptures and uses her camera to create such elegant illusions around simple, delectable objects like plums and bubbles and freshly fallen leaves. Her tricky photographs are hanging at Klompching Gallery until April 25.
HOTSHOE, Aug-Sept, 2008
In DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass—New York loves acronyms) is an inviting photography gallery eponymously named Klompching, after its co-owners Debra Klomp and Darren Ching. Located in a cavernous warehouse on Front Street, the gallery is small but harmoniously proportioned, and is making its mark in DUMBO’S popping photographic community.
Klomp is Australian, now living in New York via 20 years in England, with an academic and curating background, and a recent stint reviving the fortunes of Pavilion in Leeds. Ching is Hawaiian, and his day job is Creative Director of Photo District News in Manhattan. “Two islanders living on another island” is how Klomp describes the couple’s cultural heritage. They’re both passionate about their aim to represent emerging photographers and more established but under-recognised contemporary artists, and with the gallery’s first year anniversary coming up in October, it has already put on six shows that have brought to public attention the work of some original and committed artists including Elaine Duigenan, Paula McCartney and Cornelia Heiger.
Amongst the new signings is Sarah Lynch, a British artist who is clearly benefiting from that combination of intuition, strategy and mission that is the Klompching hallmark. Klomp remembered liking Lynch’s work from 2004 when Lynch won the Jerwood Prize, but when she tried to find out what Lynch had been doing since, she was shocked at how little the artist or her work were known or promoted. In the internet age, not even six degrees separate most of us, and soon Klomp tracked Lynch down to Barcelona where she lives and works. Confident of mutual rapport, the two committed to Lynch’s first solo show: Suspended Realities which ran at the gallery from March-April 08.
Lynch is not a prolific artist and her output, to date, is small. But her hypnotic, exquisitely executed still-life photographs are the result of a painstaking process where each image takes weeks of meticulous work to assemble.
First Lynch prepares her canvas, her tale top or, as she describes it, her “landscape”. A flat surface is covered with white paper—probably cotton rag of similar texture and density to the paper on which the eventual photographs will be printed, and the background or “sky” that is also of white paper, hangs at 90 degress behind. Working with a medium format camera, Lynch aims to create an almost featureless landscape, which can appear both vast and small, with a distant and blurred horizon — and which is always rendered in shades of white and grey, suggestive of snows and Northern light.
Into this landscape Lynch introduces miniature sculptures, which she assembles from a single plum, or grape or raspberry, often tethered and balanced with fine wire, blue thread, wooden splints and metal hoops and made into little structural forms that suggest catapults or swings or fishing lines. One image is of a little pile of paper squares on which balances a single raspberry, attached to a taught hook and line, and just perceptible is a tiny dribble of red juice into the paper mound where the fruit is starting to deliquesce.
Another image has two grapes harnessed in slingshots, as though facing-off for a show-down. There’s a feeling of tension, poise and imminence about these sculptures, and also something playful and absurd like the humorous constructions of Alexander Calder’s early period, or the toys Lilliputian children might have made to splat miniature-missiles in an adversary’s eye. Such variations to the mise-en-scene and mood are subtle. Another group in the series lowers the vantage point and the objects seem correspondingly nearer. Here, one image is of a lime green maple leaf, tied like a balloon with pale blue thread to a little metal hoop on which the focus is sharp, whilst the leaf is blurred, caught in a moment in time as it spins to the ground. Another is of a purple plum wrapped in a caul of the same blue thread, its spherical form echoing that of a soap bubble, captured in the millisecond before it hits the flat surface and pops. A third is of a cobalt blue balloon, still airborne in the moment just after deflation.
A third group has the gestural certainty and economy of haiku: a green lily leaf curled back on itself and tied with the signature blue thread, creating an ovoid opening or gateway to the infinite space beyond; a ball of crumpled tissue paper, tied with thread; a ball of metal wire similarly bound; a looped yellow ribbon, lying across the horizon.
Lynch records the moment just before, or during, tipping-over and falling, of deflation and collapse, which one might think would require multiple attempts and exposures. In fact Lynch’s method is so orderly and deliberate, and her intention so clear of purpose, that when the moment comes she make one or two, at most three negatives to record her vision. Lynch is equally deliberate about scale—favouring a large print size of 44”x36”—so that the small, identifiable organic fruit and vegetation appear larger than life.
Common to all still-life photographers, Lynch’s work is concerned with formal considerations of composition and lighting. In the play with scale and the function of objects, she gives a little nod to the Surrealists, but her work acknowledges a far greater debt to a Japanese minimal aesthetic. At a more subjective level, Lynch draws on a narrow, private vocabulary of symbolic objects and signifiers that imbue her images with a sense of meditative repetition and tranquility. They also allude to the pared-down tradition of Spanish seventeenth century bodegones or still-life painting, which in their austerity, monochrome backgrounds and inanimate organic subjects, invite the viewer to reflect on the impermanence of life.
Lynch is an understated artist of considerable technical accomplishment, with integrity of personal enquiry, which makes her work aesthetically pleasing and rewards close-looking. With the commitment of her dynamic new gallery, and the magnet of the DUMBO scene, this previously neglected British artist should find a discerning following.
SNOWBOUND — Lisa M. Robinson, January 3 - February 29, 2008
THE NEW YORKER, January 21, 2008
For the past five winters, Robinson photographed landscapes from Colorado to New York so enveloped in snow that they appear almost blank. Her pictures zero in on what remains when the world turns white: a lakeside picnic table in its own snug furrow; a plot, outlined by black poles and yellow rope, crisscrossed by the tracks of solitary travellers. The patched-together wooden shack of an ice fisherman is fragile and forlorn in one image, but, seen from a distance alongside a scattering of similar shelters, it becomes part of a colorful toy village of Monopoly houses seen through a scrim of falling snow.
THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER, January 23, 2008
For those who may be lamenting the dearth of snow in New York this winter, there is now plenty of it in Brooklyn. Over the course of five winters, Lisa M. Robinson, a youg New York-based photographer, set out to visit sites across the United States to capture images of snowfall. After taking on a larger project to photograph water, she became mesmerized by its manifestation as snow. Her views of these various states of winter landscapes are now on display at Klompching Gallery, a new gallery in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood devoted to emerging and overlooked talent. All of the images capture the paradox of nature's still beatury in what viewers can only imagine — and what the photographer must have experienced —to be varying degrees of inhospitble conditions.
She captured each frame as she found it, without intervention or stylization. The trackless snow leaves no record of the photographer's presence. Some scenes she sought out, but most she stumbled upon. Wish, one of the most iconic images of the show, was entirely accidental. Setting out to photograph a frozen lake, she first sent marching across a meadow to get there, when, in the distance she noticed a speck of black along the way. As she got closer, it revealed itself as a park bench almost submerged under snow. The lake that she was originally intending to capture picks up a new presence and meaning in the photograph — as a thin green line in the distance, dividing earth and sky.
And this is one of the work's main themes: the relationship between earth andky. Robinson manages to draw out some evocative horizons, accentuated by the gentle palette she uses. She divides many of the photographas, each 28-inch-by-36-inch digital C-types, into broad horizontal registers, with white on the bottom, and a dark, but soft, sea green sky on top. The lake in Wish and a grove of trees in Solstice providea band of darker color, clearly definingthe distinction between bottom and top. And in others, a torrent of snowfall blurs this line or sometimes makes it disappear entirely.
by using snow as her subject, Robinson is able to immediately force the viewer to recognize issues of temporality. As dramatic and substnative and pure as these landscapes are, they will be quick to vanish. When someone or something leaves its tracks, the scene will be marred, and when spring comes, it will literally evaporate.
In this world, architecture only underscores a sense of the transitory. In two photogrpahs, she captures fishing huts placed over holes in a frozen lake. There but for a moment; the ice on which they are built will disappear come spring.
While the work is most definitively wintry, Robinson manages to gnerate a sense of paradox by leaving traces of other seasons in some of the frames. Snow stills summer's trampoline and basketball hoop and park bench. Frozen garden plants or the ropes of a golf course seem caught inn a silent death. Blades of fresh, green grass emerge from under the blanket of an early snowfall, creating a tension between seasons coming and going. Though not stated directly, what remains hauntingly implicit in the snow is an awareness of changing environmental conditions brought about by human intervention.
THE TIMES LEDGER, February 14, 2008
Lisa M. Robinson's photography collection "Snowbound," currently on exhibit at the Klompching Gallery in Dumbo, might sound like an unwelcome concept in the middle of winter, but in a way, that is one of the points of her work: drawing attention to the uneasy relationship between people and aloof, frozen environments.
The exhibition consists of 16 of Robinson's photographs taken between 2003 and 2007, all depicting snowy, barren landscapes with faint evidence of human presence that works conversely to imply our non-presence in these inhospitable but beautiful landscapes.
A Jackson Heights resident and native of Savannah, Ga., Robinson discovered her love for the photographic medium toward the end of a five-year stay in Argentina, when she realized that she didn't have any photographs of the country and spent the rest of her stay taking black-and-white photos.
"I never imagined pursuing it professionally," she said.
Later she would attend Savannah College of Arts and Sciences, where she honed her craft and received a Master of Fine Arts in photography in 1999. Since then, Robinson's work has appeared in galleries all over the world and she's received grants and other distinctions for her work. Her book, also called "Snowbound" and published by German art-book house Kehrer Verlag, came out in December.
Robinson took her first snowy photograph in Pennsylvania in 2002 while on a road trip. The photograph, which she titled "Running Fence," depicts fence posts connected by plastic orange mesh, running through and semi-buried by snow that renders its function obsolete. There was something that struck her about the image that she couldn't pin down.
"I wanted to keep making it to figure out what it was," she said. As she started creating sparser images, she said they also became more complex in their meaning.
Her other photos, taken over a five-year period, include such objects as a bucket, phone booth, basketball hoop, trampoline and above-ground swimming pool covered in snow. Some of these aren't in the exhibit at the Klompching, but appear in her book.
"I'm very conscious of titles," she said. "I want to open up the possibility of an image without shutting it down." Robinson said her titles are there to suggest a direction to the viewer. For example, one of the images, "Sonata," shows intertwining footprints and fence posts resembling written music.
She also describes a distinctly American element present in her "Snowbound" collection. "There's something reminiscent of a specific experience to me, a suburban childhood," she said.
But Robinson admits she's been surprised to learn how that American blush captured in her photographs - "the way we shape our concrete, how the pylons here are orange, but elsewhere they're blue É" - has still managed to resonate with Europeans and South Americans who have seen her work at exhibits abroad and commented on the familiarity of the images.
ARTCRITICAL.COM, February, 2008
Snow has a transformative quality. It revises one’s recognition of the mundane and everyday—behind snow’s pristine and uniform cloak, our perception of what once was easily identified changes. Consolidating and concealing, snow altars objects, suggesting essential shapes and forms. While Lisa Robinson’s exhibition “Snowbound” on view at Klompching Gallery expresses this idea in closely cropped, intimate photographs of snow-covered commonplace objects, her photographs also delve deeper into the ethos of an at once foreign and familiar polar environment.
Robinson’s gaze isolates single objects against a stark, minimal snowscape. In her off-square format—all prints are 28 by 36 inches— horizons fall roughly halfway in her compositions, dividing the photograph into neatly symmetrical bands of ground and sky. Often in such photographs as Wish (2005) and Solstice (2007), these expanses of sky and ground read flatly as slabs of softened whites and almost achromatic blues, suggesting a flirtation with a geometric abstraction. Objects—benches, the suburban basketball goal, fishing shacks, trampolines—against these fantastic backdrops are removed from their banal context, appear magical in their remove and disturbing in their silent isolation.
The photographs are at best when minimal and focused around a single object, composed as if a portrait. An exception is the image Invisible City (2007) (perhaps an allusion to the Italo Calvino novel thus named) where a village of ice fishing shacks populates the center of an otherwise blank space, enigmatically depicted at such a distance that the shacks appear as scaled architectural models. This photograph proves, like others, that when one forgets the name and loses immediate recognition of what one sees is when the narrative is strongest and most dislocated. Robinson’s efforts lose focus however when the photographs’ subjects appear set up rather than discovered, such as in Aria (2007) in which a positioned cauliflower sprouts up through a blanket of snow.
Lisa Robinson’s photographs have a quiet, meditative charm. They ask the larger question of what does this environment mean in the 21st Century? Although Robinson’s snowscapes recall the nineteenth-century Arctic exploration that captured America’s imagination, her work also conjures our 21st-century fear of natural disaster—that nature will reclaim the manmade landscape by our own disregard for the environment. This has been the consequence shown in many recent blockbuster films such as the The Day After Tomorrow and I am Legend. Depicting the residue of human activity rather than people themselves, Robinson implicates our modern sense of loneliness, isolation and wanting evoked by this frigid environment.
MOTHERLAND — Simon Roberts, October 23 - December 24, 2007
ART REVIEW, February, 2008
Perhaps my recent listen to NPR's Intelligence Squared debate 'Is Russia Becoming Our Enemy Again?' didn't prepare me well for Simon Roberts's photo-essayMotherland, at the recently opened DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Breidge Overpass, Brooklyn) gallery Klompching, as I found myself balking at the press release's suggestion that Roberts's series dispels 'the clichéd view of poverty-stricken post-communist Russia'. The photos deployed now-systematic tactics for capturing a region of the world — portraits of the local colour, from Cossack soldiers to wrestlers (photos which, in the best cases, suggested Rineke Dijkstra; in the worst, Wes Anderson). Roberts was wise to let his content do the talking, and more often than not, Russia's history loomed unsettlingly in the background like a naging reminder. The brightly coloured Chechnya market scene of Outdoor Market (2005), set against a row of decimated brick houses, may be the most heavy-handed evocation of this residue, but it is equally one of the most elegantly wrought.