SEASCAPES: ONE LOCATION (1999 — Present) — Renate Aller
Over the course of ten years, Renate Aller has continually photographed the Atlantic Ocean from the same elevated location in Westhampton Beach on Long Island. Through careful observation of the changing seasonal conditions, the Seascapes series encapsulates the character and weight of the ocean. Aller’s images appear at once effortless, yet full of profundity. The ocean is transformed from appearing like calm molten lava to glistening diamonds and dramatic turbulence, dissected by a horizon that separates water and sky with a shifting slither of blinding light. These are mesmerizing vistas, in which the combination of light, texture and division of space pull the viewer into tranquil spaces that contrast with the verticality of the city.
“There are obvious similarities to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs and Mark Rothko’s horizontal division of space, but Aller manages to avoid being derivative with hypnotically beautiful combinations of light and texture that meld abstraction with representation in arresting yet simple compositions.” —ArtForum, 2006
Renate Aller trained in London at the Chelsea School of Art and the Byam Shaw School of Art. Her artworks are in the collections of corporate institutions, private collections and museums, the most recent being The Yale University Art Gallery and Kunsthalle Hamburg. She has been exhibited widely in the US, Germany and Italy. Renate Aller lives and works in New York City.
DOPPELGANGER — Cornelia Hediger
In this richly colorful series, the persona of the artist is the central figure, performing a psychological struggle with her doppelgänger — a fictional ghostly double of a living person, widely understood as sinister and a harbinger of bad luck. These striking images will amuse, challenge, intrigue and captivate the viewer.
Each image is constructed from six to nine photographs, employing a device which is increasingly prevalent in contemporary photography — that of the tableau-vivant, in which a pictorial narrative is carefully choreographed into a single image. Through the presentation of different characters, Hediger explores notions of the uncanny, the conscious / unconscious and moral ambiguity — perceptively juxtaposed with a fine-drawn level of dry humor.
Hediger’s photo assemblages present stories that are also fascinating for their obliqueness, enabling the viewer to invest some of their own narrative interpretations. Her storytelling demonstrates more than a hint of literary and pyschological theory, and it is this that makes her photographs all the more compelling. These internalised depictions of illusory spaces and scenarios oblige us to draw comparisons to the work of Claude Cahun, Francesca Woodman and even Hans Bellmer.
Cornelia Hediger was awarded a Master of Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has been exhibited widely in the US, as well as internationally. Cornelia Hediger lives and works in New York City.
INTIMATE ARCHAEOLOGY — Elaine Duigenan
July 9—August 29, 2008
Although usually viewed as something ordinary, functional and familiar, these modern-day digital photograms reveal stockings and hairnets as objects of beauty and intrigue. Duigenan fetishizes intimate female apparel in a manner which is not only scientific in its archaeological approach, but also displays a delicate, flirty sensuality.
The machine-manufactured stockings, crisply detailed in their softness and overlapping textures, contrast with the often hand-woven hairnets dating from the 1920’s to 1950’s. The fact that many of these hairnets were made from real human hair, sets up all kinds of musings. Whose hair? Who knotted and wore the net? Because it never dies, hair is a curiously emotive thing — the Victorians commonly collected it as momento mori.
In her artist’s statement, Duigenan states that the images “have a multitude of referents and manage to hover between ‘intimations of elegance’ and downright quirkiness”. In their abstractness, the images transcend the objects themselves. The stockings sometimes appear as sculptural landscapes glowing in inky black space, whilst the hairnets transform into renderings of architectural form. The subtle qualities of tonal range, crisp detail and texture make these images rich and generous in all that they have to offer.
Elaine Duigenan was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from Goldsmiths College in London. Her photographs have been widely exhibited across the United Kingdom, as well as at the Houston Fotofest in Texas, the Liangzhou International Photography Festival in China and Kalamoon University in Syria. Collections holding her work include the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and The Museum of Fine Art (Houston).
FALLEN PARADISE (New Orleans 1995 — 2005) — William Greiner
May 1 — June 27, 2008
This is the underbelly of pre-Katrina New Orleans. Greiner presents an image of a city that was already devastated, by neglect and abandonment, long before natural disaster struck. His imaging of New Orleans' urban vernacular is perceptively pictured through a carefully constructed use of color, form and content.
William Greiner's modus operandi is the American Color Tradition — the snapshot that isn't. Here, the familiar becomes unfamiliar. The seemingly objective actuality of the city, its banality, its ordinary everyday impression, is transformed into a vista of flush saturated palettes of color. Born, raised and (until Katrina) living and working in the city, New Orleans has always been an importnt source of inspiration for Greiner's work.
Here, a decade of looking and picturing his immediate environment, is brought together and displayed for the first time. Fallen Paradise is a celebration of apparent incidental imagery that is, of course, abound in formal devices — frame, vantage point, shape and line. Although there exists an autobiographical subtext, Greiner is most successful in compelling us to also look, not just at his city, but at the photograph itself. Whilst the importance of his subject does not disappear, these images function as photographic artifact — at once, they are observation and cultural object.
SUSPENDED REALITIES — Sarah Lynch
March 6 — April 25, 2008
Sarah Lynch's studio-based images present a photographic style that is both seamless and elegant. The tranquility of her aesthetic, in which she presents a tableaux of simple objects in front of a distant horizon line, is counteracted by the tension inherent in the miniature sculptures which she constructs for the camera.
Lynch presents encounters between inanimate objects, in which there appears to be epic struggles of balance and containment. Her remarkable ability to focus upon the details of a raspberry, a grape or a plum and transform them to a monumental scale, is a testimony to the imaginative qualities of the photographic medium. The specificity of scale is enhanced by an evocative reference to landscape. The use of a soft focus between table-top and backdrop, together with a palette of neutral gray tones, elicits an anonymous, empty and potentially vast space. This in turn is pierced by accents of luscious color and a sense of humor, performed by the objects as if on a stage.
SNOWBOUND — Lisa M Robinson
January 3 — February 29, 2008
For the past five years, Lisa M Robinson has been making photographs in the snow and ice. She is interested in metaphor, and has sought to comprehend our human place in this world.
On the surface, these images are quite beautiful. They appear elegantly simple and accessible, evoking, perhaps, the silent tranquility that one might feel after a fresh snowfall. Beneath the surface, however, there is a subtle tension. Like fine haiku, each image quietly references another season, a time of life or activity that has already passed, and may come again.
Throughout the series run the leitmotifs of poles and ropes and a palette of man-made color. The relationship between the human and the natural world becomes more tightly intertwined as the series progresses, and the cycles of life and death and transformation fold inward.
This interest in time passage and life cycles becomes distilled in explorations of water itself. Ice, snow, fog and water embody the liminal states of a primary element. At times, the multiple forms exist simultaneously. It is as though the thing itself possesses its own counterpoint — and transformation is a constant condition, despite seeming moments of stillness.