Photographer Joe Maloney revisits the art of summer slumming along the east coast in his retrospective show “Asbury Park and The Jersey Shore, c. 1979″ at Rick Wester Fine Arts. Maloney, according to The New Yorker, chose Asbury Park specifically because the area was “distinctly working-class, non-affluent, semi-urban, slightly run-down beach town, with a music culture and a vibrant street life.”
Most striking about this collection, however, is not just the “Darkness On The Edge of Town” vibe meshed with beach resort kitsch, but even more so, the intense level of isolation that vacation culture embodied before cell phones, Wi-Fi, and the Internet at large. Each portrait seems quiet somehow: subjects full of secrets and aspirations. Its a trapped or estranged sort of quiet that I strangely miss . . . and maybe long to reclaim.
We often think of bodies as opposed to landscapes. The figure belongs to the portrait and natural scenery to the landscape – bodies inhabit the landscape. For Carl Warner‘s series of photographs, though, the bodies make the landscape. Twisting torsos, bent limbs, crevices, and folds are given finer than the typical attention. Layering of bodies and parts with such focus on detail create landscape like images. Mountains, caverns, and valleys seem to rise out of the figures and become a land of skin. [via]
Giuseppe Colarusso‘s photographs and their clever manipulations betray a certain sense of humor. His simple images of everyday objects are modified in such a way that they are rendered useless. He portrays flimsy handled silverware, cyclops sunglasses, bottle sans top. A commodity with out a use has no value – a sort of capitalist existentialism. On the other hand, perhaps its just funny.
Katya Grokhovsky‘s series Untitled Heroic is deeply complex and familiarly conflicted. For the series Grokhovsky makes use any medium necessary – photography, performance, video, and even a cardboard cut-out installation. The artist seems to attract and repel. The series is at once confrontational, seductive, and wonderfully volatile. By way of her statement, Grokhovsky says that Untitled Heroic is, “A series of performances for photography and video, culminating in a large-scale cutboard cutout installation, whereby a female artist is dealing with frustrating desire to both attract and reject the notion of a male gaze.” Grokohovsky’s work is also the subject of an upcoming solo exhibit at New York’s Galerie Protégé.
What may be most affecting about Richard Renaldi‘s series Touching Strangers is how clearly he captures something that can’t even be seen. For the series Renaldi posed strangers together to be photographed in poses with an intimacy typically reserved for families or friends. Arms around shoulders and waists, hands on hands, fingers interlocked are subtle gestures. Between strangers, though, they reveal a powerful privacy we carry around with us, a sacred space rarely breached. Once a viewer discovers the subjects are strangers, these otherwise banal photographs suddenly become intensely unsettling.
Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.
Australian artist Ian Strange‘s ambitious project two year in the making is difficult to pin down. SUBURBAN isn’t quite installation, photography, performance, or video art – its really more than all of these. The project is really Ian Strange’s investigation of and interaction with the idea of suburbia. The sidewalk, front yard, middle class, ubiquitous rows of homes have grown with a generation of young people, and now with a second and third. The neighborhoods and houses themselves have become symbols of something beyond their function that Strange’s work seems to seek and find. Check out the video to get a preview of the upcoming exhibit.
Emma Kisiel‘s series of photographs At Rest is as intriguing as it is simple. Kisiel happens upon animals that have died, typically roadkill, and sparsely decorates the site. Simply by placing stones and flowers around the carcass, Kisiel draws attention and returns a certain dignity to each animal. Typically these animals are only seen from inside a car as it momentarily passes. Kisiel says of her interaction with the animals in the series:
“They are happened upon, visited with, remembered, and left to return to nature.” [via]