The work of Curtis Mann.
The artist’s work emphasizes the artifice of the photographic medium with scenes that are partially modified or erased through a technical process that demonstrates the malleability of the images used, sometimes drawing on scenes selected from internet or sharing these scenes in relation to current situations of historical interest. The primary intention becomes the physical alteration and decontextualization of images, continually forcing a search for the unexpected yet underlying meaning of image itself and finally resulting in an oscillation between photography and painting, the real and the imagined.
Through the use of the image and the surface on which it is printed, Curtis Mann calls into question the affinity of photography as a documentary tool, seriously compromising its presumed ability to transmit the truth. In the process of creating each individual work, the image shifts into less conventional territory, partly as a result of the alteration of flat surface of the photographic paper, which takes on a density and texture.
Recently, the artist’s work has focused on the actual use of photographic medium, and in a different way, on creating works of a compositional nature, even touching on their sculptural aspect. The parts of the image that are shown can serve to highlight details that draw the artist’s interest. However his artistic development has moved towards a style that makes greater use of the manipulation of the photographic paper, with incisions and compositions that enrich the photographic surface. His attention to different images involving international situations is combined with the desire for a more autonomous and perceptive creation, with fewer references to the past, although his artistic development reveals a continuity of stylistic purpose in his latest work.
With his original technique, the artist draws on the influence of Gordon Matta-Clark, who often deconstructed, perforated or erased whole sections of abandoned buildings, just as Curtis Mann “deconstructs” the materials and images, adopting a method that has the paradoxical results of penetrating and distorting the structure and meanings of the images, through the use of bleach and transparent varnish.
The tonalities of colour remain bright and attractive, taking on a greater incisiveness in the abstract representations. Individual subjects are alternated with grids of photographs that sometimes recall a landscape or a boundless sky, revealing how the artist is skilfully immersed in a series of new themes while at the same time cultivating the dialogue between photography and painting, with the enrichment of whole sections of photographs and with the oscillation between image and object.
The artist’s curiosity touches the physical nature of the photograph, almost as if he wishes to probe into its depths through its material decomposition; thus we can see the tears and crumples in his work, or the circles and arches expressed through his technique, in order to reveal his intention to enter into the image, as though seeking to pry into the intimate parts of the medium he is using.
**All images and text are from Luce Gallery
Photographer Vasilikos explores a wide array of narratives with his work. To see more photos visit his site.
The work of Bailey Hikawa.
**All images are from baileyhikawa.com
I just got back from a weekend in Big Sur so it seemed appropriate to revisit the “Camping in California” pool of images for inspiration.
To see the entire board and sources go here.
Mysteries are hidden everywhere around us in plain sight, in bare tree branches and simple leaves, electric wires, manhole covers, shadows on stairs, buildings and architecture, even in our own handwriting. Some of these wonders we take for granted, while others we may never have really seen. For me, abstract photography is a bridge that connects our everyday world with imaginary worlds, places that are no less real just because we can’t touch them. We must be content with seeing them through the eye of abstraction.
I am drawn to images that carry a certain meditative quality. Part of this is achieved by using a sparse language of geometrical shapes, lines, and rhythms. Furthermore, I often use a narrow tonal range, so that the images are either overall dark or overall light. By abstracting away from the literal subject matter, I hope to leave behind the question “What is it?”, and let our associations to come to the forefront. My goal is for the photographs to have a feeling of meditative simplicity, so they are images not from our everyday, mundane world of hustle and bustle, but instead from the more symbolic and archetypal world of our imagination.
Winter strips the trees down to their innermost, leaving the bare branches stretched out in patient acceptance. They lie in wait, as we must if we enter a difficult wintertime of the soul, so leaves can burst forth once more when the time is right. In the meantime, the trees are comforted by the memory of summers past and by visions of springs yet to come. The tiny twigs still clutch the last few precious leaves of autumn as they sift the air for tidings of their beloved.
The trees in these photographs are from places that carry many memories for me, near where I live in the Santa Cruz mountains, and near where I grew up in Connecticut. Just as memories are built up over time, forming complex webs of repetition and reinterpretation, the photographs in this series are built up from multiple exposures. Since my digital Hasselblad camera does not have the built-in ability to capture multiple exposures, I had to create my own method by leaving the shutter open for a long time and uncovering the lens for each exposure. Since I’m never sure quite what the result will be, the process is full of surprises and serendipity, just like the process of forming and finding memories.
The images themselves are varied, just like our memories. Some are light and ethereal, while others are darker and shrouded in mystery. Some are clearly recognizable as trees, while others are more abstract, further removed from the original by all the built-up layers. Overall, I seek a contemplative and mysterious feeling in these images, as if from a secret, misty forest that lies partway between this world and another. The simple geometric compositions contrast with the endless complexity of the branches receding into the distance. Various influences for this series include looping music by Steve Reich and Zoe Keating, fractal imagery, and works by Richard Diebenkorn, Cy Twombly, and Jackson Pollack.
The images are captured using a digital medium-format Hasselblad camera, and printed as archival pigment prints. I use the highly-textured Hahnemuehle William Turner paper and float the prints in the frames, creating end results that resemble drawings, blurring the line between our external and internal realities, between this world and the world of our memories.
*** To know more about Ryan Bush go here.
The work of Ben Barretto. Barretto’s various bodies of work all appear different at first glance, however upon looking closer they all speak to one another; vibrating on the same wave length. The paintings, weavings, photography, sound and performance are all catalyst of movement and disruption. All the mediums exist within some form of constraint or frame containing mobility inside the specific parameters whether it be the canvas, wood frame for weaving, the rectangle of the photograph or the structures for the performances. This discursive motif of movement through the mediums highlights the simple gestures of making. His practice echos Pollock where the the work becomes evidence the actions.
Ben Barretto will be showing at The Popular Workshop in San Francisco, opening March 1.
**All images are from www.benbarretto.com
Ansel Easton Adams
American, Photographer, February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984
San Francisco-born Ansel Adams took his first photograph in 1916. More than a dozen years later (during which time he also trained as a concert pianist), he decided on photography as a career. A master of the natural landscape photograph, Adams became famous for his spectacular, reverential images of the American West. He also was known for his technical skill, conceiving the zone system method of exposure and development control.
An advocate of straight, unmanipulated photography, in 1932 Adams cofounded Group f/64 (among the other founding members were Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Willard Van Dyke), and that year exhibited his work with the group at San Francisco’s M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. In 1936 his images were featured in a one-person exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s New York gallery, An American Place, and three years later he took part in group exhibitions at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1940 Adams helped found the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and later in the decade was awarded two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to photograph America’s national parks.
Beginning in the 1930s and continuing throughout his long, productive career, Adams published numerous books and portfolios of his images. His technical books on photography, including Making a Photograph, Basic Photo Series, and Polaroid Land Photography Manual, were also popular. Adams was influential not only as a photographer but also as a teacher, lecturer, and conservationist. In 1980 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
Images and Text Via Museum Graphics Ansel Adams