Long time Photo Exchange member Ellen Butler is presenting photography from her current project in the show “Zen and Now” at Utopia in Long Beach, CA. I asked Ellen to tell me about her work. Her response is printed below.
My background in sociology has influenced much of my photography over the years, but this particular body of work derives from my interest in Buddhism and the fact that it really is always the present moment, no more, no less. The past is gone, the future’s not yet arrived . . . we are here now.
While that is true, we frequently don’t live as if it were, but rather escape in our heads to the past or future. The images in this body of work would not exist if I hadn’t been fully in the present moment; I’d never have noticed the delightful shapes, textures, colors or patterns. Once I started the series, I was compelled to look more carefully and see more fully whatever was right before my eyes. Photographing these images is not meditation, but it is wonderful Buddhist inspired practice.
Some of the images are taken from existing work by other artists: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, James Turrell’s Skyscape, Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago . . . even a custom car in a car show. Some are the floor of the Broad Gallery at Santa Monica City College when an excellent exhibition of work by indigenous Australians was on the walls, and one is my own garage floor, spied when a wet bucket was lifted. A couple are an alley driveway, first seen when walking home from a run; that was such a wonderful find I returned to photograph it more than once. One is my car, discovered while shooting documentary photographs for insurance purposes following an accident.
The point is, had I not been in present time, fully aware and really looking, I’d never have found these treasures. My hope is that in looking at them, others will learn to look more carefully, too, and learn to be more fully here . . . now.
Artist reception: January 25 from 4:00-6:00 pm
Exhibition dates: January 16 through March 8
Utopia is located at 445 E. First St, Long Beach, CA
By Jim McKinniss
Jonas Yip is a Los Angeles based photographer. I met Jonas at a print salon through the Open Show LA.
This set of images is from his project Paris: Dialog.
Modernists across the globe looked to Paris as the source of movements and ideas that revolutionized art in the 20th century. Photographer Jonas Yip (American, b. 1967) and his father, poet Wai-lim Yip (born in China in 1937), chose Paris to be the focal point of a dialogue between text and image, classical and modern, East and West, and father and son.
In his photographs of rain-washed streets and empty parks peopled by indistinct, ghostly figures, Jonas Yip has embraced the spontaneous and accidental. Unforeseen effects of homemade lenses, misaligned planes of focus, and light leaks have become part of the photographer’s palette—his language of expression.
Inspired by these photographs, Wai-lim Yip, influential poet, critic, and member of the Taiwanese avant-garde, composed minimalist poems that link the aesthetics of Classical Chinese poetry with mid-twentieth-century Anglo-American Imagism. With only a few words the verses conjure a mood of melancholy nostalgia, perhaps for the vibrantly intellectual Paris of the mid-twentieth century. Shown side by side, these evocative pictures and the poems presented in both Chinese and English, suggest a cross-cultural, multi-generational dialogue whereby image and text are mutually enriched.
—Sonya Quintanilla, Curator of Asian Art, San Diego Museum of Art
To see more of Jonas’ work visit his website: http://jonasyip.com/photography
By Jim McKinniss
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present Vivian Maier – A Life Discovered: Photographs
from the Maloof Collection. Unearthed by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in
Chicago, Maier is only now beginning to be recognized as an iconic street photographer
from the 40’s, through the 70’s. A body of work that spans not only the US, but the globe,
Maier took more than 2,000 rolls of film, printed over 3,000 photographs and produced more
than 150,000 negatives representing the street life and architecture of New York, Chicago,
Los Angeles, and the American Southwest, as well as destinations as far off as Manila,
Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, and Italy.
Invested in her bird’s eye view of the people who made industrious cities thrive and pulse, Maier captures gentle and
poignant moments between parents and children, the disenfranchised and forgotten, in a country on the verge of
social and political upheaval. Maier recorded historic landmarks and their demolition as developments were built to
replace them over several decades.
Maier’s ability to grab the right frame at exactly the right moment, with elements of lighting, movement and essence all aligning, is revealed in the remarkable fact that she seldom shot more than one picture of the same moment in time. An intensely private person who kept most of her work hidden, Maier also created a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings that have yet to be released to the public.
Having worked as a nanny most of her adult life, Maier was described by those she cared for as “a free spirit, but also a proud soul,” – “a quasi ‘Mary Poppin’s’ figure.” She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the street taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. At the end of her life Maier became impoverished, but several children she had cared for in the early 50’s pooled their money
together and paid for an apartment and other necessities in her later years. Unbeknownst to them, a storage locker that contained a slew of negatives Maier had secretly hidden away was auctioned off due to delinquent payments. Maier died in 2009 at the age of 83, before the extent of her legacy had been fully understood or revealed.
The Maloof collection is comprised of roughly 90% of Vivian Maier’s work, which has been meticulously reconstructed, archived and catalogued. The collection consists of 100,000 to 150,000 negatives, over 3,000 vintage prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio tape interviews, original cameras of Vivian Maier, documents and various other items. The prints in the Karnowsky exhibition will consist of 100 plus pieces including silver gelatin prints in limited edition of 15, as well as 40 plus one-of-a-kind vintage prints, developed by Maier during her lifetime.
The book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer published by Powerhouse Books will also be available during the exhibition, and a feature-length documentary film about Maier and Maloof’s discovery of her work, titled Finding Vivian Maier, is scheduled for release in 2012. The opening reception at Merry Karnowsky Gallery will be filmed as part of the documentary film.
The exhibition will be hosted by actor and photographer Tim Roth, who will be in attendance
at the January 7th opening reception. John Maloof of the Maloof collection will also be in
Exhibition Dates: January 7 – January 28, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 8-11pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is located at 170 S. LA BREA AVENUE • LOS ANGELES 90036
For more information, please contact Merry Karnowsky at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 323.933.4408 Press Contact: Jessica O’Dowd email@example.com
By Jim McKinniss
All photos are copyright by Adrian Blachut.
Adrian Blachut is a Polish photographer who works with advertising agencies, small and large firms, architects, designers, designers, and owners. She create images and videos for the campaign advertising, brand promotion / place / product ads external, internal, and on the Internet.
You can see more of Adrian’s work at http://adrianblachut.com/
By Jim McKinniss.
This year, the 2014 photo l.a. has moved from Santa Monica to the LA Mart, located at 1933 Broadway, Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition announces new location for 23rd annual event at the Historic LA Mart Building in Downtown Los Angeles.
photo l.a., the longstanding photographic art exposition, is proud to announce its 23rd edition in a new location: downtown at one of the most distinctive venues in Los Angeles – the historic LA Mart (1933 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007) built in 1958. photo l.a. is joining the massive celebration of the arts throughout the downtown area, where the L.A. Art Show and a large number of popular galleries will all be working in unison to drive a massive collaboration of the arts downtown precisely for the weekend of photo l.a.’s exposition.
The list of exhibitors is diverse, you can check them out here. The exhibition hours on Friday through Sunday are 11am to 7 pm. On Thursday, January 16, from 6pm – 9pm is the opening night benefit.
Cheers and welcome the start of the photographic New Year here on the Left Coast!
Peter Fetterman announced a joint exhibition by acclaimed photographers Michael Kenna and Pentti Sammallahti. Representing two of the leading international artists working in the traditional black and white photographic medium, showcasing over forty seminal works by each artist spanning their prolific careers. The exhibition will be the first for Michael Kenna at Peter Fetterman Gallery, and the second for Pentti Sammallahti.
Michael Kenna (England, b. 1953) has long been recognized for the dream-like landscapes that make up the majority of his work and has been exhibited internationally since the late 1970′s. Kenna travels six months out of the year to remote locations around the world and patiently wanders the landscape in search of light and forms that conjure an emotional response. Using techniques of long-exposure and shooting primarily at night or under foggy climatic conditions, Kenna creates ethereal photographs that show a seemingly deserted planet illuminated by a mysterious glow.
After studying at the London College of Printing (1973-1976) Kenna moved to San Francisco where he met master American photographer Ruth Bernhard and became her assistant and printmaker for eight years. In his first retrospective monograph from 1994 Bernhard states, “Michael’s photographs are islands of serenity and silence in a loud and chaotic world. [...] His prints are exquisitely seductive, spiritual experiences, akin to poetry or music.” In celebration of his most recent monograph Shinan (Nazraeli Press), a portion of the exhibition will feature new work from the Shinan region of South Korea. Kenna’s photography has been published in over two-dozen books and has been exhibited extensively throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Australia. He is based in Seattle and continues to travel throughout the world making work.
While the work of both artists conjure similar emotional and aesthetic themes of quiet contemplation, they achieve this from vastly different creative approaches. Pentti Sammallahti’s photographs are representative of the Classical Humanist genre, strict composition and practice of “The Decisive Moment”, even being featured at the opening of the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson in 2004 among the French Master’s 100 Favorite Photographers. Kenna’s images, while vulnerable to the spontaneous compositions of the natural world, are the product of dedicated patience and sensitivity to the revealing effects of light and time on land. Their mutual ability to create stunningly poignant photographs is reinforced by the immaculate quality of their printing, both master craftsmen of the ever more endangered silver gelatin process.
Peter Fetterman Gallery
2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
T . 310 453 6463
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am – 6pm
This exhibition runs December 7, 2013 – March 1, 2014
By Jim McKinniss
“Echo Chamber”, an exhibition featuring unique photographs created by John Divola in the late 1980s, is currently being exhibited at Gallery Luisotti. A central component of the exhibition will be a number of 20×24” Polapan prints made at the New York Polaroid Studio in 1987, 1988, and 1989; a pair of related large-scale gelatin silver prints will also be on display. What becomes clear to viewers of the images in “Echo Chamber” is that Divola works between media. He melds sculptural and painterly constructions with photography’s capacity as a documentary medium. The resulting images are visual contemplations of photography’s relation to time, and humanity’s relation to the cosmos.
By the late 1980s, John Divola had developed a unique grammar within his photography. In bodies of work from the 1970s, such as the color Zuma series, or the black and white Vandalism, Divola used his camera to document domestic interiors at the brink of demolition. He favored subjects that could be seen in photographs, but were approaching absence in reality. In order to provoke this difference between photographic stillness and lived time, Divola often marked the spaces he photographed with spray-painted gestures, ad-hoc sculptures, and pronounced artificial lighting. These alterations to reality were not meant to manipulate the viewer so much as to draw attention to the differences between photographic permanence and the disappearance of lived reality.
The photographs featured in “Echo Chamber” furthered Divola’s exploration photography’s essential condition. In Divola’s words, written about the Polaroids featured in “Echo Chamber,” “the photograph as an object has an relationship to that which it represents something like the relationship the snake skin has to the snake that sheds it. The relationship of something dead to something living.” The Polapan prints especially lend themselves to this associate with skin. Their plasticity and their alchemical marks bear witness to a mysterious process of creation; their subject matter conjured up, and then discarded. Divola’s “studio constructions,” as he called them, were temporary structures made solely for the purpose of photographic depiction, including funnels, human and animal figures, and expressively painted backdrops. Divola’s photographs are themselves echo chambers: they replicate and reverberate light from objects that have long since vanished.
Divola’s process has important photo-conceptual precedents: Richard Long’s photographic records of lines made by walking, Jan Dibbets’ play with optical illusion through the camera’s lens, or Robert Smithson’s Yucatan Mirror Displacements. Divola’s work, though, is equally in conversation with the work of Jasper Johns. Johns, known for his paintings of numbers, flags, maps, and targets, focused on flat subjects as a means to conjoining the surface of subject matter with a painting’s flat picture plane. Divola has transmuted the achievements and medium-specificity of high modern painting into images that explore photography’s mimetic qualities and its sheer surface. These are images are about a recognizable reality we cannot access, dim echoes of a familiar world, yet one that has vanished.
This exhibition runs through January 18, 2014
Gallery Luisotti is located at Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Ave. Number a2 Santa Monica California 90404
Tel. 310 453 0043
For more information about the exhibition and artist please contact the gallery directly.
By Jim McKinniss
M+B is pleased to announce Matthew Brandt: Velvet and Bubble Wrap, the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery featuring new work that explores Hollywood as both a construct and a landscape.
Cocaine, the Hollywood Sign, plush velvet, cheap fantasies, interchangeable personalities, identities of affect, trends, bubbles, stars, and slick surfaces—Brandt directly employs Hollywood tropes and transforms them, prodding and mixing the stereotypical, material signifiers of identity in the Los Angeles landscape.
Matthew Brandt’s images physically incorporate the work’s subject matter into his creative process, tethering conceptual creativity to material production and furthering the read. Starry night skies typically obliterated by city lights are elegantly composed in swirls of cocaine on black velvet. Torsos donning patterned and striped shirts are burned and etched onto fields of pristine white silk velvet. Gaps between the letters of the Hollywood sign are printed in hair dye on bubble wrap, glowing in abstracted scenes.
Matthew Brandt (b. 1982, Los Angeles) received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2004 and his MFA from UCLA in 2008. He was recently featured in Art+Auction’s “50 Under 50: The Next Most Collectible Artists” in the June 2013 issue, and his first solo exhibition at M+B in the fall of 2011 was met with critical attention: selected by Modern Painters as part of “The 100 Best Fall Shows” and reviewed in the December/January 2013 issue. Brandt was included in the “The Top 30 Under 30 in Art and Design” for Forbes by Jeffrey Deitch in 2012 and Art in America included him in their “Top Finds at Paris Photo Los Angeles” earlier this year. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Armand Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), Bidwell Projects (Ohio), The Sir Elton John Photography Collection, UBS Art Collection, Statoil Collection, Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio), Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York), North Carolina Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Cincinnati Art Museum (Ohio), Royal Danish Library and Wieland Collection, among others. This fall, the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio will open Brandt’s first institutional solo exhibition entitled Sticky/Dusty/Wet, which will travel to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in the fall of 2014. Recent institutional group exhibitions include Land Marks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Reality Check at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Currents at the Contemporary Art Museum (North Carolina) and Staking Claim at the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego). Matthew Brandt lives and works in Los Angeles.
The opening reception for the artist on Saturday, December 14 from 6 to 8 pm.
For more information, please contact Alexandra Wetzel at M+B at (310) 550-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jim McKinniss
Korean artist Jee Young Lee has been weaving herself into exceedingly clever dream worlds she creates in her studio… and despite their other worldly appearance she uses absolutely no photo manipulation for the end result. In each image you can find Lee’s young figure hidden among the vibrant details of her carefully constructed, set-like pieces – perhaps a hand poking up from the center of a watery vortex of swirling fans, or her body floating in a lotus as in the picture above (inspired by the Story of Shim Cheong, a Korea folktale as well as by Shakespeare’s Ophelia).
By Jim McKinniss
In its first new exhibitions of 2014, dnj Gallery will be showing traditional black and white photographs by Robert von Sternberg in the main gallery. In addition, “Hydrographics” by R. Dean Larson will be featured in Gallery II.
von Sternberg has been active in Southern California photography for several decades. This exhibition
highlights samples of his black and white work spanning from 1962 through the early 2000s. All of the
images in this exhibition were captured on traditional film. Some are classic gelatin silver prints.
Others are carbon ink prints that were created by drum scanning negatives into digital files, then
printing them with an ink jet printer retooled with special carbon ink jets to produce an extraordinary
range of tonal qualities. Though the photographs cover a range of subjects, together they showcase
von Sternberg’s talent for finding and capturing the exquisite, yet easily overlooked moments of
everyday life. Using humor and wit, von Sternberg’s images ultimately lead his audience to the
discovery that in a world saturated with images there is still a reason to look. von Sternberg states,
“Images exist—waiting to be captured. Subliminally, I’m always looking for them. I encounter them
everywhere—on my commute, while attending events and even while traveling.”
von Sternberg started taking photographs in his early years in Hermosa Beach and sold the very first
image he took to Surfer Magazine. He has exhibited his work since the late sixties and has pieces in
numerous private collections and 45 museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the International Museum of
Photography at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. von Sternberg’s work is
currently on view at LACMA as part of the exhibition “See the Light – Photography, Perception,
Cognition: The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection.”
In “Hydrographics” in Gallery II, R. Dean Larson uses digital tools to explore and extend his artistic
vision beyond the capture of a frame. Larson, who taught traditional photography and darkroom
technique for many years, turns to the newer tools of digital photography and Photoshop to emphasize
the distinctive characteristics of ocean waves. This exhibition features photographs of subjects both
before and after manipulation to demonstrate the differences between the captured image and
Larson’s artistic vision. Drawing upon psychology’s concept of Selective Perception, he explains that
he manipulates his images of the ocean in order to “isolate[ ] certain Elements of Design, such as
Form, Color and Contour, and create[ ] a hybrid image of enhanced and virtual reality…In my
Hydrographics series, I have set out to visually illustrate aspects of the ocean’s water.”
Larson taught photography in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 30 years. His
photographs have been exhibited throughout the Southern California area, and his work has been
published in numerous outlets. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in psychology, a subject that influences much
of his work.
SHOW DATES: January 11 – February 22, 2014
RECEPTION: Saturday, January 11, 6 – 8 pm
GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm
dnj Gallery 2525 Michigan Avenue, suite J1, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 315-3551
Web site: http://www.dnjgallery.net
For additional information or images, please contact Cambra Sklarz at (310) 315-3551 or
By Jim McKinniss