JTF (just the facts): A total of 19 color photographs, framed in white and unmatted, and hung against white walls in the two room divided gallery space. Aside from one fujiflex print, all of the works are unique cibachrome prints made between 2004 and 2012. 12 of the works are from the Tetrarch series and are each sized 60×40 (or reverse). The rest of the works are sized either 19×15 or 38×29. The show also includes a small sample of Bucklow’s paintings and watercolors, shown in a side room. (Installation shots at right.)
Comments/Context: Christopher Bucklow’s second show at Danziger Gallery combines a large selection of his now well-known radiant silhouettes with a new group of abstract works that leverage the same underlying technique but abandon the human form as a subject. It gives us a plentiful dose of what we already know and like, while also offering some new extensions to his signature aesthetic.
Bucklow has been making images in his Tetrarch series for the better part of a decade at this point, so there isn’t much to say about these works (and their process) that hasn’t already been said. To my eye, a few of the details have gotten a bit crisper in this bunch, with the curve of a breast or a wisp of hair providing a stronger sense of femininity. Pairs of figures have also been explored in more depth, with embracing male and female forms doubling the light output where they overlap. Tight hugs become largely indistinguishable blobs, while looser connections work like the intersection of a Venn diagram. In general, the best of these works remain graceful and elegant, glowing in fields of diffused color.
The other works on view take us down a decidedly different path. In these images, Bucklow’s pinhole sunlight photogram technique becomes something more akin to the visual effect of a Lite Brite toy or an ancient green screen computer monitor (albeit in different colors). Delicate lines of abstract geometric patterns cover the surface, their rigid repeating forms shining like bright Islamic window screen arabesques. In a few cases, the intricate pattern begins to break down, allowing jagged lines to unravel down the page like loose threads of otherworldly technology or glitched code running amok. These forms seem strangely alive, thin tentacles of lines extending beyond the edges of the frame.
I think these new pictures open up some artistic doors for Bucklow, allowing him to draw with light in unexpected and original ways. As much as the ghostly silhouettes continue to be lovely (and saleable I imagine), it’s probably time to move on and follow this new path wherever it might lead.
Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced as follows. The prints from the Tetrarch series are priced at either $19000 or $21000 (up from $15000 in Bucklow’s 2010 show). The 19×15 works are $8000 each and the 38×29 work is $12000. Bucklow’s prints are intermittently available in the secondary markets, with prices generally ranging between $5000 and $14000.