Gary Schneider, HandPrint Portraits, Johannesburg @Krut

JTF (just the facts): A total of 14 hand print photograms, either unframed and pinned directly to the wall or framed in black and unmatted, and hung in the main gallery space, the viewing alcove and the office area. The works are available in two sizes: 50×40 pigmented ink prints on canvas, in editions of 5, and 10×8 pigmented ink prints on paper, in editions of 7. There are 10 images in the large size and 4 images in the small size on display. All of the works were made in 2011. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: South African photographer Gary Schneider’s recent hand print portraits are original examples of that elemental human urge to self-identify found in everything from the caves of Lascaux to a child’s pre-school finger paintings. His images connect to a long tradition of scientific and medical photography, where x-rays and photograms have been used extensively in investigating, categorizing, and documenting life forms of all kinds, and bridge into the artistic realm via reconsiderations of process, scale, and subject matter.

Made by the simple gesture of a single left hand placed on light sensitive paper, Schneider’s portraits sparkle and glow as though lit from within. Areas of heat and sweat become ghostly auras of soft yellow and orange, and detailed fingerprints and skin undulations are transformed into whorls of bright lines and pinpricks of light. Enlarged to monumental size, the hands of various members of the South African artistic community are transformed into symbols of mysterious individuality, emitting a kind of throbbing electric power. The smaller sized prints have an entirely different feel; they seem intimate and expressive, the private touch of the artist as a singular personal gift. From Kentridge and Ballen to Goldblatt and Subotzky, individuality is captured in shimmering luminescence.

Collector’s POV: The works in the exhibit are available in two sizes: the 50×40 prints are $11000 and the 10×8 prints are $3500. Schneider’s works have very little secondary market history, so gallery retail is likely the best option for interested collectors at this point.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • Artist site (here)
  • Review: New Yorker (here)
Through October 22nd
526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

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Read more about: Gary Schneider, David Krut Projects

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