JTF (just the facts): A total of 7 color and black and white photographs, framed in white and unmatted, and hung against white walls in the small, single room gallery space. All of the works are digital prints on glass mirror, made in 2014. The works are sized either 45×28 and 20×12 (there are 5 large and 2 small prints on display) and all of the works are unique. (Installation shots below.)
Comments/Context: As digital printing technologies have become increasingly flexible in recent years, it has become even more possible to print photographic imagery on nearly any imaginable substrate or surface. Contemporary artists have been quick to take up the challenge, boldly experimenting with everything from molded plastics and perforated mesh to plywood and fabric, exploring the textures and sculptural qualities that these materials can add to photography. Goldschmied & Chiari’s new works continue this trend, layering photographic imagery on top of glass mirrors, bringing reflectivity into their visual toolbox. With a nod to Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror paintings, they are inviting the gallery space inside the frame of the photograph, allowing the viewer to participate in the construction of the shifting hybrid images.
The works begin with documentation of performative smoke bomb explosions, where dissipating billows of colored smoke (pink and grey in this case) are captured wafting through air of their studio. While the ethereal nature of clouds and smoke has long been a favorite subject for many photographers, Goldschmied & Chiari have taken these ideas in a different direction, adding in gestural software-based erasures that further break down the representational effect of the pictures. When placed on the mirrored substrate, these removed areas show through as clean reflection, creating the illusory effect of the smoke clearing.
What emerges from the shifting reflective surface of the mirror is an elegant intermingled reality, where the physical space of the gallery is suddenly activated by amorphous tendrils of color. The twists, bumps, and whorls of the works embrace whatever passes before them, alternately obscuring and highlighting the new additions; movement creates changes in all the works at once, areas of light and dark giving the smoke new personality. It’s as if the viewer has become part of the performance (or passed through the portal or down the rabbit hole), and this visual magic is what gives the works their vitality.
While the obvious “selfie in the smoke” effect feels a bit gimmicky (see the last installation shot), the best of these works has a kind of contagious energy; the pictures are never at rest, continuously providing a flash of combination. What starts out as irritating distraction ultimately becomes the central point of interest, the delicately swarming smoky illusion always offering a new transitional mystery.
Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced as follows. The 45×28 works are $5500 each, while the 20×12 works are $2300 each. Goldschmied & Chiari’s works have not yet become readily available in the secondary markets, so gallery retail remains the best option for those collectors interested in following up.