JTF (just the facts): A group show containing a total of 13 works by 4 artists/photographers, variously framed, and hung in the main gallery space and the smaller back room. (Installation shots at right.)
The following artists/photographers are included in the show, with the number of works on display and image details listed after the names. No edition information was available on the checklist.
- Andrea Longacre-White: 3 archival inkjet prints, framed in white and unmatted, each 36×26, from 2012
- Travess Smalley: 3 digital c-prints, framed in white and unmatted, each 40×30
- Kate Steciw: 3 c-prints with mixed media and plexiglas, framed in oak and unmatted, each 40×30, from 2012; 1 sculpture (customized metal), 2012
- Artie Vierkant: 1 six-pass UV print on Sintra, unframed, 54×16, from 2012; 1 sculpture (IKEA Vilgot, IKEA Dignitet, screws), from 2012; 1 sculpture (IKEA Grundtal, North Face Etip gloves), from 2012
Comments/Context: We tend to hear the phrase “on trend” when it’s used to judge the ins and outs of the seasonal variations in the fashion industry, but the truth is, we could just as easily apply it to the patterns and groupings found at the emerging edge of the art world. In our contemporary photography subculture, we might say that digital aesthetics are on trend this year, or process centrism, or the exploration of photography as archive. One cluster of activity that is undeniably on trend for 2012 is the continued objectification of photography. This well-edited show contains plenty of fresh examples of work from this burgeoning genre, where artists are leveraging layers of construction steps into finished works that play with three dimensionality.
Andrea Longacre-White’s images are complex and interlocked, using meticulous stratified rephotography to build up textural monochrome abstractions (installation shot at right, top). Her works contain areas that alternate between the crisply sharp and the softly blurred or pixelated, paper layers ripped and cut into angular lines and geometric forms again and again, covering the narrow spectrum from black to white. I was impressed by both the conceptual sharpness and the elegant balance of these works, and I liked the small digital cursors that popped up in expected locations, confusing my ability to unpack the overall temporal order.
At first glance, Travis Smalley’s all-over abstract works look like colorful swirled finger paints, but as you move in closer, they begin to have an unexpectedly undulating texture. This is when you realize that things are not as they seem. The works were made by putting modeling clay on the glass bed of a scanner, and the resulting flat images document the squishiness of the clay and the artist’s left over smears and fingerprints (installation shot at right, second from top). It’s a new twist on intermediated process, offering unexpected avenues for exploring fluid abstraction.
Kate Steciw’s works are unabashedly digitally manipulated, taking garish stock photos in blazing lurid colors and bending and chopping them into busy angles and smooth curves, almost like marbled Italian papers, albeit with a harsh dizzying brightness (installation shot at right, second from bottom). Her images are then adorned with lines of colored tape, pink sponges, carpet remnants, silvery stickers, and chrome car parts stuck right on prints and frames, bringing them into the realm of collage or combine and adding texture and depth to her brash, knife-edged palette.
Finally, Artie Vierkant’s pastel gradient object has perhaps traveled the farthest from photography, forgoing any camera based imagery at all for a dive into software (installation shot at right, bottom). This work is clean and machined to perfection, almost like a blurred Bauhaus photogram, reinterpreted in a 21st century aesthetic.
Overall, this show is an insightful sampler of some of the recent approaches being used to reconsider contemporary photography in object form. All the works play with conversion and transformation, starting with one visual idea and rendering it in an altered form, where the reconstruction process modifies the original in innovative ways. While we’re clearly still in the first phase of this trend, the overall concept has certainly opened up some new, uncharted white space for photographers to investigate.
Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced as follows:
- Andrea Longacre-White: $2500 each
- Travess Smalley: $1700 each
- Kate Steciw: $3000 each for the prints, $1800 for the sculpture
- Artie Vierkant: $4500 for the print, $2400 and $1600 for the sculptures
None of these artists/photographers has much if any secondary market history, so at this point, gallery retail is likely the only option for interested collectors looking to follow up.