Jeffrey Dell, Andrew Fillmore and Leah Mackin @ The Print Center

Andrew Fillmore, Bathroom Apples, 2015

Andrew Fillmore, Bathroom Apples, 2015

Jeffrey Dell: Sightings
Andrew Fillmore: This Time is Always the Present
Leah Mackin: Portable Document
May 6 – August 6, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 5, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday, May 5, 5:30pm

Jeffrey Dell: Sightings
The prints in Jeffrey Dell’s exhibition, which depict sheets of curled and folded paper, are deceptively simple. In his screenprints, colors shift and flux, challenging our perceptual abilities. “I am interested,” says Dell, “in how basic human desires cooperate with facilities of perception. I am trying to make an image that is seductive, but where the very thing that seduces us also deceives.”

Andrew Fillmore: This Time is Always the Present
The photographs in Andrew Fillmore’s exhibition are still lifes and portraits, all of which depict the objects and scenarios most immediate to his everyday life. Fillmore says he is concerned with “the idea that within the simplicity of these moments, a balance of fragments and associations might disclose the psychological threads of my experience in the present.”

Leah Mackin: Portable Document
Leah Mackin’s exhibition Portable Document is composed of images, based on digital photographs, of historical material available online. Mackin responds to the digital surrogate of the scrapbook, examining the handling of and relationship with archival materials as physical objects. In this show, work from Mackin’s ongoing investigation of materials, both physically and intellectually, include printed works on paper and sculpture that reflect on her interaction with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (the institution that holds The Print Center’s Archives).

The Print Center
1614 Latimer Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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SOPHIE DELAPORTE @ SOUS LES ETOILES GALLERY

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SOPHIE DELAPORTE: POSTMODERN MYSTERIES
MAY 12 – JUNE 11, 2016

OPENING RECEPTION WITH THE ARTIST
Thursday, May 12, 6-8pm

ARTIST TALK
Monday, May 16, 7pm

Since the early 90s, when the artist would begin her formative and longstanding collaborations with cutting-edge British magazine I-D, Sophie Delaporte has remained dedicated to the “play” of photography and fashion in its most straightforward definition, emphasizing fun, freedom and theatricality. Yet Delaporte’s lighthearted view of the worlds she creates, in which women and men appear to happily vacillate between childhood and adulthood, are anything but straightforward. This immediately recognizable style of Delaporte—highly pictorial, and often employing lush color and sparkling humor—promises such multifaceted readings, that any sequence of images can be arranged and disarranged to pleasing effect: a dinner scene, framed in front of darkening windows and spotted with silverware that reflects the impossibly bright wine set in glass goblets, could be at once a poetical, beautiful meditation on the power of the woman in red at the head of this table, and also a charged scene from a contemporary iteration of Ubu Roi. “The mysteries are decidely postmodern,” writes Vicki Goldberg, “consisting of inexplicable actions, they involve no crime and have no solution other than anyone’s guess.” With an ever-refreshing perspective, along with the mastery of pretended improvisation and movement in a tightly controlled studio setting, Delaporte positions her work in the realm of surrealism, promising nothing but the surprise and delight of the imagination.

SOUS LES ETOILES GALLERY
560 Broadway #603
New York City, NY 10012

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Jane Hilton @ Eleven

Target A, 2016

Target A, 2016

Jane Hilton: L.A. Gun Club
13th May to 18th June

Eleven
11 Eccleston Street
London SW1W 9LX
England

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Mark Lyon @ Elizabeth Houston Gallery

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Mark Lyon: Bay Views
May 4 – June 12, 2016

In his new series, Bay Views, Mark Lyon reveals unexpected beauty in the most unusual setting: the American car wash. Sixteen urban locations in different stages of function are captured with existing unaltered light at night. Lyon considered each image for days and sometimes years to capture each setting at exactly the right moment, day and season without a person in sight. This thoughtful approach
to photographing this series in the decisive moment creates distinctive images in contrast to our current world, which is saturated with spontaneous imagery.

Elizabeth Houston Gallery
34 E. 1st Street
New York, NY 10003

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Daniel Coburn & Megan Ledbetter @ Silver Eye Center for Photography

Image: Daniel Coburn

Image: Daniel Coburn

The Hereditary Estate: Daniel Coburn + Homo Bulla: Megan Ledbetter
May 27 – July 30, 2016

Opening Reception: Friday, May 27, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Daniel Coburn’s solo exhibition The Hereditary Estate explores the dark undercurrent of the artist’s family history through a series of lyrical and mysterious photographs. These images are deeply personal, yet moving and accessible. As a young adult, Coburn discovered a family history full of tragic events involving suicide, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Disturbed when he realized that a lot of family members and events had been erased from his family album, Coburn set out to rewrite the family narrative through a series of photographs that he made, collected, and manipulated. The resulting images mingle his family in parables of love, respect, and quiet tragedy with a now tangible display of new memories acquired during his journey to adulthood.

Megan Ledbetter’s solo exhibition Homo Bulla is a study of surfaces and life cycles in the American South. The title, which translates to “man is a bubble,” refers to the fragile, beautiful, and temporary nature of human existence. Her images offer a representation of ideas and feelings as accounted for in the surfaces of things, breaking through the surface to a cellular level, or in the character of the gesture of the surface. Responding to the contrast between the love of life and the sentiment of death and the fragility of the body, Ledbetter’s images contemplate the structure of surface, light, and the ephemeral and the deep sentiment for which all of these associate.

Silver Eye Center for Photography
1015 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

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Photo Independent @ Raleigh Studios April 29-May 1

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For more info: http://photoindependent.com/

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Book Review: Changing Circumstances Looking at the Future of the Planet

When leafing through this tome and trying to make up my mind which photos to choose to illustrate my review, I settled for photos by Edward Burtynsky (an oil spill), Robert Harding Pittman (an anonymous row of houses), and Gina Glover (volcanic craters), only to find out that all three were not in the selection FotoFest permitted the publisher to use. I mention this in order to hopefully arouse your curiosity for the work of these photographers.

There is however another photograph by Gina Glover that I’m permitted to show. Here it is:

Gina Glover: The Titan Crane, Hotellneset Cool Harbour. Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Nowrway 2012

Gina Glover: The Titan Crane, Hotellneset Cool Harbour. Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Nowrway 2012

To me, this Titan Crane looks akin to a spaceship ramp and the mountain tops in the background contribute to the impression that something beyond our familiar world is looming somewhere out there. Although it is an apt illustration of the subtitle of this tome: “Looking at the Future of the Planet,” it also seems to suggest that the future is, well, not on this planet.

Needless to say, it is a true challenge to put “changing circumstances“ into pictures. How do you photograph change? By, I would think, juxtaposing the old and the new. This is however not what this book is all about. Take the work of Susan Derges, for instance. “Looking into the natural world feels like looking into one vast, unfolding, creative process that ‘I’ and ‘nature’ are a part of together, rather than a process where nature is something ‘out there’ happening to me ‘in here’.” While I do agree that ‘I’ and ‘nature’ are a part of together, I do not think that we can see that when looking into the natural world. Well, let’s not split hairs for Susan Derges’ objective is “to make the connection between the ‘two’ (or, you could say, the ‘not two’) …” and I do find this a fascinating task. Here’s how she went about it: “So I tried to make a closer, more tactile contact with the photographic activities, such as immersing the photo paper beneath the water’s surface at night or within the stuff of the landscape, and the exposing it to light.“ The pics she took are stunning.

Susan Derges: Star Field – Bracken, 2008

Susan Derges: Star Field – Bracken, 2008

Some of my favourite pics in this tome are by Pedro David. He chose to photograph eucalyptus trees in order to make the viewers aware of “the deforestation of the Cerrado in central Brazil, the Brazilian Savanna, the Atlantic Forrest, and even the Amazon.“ But why show seemingly intact trees to show deforestation? Well, what we get to see is transgenic eucalyptus, planted by international steel companies, “ a fast growing kind of tree whose wood is used to make vegetal coal, an important ingredient in the smelting of iron ore to steel.“

Pedro David: Suffocation #12, 2012-2014

Pedro David: Suffocation #12, 2012-2014

The photographs show – amidst the eucalyptus trees – what is left of a still alive native tree that is disappearing from these landscapes.

There are many more photographers represented in this volume and their approaches vary considerably. From Meridel Rubenstein’s volcano cycle to David Doubilet’s living reef, from Isaac Julien small boats to Vik Muniz’ garbage to Mandy Barker’s plastic debris. And much more.

“Given the significance of personal connection“, writes co-founder and curator Wendy Watriss, “it is important to think about how few people today have anything but the most minimal contact with the natural world.“ Photography might help you change that, as Gina Glover impressively testifies: “Photographing the Icelandic landscape provided me with an emotional connection to nature. Its wild empty places gave me a sense of personal vulnerability, but also made me conscious of the vulnerability of the environment itself.“

Changing Circumstances Cover
Changing Circumstances
Looking at the Future of the Planet
Curated an conceived by Wendy Watriss, Steven Evans and Frederick Baldwin
Essays by Wendy Watriss, Thomas E. Lovejoy and Geof Rayner
FotoFest International, Houston, Texas, USA
Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam, NL

For more information and to purchase the book: www.schiltpublishing.com/publishing/all-authors/item/cat/photobooks/name/fotofest-international/#prodrel-603

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Axel Heller @ Fotogalerie Friedrichshain

Sch_ferfest_in_Botiza_c_Axel_Heller_Lehmstedt_VerlAxel Heller “Maramureş”
12 May to 24 June 2016

“Axel Heller’s images honestly portray the full range of nature and community life over a ten year period of time. His work goes well beyond romanticizing the countryside, or idyllically presenting a culture that ‘time has forgotten’. While Heller’s images are often raw and stark, they are never devoid of compassion and understanding. Heller’s work, moreover, not only captures the traditional way of life of the region but, the incipient encroachment of modernity into the fabric of the community. Heller’s project, consequently, is a powerful statement allowing the viewer not only to closely examine a way of life which has existed for centuries but also consider the contradictions, tensions and changes that challenge that community as it grapples with modernity.”

Fotogalerie Friedrichshain
Helsingforser Platz 1
10243 Berlin

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KATHY RYAN @ Howard Greenberg Gallery

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KATHY RYAN: OFFICE ROMANCE
May 5 – June 19, 2016

In the words of architect Renzo Piano, his New York Times building was “all about the light, and the vibration of light and shadow.” Working on the 6th floor of the building, Ryan admired how the light of New York City would stream in from the large clear glass windows and cast spectacular architectural shadows from the unusual ceramic rods that encase the building. In the fall of 2012, Kathy Ryan saw a zigzag of light on a staircase and grabbed her iPhone to take a picture. From then on, she was hooked. On a regular basis, she comes in early or stays late or returns on weekends to capture the luminous quality of the light. Among her favorite spots are an eastside corner on the 6th floor in the mornings and the west side of the building on the 15th floor at sunset.

Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York.

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Book Review: Mile O’Mud by Malcolm Lightner

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At the heart of Mile O’Mud is the thrilling sport of swamp buggy racing. For the uninitiated, swamp buggy racing consists of custom buggies that are part boat and part love-child of NASCAR and high octane drag racing. The buggies and their driver/pilot tear through swampy, muddy terrain that is more like the lake in the center of Daytona International Speedway than the track surrounding it. And much like the famed rowdy crowds who inhabit the infield of NASCAR races, swamp buggy fans do not disappoint.

Fans pile meat in baking pans, cans of Budweiser in boxes, and stack themselves in bleachers, truck beds, and on top of homemade platforms to cheer for the Swamp Buggy Queen and pray for drivers’ quick recoveries when the track proves too treacherous, because the drivers literally risk life and limb.

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Malcolm Lightner grew up down the street from the original “Mile O’ Mud” swamp buggy track off of Radio Road in Collier County, Florida. His own family has roots in the beginning of swamp buggy racing. Lightner’s great-uncle R.L. Walker was one of the first swamp-buggy drivers back in the late 1940s and 50s. Lightner, after getting college degrees, including his MFA, moved to New York in 1999, and he returned at least once a year to the Florida Sports Park from 2002 to 2013 to document the races — missing only 2005 due to a hurricane forced cancellation.

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Lightner’s images include portraits of the racers, the fans, the vehicles both on and off the track, as well as traditional events of the sport — including the crowning and subsequent dunking of the Swamp Buggy Queen. There is the thrill of speed and danger at the races, and a palpable rush of energy. “On my first visit to the track, I drove into the parking lot, heard the engines of the buggies roar, and witnessed the great plumes of water trailing behind the boat-dragster hybrids,” Lightner says. “I could feel the vibrations from the raw horsepower pound against my chest, and it almost took my breath away. I thought to myself, ‘this is going to be fun!’”

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Lightner’s superb images of this sport and frank depiction of its culture make me feel much the same. I was drawn into the world he has photographed, felt like a voyeur at some southern bacchanalia, and ultimately I wanted to start over at the beginning of the book and view it again. And again.

In addition to the excitement and thrills, Lightner also says “I’ve come to understand Swamp Buggy Racing as a metaphor for life’s daily struggles and the innate drive to overcome obstacles against great odds while trying to maintain a sense of humor and grace. The races demonstrated to me the all-American desire to compete to win, as well as the power of family and community.”

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This book documents the people and the culture Lightner is from, but of course this is more than an immersive documentary project. He has shown us his own clan, and paid homage to his family and community. Many of us yearn to escape the world we grew up in, to prove to ourselves and the world that we are greater than small beginnings. Yet for many people, their roots call them back. ‘Mile O’Mud’ not only called Lightner back, but it brought along a cooler of beer, some good tunes, and the thrill of the sport that helped shape him.


MALCOLM LIGHTNER is a photographer who works and resides in New York. Born in 1969 in Naples, Florida, he is a fourth generation native Floridian. Malcolm has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants and his work has been featured in a range of exhibitions including Art + Commerce Emerging Photographers and NYPH (New York Photo Festival). Malcolm’s photography is included in the permanent photography collections at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida. His work has appeared in Dear Dave, The Oxford American, VICE, Aint-Bad and Life among other publications. Malcolm is a member of the photography faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2002.

All images are from Mile O’ Mud by Malcolm Lightner, published by powerHouse Books., and used by permission.

9781576877944

Mile O’ Mud: The Culture of Swamp Buggy Racing
By Malcolm Lightner, Introduction by Padgett Powell
Hardcover, 12–1/2 x 11–7/8 inches, 144 pages
ISBN: 978–1–57687–794–4

For more information about Malcolm Lightner, please see his website: http://www.malcolmlightner.com/

To purchase the book, visit powerHouse Books here

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