Jeffrey Milstein LA NY
Eric Cahan Data Mining
July 9 – August 22, 2015
Milstein, long known for his images of planes in flight photographed from directly below, reverses the perspective in the current images, offering views of New York and Los Angeles taken from an altitude of 1,000 – 2,000 feet. The distance is far enough that the geometry of the urban streetscape, invisible from the ground, emerges into surprising, often elegant patterns, as in the Masonic-inspired layout of the Park La Brea housing development in Los Angeles, yet close enough that the scenes retain a human feeling, whether it’s the claustrophobia of tiny rectangular houses squeezed next to each other in virtually treeless grids. The images suggest that however chaotic or inscrutable modern life might appear, it is tied to age-old patterns that guide in ways we don’t immediately perceive, but which nevertheless guide us through our daily routines.
Eric Cahan’s Data Mining takes its name from marketing research techniques that measure web users’ browsing patterns when they view fine art content online. A museum-goer spends an average of thirty seconds in front of an individual work of art, whereas a browser on Instagram or Pinterest spends only eight. Images flow past the eye one after another, throwing into question long-held assumptions about the totemic nature of a work of art. Cahan mirrors this blurring process in his photographs, transforming solarized image of water through a combination of techniques both digital and traditional. The resulting images, luminescent yet opaque, are as seductive as carnival mirrors, yet ultimately reflect only the viewer’s gaze. Though representational, there silver swirls and bursts of color and shadow are so abstracted that they challenge our notion of what a photograph actually communicates: a view of an object removed in time and space, or nothing but the viewer’s assumptions about the image itself.
Benrubi Gallery | 521 West 26th Street | 2nd floor | New York | NY | 10001