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June 2010, American ReConstruction @ Winkleman Gallery


Jeremy Kost, I Caught Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Rainblo), 2010
Polaroid collage, 25" x 50" (63.5 x 127cm) (framed)
Courtesy of the artist and Winkleman Gallery

 


American ReConstruction: an exhibition of new photography
Organized by Michael Hoeh
Winkleman Gallery
621 West 27th Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10001
May 7 through June 12, 2010
 

American ReConstruction: an exhibition of new photography claims to be the reincarnation of a destroyed media. This is not to say that the current swell in photography has been preceded by a trough. The medium, however, has been mutated by way of media, advertisements, and instantaneous access to snapshots old and new. It is no longer reliant on the mechanical: the click of a shutter and tinkering of a lens. Photography has evolved beyond the act itself. It acknowledges the psychology of our reality while serving as a second pair of eyes, even a devil’s advocate in many cases. It documents the ebb and flow, revamped by the intricacies of process and technology, purveying complications and triumphs of our modern livelihood.

Flanking the entrance portal, Cara Phillips’ beauty-obsessed images are arresting in their sterilization. The two images from her Ultraviolet Beauties series are shiny, glamorous and anonymous. Despite the revealing power of an ultraviolet bulb these portraits of serialized damsels lack emotion and conceal character. Both eyes are fastened like bolted shutters of an abandoned building, presenting facial impurities as focal points in black and white. Access to the soul and the manipulative connection of portraiture’s intensified glare is denied in exchange for attention to stylistic detail and proportion. Evading introspection, they exist behind the fourth wall outside of the viewer’s reality. Two images from her Singular Beauty series peek into the lair of cosmetic surgery. For those that need or want a procedure, the consultation chairs provide sanctuary, reassurance: a physical change that will improve life. Each chair mocks its patient and contends with their desire for idealized ‘perfection.’ White Consultation Chair, Upper East Side (2006) summons Aphrodite amid a pristine Grecian temple. Phillips summons psychosomatic negative space in the emptiness of physical beauty.

Jeremy Kost collages Polaroids, splintered by jerking disregard for perspectival continuity, to ground the notorious outlandishness of New York’s club kids and drag queens. Marsha, Marsha Monster Mellow That Is… (2010) portrays Marsha Monster Mellow, a Pittsburgh personality, perched upon a utility kitchen sink. The white frames of the Polaroids cut and expand upon bleached details, warping Marsha into a prismatic motley crew of emotion and angles. I Caught Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Rainblo) (2010) zooms in and out of a trailer park scene, splicing the details. Kost’s experimentation with depth, angles, and quantities of flash reinforces a style of Cubism based in reality, a disjointed yet cohesive standpoint of entire environments. Serving to give us every angle of overstated glamour, the extroverted characters jump from the wall while being mangled by skewed morsels of detail. Kost’s images are otherworldly, pulsating with a scrambled intensity that formulates and contorts reality.

Curtis Mann’s Foldings series develops from online images of Golan Heights, the contested land between Syria and Israel. Golan Heights has been contested as a prime fresh water source and strategic militaristic location since the time of King Herod. The barren plateau is a quarrel-magnet; it’s so good, it’s thorny. Sequentially applying and folding household bleach into the images produces tactile ripples of pigment on the periphery combined with internal spotty coloration, flaming neon yellows, acidic fuschias, and burnt reds. The resulting photos are reminiscent of the Rorschach test, grasping onto reality despite the obscurity of the blotched world that yearns to trigger memory. Mann’s scenic tours of Golan Heights are surrounded by extraneous unpredictability, speckled bleach reactions that hinder the specific, globular amoeba of reality residing where black would on the Rorschach. The photographs, however, portray a passive landscape interspersed with peaks and tumbleweeds and no mention of discord. Mann challenges the perspectival symmetry within the grander scheme, provoking a concentrated reflection of faded details. The photo is neutralized in Mann’s disconnection from it, allowing the viewer to deduce the scenario from blanched minutiae. Photography has been invigorated by contemporary freedoms of practice, no longer constrained to documentation or pure obscurity. The media and medium relate to our own transmutations, adjusting with new technologies and the desire to evoke a sense of individualized reality despite complications.

 

 

Left: Curtis Mann, Foldings (guided tour, Golan Heights #3), 2010
Synthetic polymer on bleached choromogenic print, 19" x 23", 48cm x 58 cm, framed
Courtesy of the artist and Winkleman Gallery

Right: Cara Phillips, White Consultation Chair, Upper East Side, 2006
Digital- C Print, mounted on cintra, 30" x 38" (76 x 97 cm) Edition of 5 + 1 AP
Courtesy of the artist and Winkleman Gallery

Lynn Maliszewski

Lynn Maliszewski is a freelance writer and aspiring curator/collector residing in New York City. She can be reached at l.malizoo@gmail.com


PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Norman (
www.benjaminnorman.com)

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