At Haines Gallery, Adou Samalada's Man & Sheep portrait was stunning. Deep blacks and the blotchy textures from the characteristics of expired film complemented his subject matter. The series depicts the disappearing Yi ethnic minority in his native Sichuan province in China. The silver gelatin print was enlarged to 50 inches high which I thought contributed to the image's arresting quality. Unfortunately, seeing in on screen does not give justice to the original piece.
September 10- October 17
From the gallery's press release:
Sugimoto’s “Lightning Fields” depict electricity, an element that — especially for photographers working with large-format negatives — has historically been problematic and uncontrollable. Static electricity is well known to scar photographers’ negatives, and consequently to destroy their images. (This is one reason why carpets are not installed in darkrooms.) Viewing the challenge as an opportunity rather than a problem, Sugimoto has inverted the process and made nature’s static scars the focus of his attention.
To create each image, Hiroshi Sugimoto uses a Van De Graaff 400,000-volt generator to apply an electrical charge directly onto film. The result in each case is a unique, instantaneous image of an electrical current, sometimes resembling a meteor shower, or a “treeing effect” on the film. Sugimoto’s recent body of photographs continue to evidence the primordial and metaphysical qualities that define his oeuvre.
September 10- October 31
Photography invites us to pay attention. It describes with economy, precision and detail. It enables us to stare, scrutinize, and become voyeurs. Taxidermy allows us to do the same. Its complete replication of an animal’s stance, gesture and look provides us a way to study and comprehend its existence. Yet I find that these animals, often portrayed in suspended animation, seem simultaneously strange, ghostly and beautiful. Their gaze is both familiar and unknown. I intend this work to move beyond what is merely seen to the territory of the imagination, where what is remembered and known is transformed into something new.
For this body of work, the original images are ambrotypes- a photographic image on blackened glass. It is created using the wet plate collodion process, which was popular in the mid nineteenth century. The use of archaic chemistry and materials usually depict a decayed, haunting and mysterious feel to the images which I am always drawn to. I viewed her work with much appreciation to the photographic process.
On the other side of the gallery were Michael Garlington's unconventional portraits. I read this review that described his work as "Joel Peter Witkin meets Diane Arbus." He uses the now extinct Type 55 Polaroid film creating a raw and unfinished quality to his final images. Clowns, animals, naked bodies. umbrellas and bowler hats-- nothing is too odd for Michael to tackle when it comes to his portraiture.
Michael Garlington: Garlington's Travels
September 10- October 31