Beyond Fashion: Woman in Landscape
11 May — 30 Jun 2017 at the Deborah Bell Photographs in New York, United States
Deborah Bell Photographs is pleased to present a group exhibition of photographs based on a theme long favored in art: woman in the landscape. Inspired by the progressive photographs made by James Moore, Gösta Peterson, William Silano, and Deborah Turbeville for the editorial pages of leading fashion magazines in the 1960s and 1970s, this exhibition features prints by those photographers, and by Susan Paulsen and Marcia Resnick, and incorporates selected photographs by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Harry Callahan, Louis Faurer, and Lee Friedlander. We are also delighted to include 19th century prints by Roger Fenton, Charles Nègre, Sydney Richard Percy, and Nevil Story-Maskelyne, antecedents whose photographs, made more than a century earlier, convey early explorations of this traditional genre.
Deborah Turbeville has been hailed for her iconoclastic fashion photographs of the 1970s and 1980s, elaborate tableaux that depict brooding, introspective models wearing haute-couture clothing. Posed in desolate settings, Turbeville's beings seem to wander in barren landscapes, and to languish in deserted interiors. Although refreshingly subversive, and a radical departure from fashion photographs composed on a backdrop in the studio, her pictures were shocking to many readers when they first appeared in the pages of Vogue in 1975. The photographs on exhibit by James Moore and William Silano, both of whom worked for Harper's Bazaar in the 1960s and 1970s, may be new to many viewers. James Moore, a former assistant to Richard Avedon, became a regular contributor to the Bazaar in 1962. Moore often showed models roving through an open, sweeping landscape, as if they were discovering a new frontier. Like Turbeville, Moore acknowledged the influence of the new European films of the 1960s and 1970s, especially those by Bernardo Bertolucci and Michelangelo Antonioni.
Photographs by William Silano, who began working for Harper's Bazaar in 1966, will be on view for the first time in a Manhattan gallery. In Silano's pictures, women appear to reign in surrealistic landscapes, rendered even more dramatic through his wide-angle lens, worm's-eye vistas, and bold, saturated color.
Gösta Peterson, whose photographs appeared throughout the 1960s and 1970s in Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, The New York Times Magazine, and other major publications, began as a fashion illustrator when he moved to New York from his native Sweden. Deborah Turbeville often cited Peterson as a mentor, and as a profound influence on her decision to become a photographer. Peterson's famous ads for Henri Bendel, the legendary New York boutique, appeared in The New York Times almost every Sunday from 1978 to 1986.
Arbus, Friedlander and Faurer were contemporaries who also photographed on assignment for, or contributed to, Harper's Bazaar and other magazines, but they, along with Callahan and Adams, signal the emergence of the photographer as an artist in the 1960s and 1970s. Their pictures, whether made for hire or as art-for-art's sake, were devoted to a myriad of aspects of daily life in the (usually urban and social) landscape. On view are Callahan's studies of his wife Eleanor and their daughter Barbara; and a selection from Friedander's "Little Screens" series. Later in the 1970s, conceptual approaches to photography were explored by artists such Marcia Resnick. An image from her 1974 series, See, depicting a woman facing the landscape of her apartment complex, is included in this exhibition.