One of the characteristics of photographs that I am drawn to and remain excited about is their ability to present something familiar/recognizable and transform it into something that feels like it is being seen for the first time.
Zeit Contemporary Art is pleased to present “Bryson Rand: The Floating Bridge,” a selection of photographs from 2014 to 2016. This online exhibition takes its title from the book Chasing Horses by Yukio Mishima, from a passage where a man is about to die and recites a poem about crossing from the living world into heaven by a floating bridge. The thread of this selection of photographs is the attempt to access a world that is out of reach and give it visual form: “I don't know if I think of this other realm as 'Heaven' or even a place necessarily. I think of it more as energy,” the artist declares. Bryson Rand uses the histories of gay people over the last 50 years as a working material because of the undeniable mark they have left in his identity. Nevertheless, “it feels almost impossible to put my understanding (or lack thereof) into words. But by making photographs with other gay men, and in spaces that hold an important place in my personal history and those of the broader gay communities, I can get close to describing this other realm.”
Sexuality and desire are at the forefront of the work of Bryson Rand. His photographs are testimonies of the complex experiences of self-acceptance, repression, guilt, desire, shame, violence, love, and empowerment. These haunting images portray queer spaces such as nightclubs and gatherings in private apartments in New York City and Los Angeles. Violence and intolerance are confronted with eroticism and an active gaze towards the beauty of nature and the male body. The power of photography to evoke memory and create community is also at the core of his project. “Just the act of making these pictures and showing something that tends to be ignored or hidden is a powerful political statement,” the photographer states.
Bryson Rand was born in 1982 in Phoenix, Arizona. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at the University of Colorado Boulder, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and at the Yale School of Art, where he received an MFA in 2015. His most recent exhibitions include the solo show Some Small Fever, La Mama La Galleria, New York (2017), and group exhibitions such as theirs/ours/yours, Revival Arthouse Theater, Brooklyn, NY (2017), Backyard Biennial, Ground Floor, Queens, NY (2017), Discursive Selves, Westbeth Gallery, New York (2017), Picturing Family, Green Hall Gallery, Yale School of Art, New Haven (2017), Queering Space, Green Hall Gallery, Yale School of Art, New Haven (2016), Treading Water, TGIF Gallery, Brooklyn (2016), Tomorrow’s Man: Curated by Jack Pierson, Sheppard Contemporary, University Nevada, Reno (2016), LOVE 2016, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York (2016), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: Curated by Katy Grannan, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (2015). His most recent publication, Waters, is a photobook published by Dashwood Zines in 2017. Collections include Bill Arning, Houston, TX and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, NY.