Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of unique photographs by Christopher Russell. This exhibition is the artist’s first with the gallery and will coincide with the The Getty Center exhibition, Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography, featuring Russell.
Christopher Russell is best known for scratching drawings into his photographs in an expansive practice that intersects drawing, narrative fiction, photography and the raw materiality of the photographic substrate. He makes frequent nods to photographic tradition and processes, but executes his work in a manner that undermines the properties of photography’s illusionistic space.
Russell’s current body of work was photographed in the Columbia River Gorge where Carleton Watkins photographed the West with pristine vistas characteristic of the 19th century Romantic period. Using abstract approaches to the genre of landscape, Russell mixes interpretations of Watkins images by creating ambiguous vistas and landscapes indecipherable to locate in place or time. He manipulates the light before it enters the lens resulting in a hazy landscape he later manipulates through etching directly into the emulsion of the print and occasionally the glazing to create an artwork that is at once photograph, drawing and bas-relief.
“Aiming his camera skyward, Russell photographs into the network of tree branches overhead. The light flash shatters nature’s sheltering canopy with visual overtones of apocalypse. Next he folds, spindles and otherwise mutilates the pictures, then spray-paints blasts of white and scratches into the photographic surface (and sometimes the framing glass) with a blade. Sailing ships sink, wolves pace, jungle cats attack and flocks of birds scatter. Floral patterns proliferate like animated Victorian wallpaper. Nostalgia for the past bubbles with hints of determined regeneration in the future.” — Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times
Russell was born in Los Angeles in 1974 and received an MFA from the Art Center College of Design and a BFA from The California College of Arts and Crafts. He has exhibited at the Hammer Museum and selected group exhibitions include presentations at the The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Norton Simon Museum, Tokyo Institute of Photography, and the De Appel Arts Center in the Netherlands. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography amongst others.