Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition featuring works by Harry Callahan, Germaine Krull, Shinichi Maruyama, Barbara Morgan, Sigmar Polke, Man Ray, Aaron Siskind, Keith A. Smith, Frederick Sommer, Brea Souders, Penelope Umbrico, Edward Weston, Joel-Peter Witkin, and John Wood.
By bringing this eclectic mix of artists together, the exhibition examines photographic practices that extend beyond the boundaries of the medium. Engaging in a dialogue between photography, mark making, and drawing, these artists reveal their curiosity and experimentation through multi-faceted practices.
Shinichi Maruyama, Barbara Morgan, Aaron Siskind, and John Wood all utilize time as an unseen character and force in the works presented here. Siskind and Wood captured beach still lifes that were ultimately washed away. The photographs were the only surviving evidence of poetic seaweed abstractions that approximated cursive script, and playful, geometric sand drawings. Similarly, Morgan photographed gestural and ephemeral patterns of light in motion, which she described as having “vibratory character… and spiritual energy”. Performance and action made permanent through photography are embodied in Maruyama’s Kusho series. This self-portrait by Maruyama depicts the artist in a moment of pure creation, and expresses the transient ethos of both the dark ink and the body of work as a whole. Art in actions can also be experienced with Keith A. Smith’s Book Number 91: A String Book. The work comes to life as the viewer turns the pages, pulling various strings taught and then relaxed to create both simple and intricate hybrid drawings and sculptures.
The direct use of the artists’ hand is integral to the pieces by Sigmar Polke, Frederick Sommer, Brea Souders, and Joel-Peter Witkin. Polke and Souders investigate painting with photographic emulsion, which elicits pooling watercolor-like results. The element of chance is fully present in these works, yet balanced by the precision of treating the darkroom like a chemist’s lab. Sommer and Witkin took to physically manipulating paper and photographing those sculptural outcomes and using the cutouts as collage materials, respectively. Their images are deeply textured explorations of form translated to two-dimensional representation. The exhibition evaluates the evolution of photography and the inclusion of alternate processes in the creation of dynamic art objects born out of multi-disciplinary practices.