Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Multi Panel, an exhibition on view March 27 through May 29, 2014. Featuring works by Vito Acconci, Richard Benson, Harry Callahan, William Christenberry, Chuck Close, Robert Cumming, Robert Frank, Emmet Gowin, Paul Graham, Robert Heinecken, Peter Hujar, Michal Rovner, Lucas Samaras, Kiki Smith, Hiroshi Sugimoto, JoAnn Verburg, Andy Warhol and William Wegman, the show explores the myriad ways artists have embraced and employed multi-part, serial, and sequential imagery throughout 20th- and 21st-century photography. A public opening will be held on Thursday, March 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The practice of pictorial storytelling pervades the history of art. From the earliest cave paintings, to Egyptian hieroglyphic friezes, Greek vases, and polyptychs above altars in churches and cathedrals, narratives have been continuously constructed through the juxtaposition and combination of images. When translated to photography – a medium of multiples by nature – this tradition takes on new and unexpected forms.
Simple in subject but structurally inventive, Paul Graham’s New Orleans, 2004 from the series a shimmer of possibility is a visual vignette of a moment in everyday life. Choosing not to confine the narrative to a single frame, Graham depicts a scene of a woman eating takeout from multiple points of view to create what he aptly refers to as a “filmic haiku.” Contrary to this approach, Harry Callahan presents three images taken from the exact same position in Highland Park, Michigan, 1941. Without a clear order or linear progression, the pictures explore the concepts of time and change in their slight variations, rather than attempting to tell a story. The notion of narrative is also deconstructed in Eve in the Pomegranates, 2001, as Kiki Smith calls upon viewers to assimilate composite imagery to reveal the work's mythic allusion.
In certain works on view, sequential imagery serves as a mode of record and study. Rubbing Piece, 1970, for example, documents the progression of an hour-long live performance in which Vito Acconci develops a self-inflicted sore on his forearm, while Peter Hujar's Nude Self-Portrait Series, 1966 captures the rhythmic energy of the artist dancing in four frames. In Red Building in Forest, 1974-2004, William Christenberry chronicles the physical transformation of a single building in his native Hale County, Alabama over the course of 30 years and 20 images, and Hiroshi Sugimoto depicts the same body of water at three different times of day in Tyrrhenian Sea, Mount Polo, 1993.
Other artists explore multi-part pictures through varied approaches: Emmet Gowin and Lucas Samaras employ indexical methods and gridded compositions to compile a comprehensive catalogue of South American insects and an unconventional album of manipulated self-portraits. William Wegman's Man Ray on Stilts, 1975 is an exercise in conceptual thought and perceptual play, and Robert Heinecken reassembles cut photographs of the human form to create the shape of a flower in Figure/Flower, 1968.
All images: "Multi Panel", Installation views, Pace/MacGill Gallery
Monday - Thursday from 9:30am to 5:30pm
Friday from 9.30am to 4:00pm