A second installment of the 2007 summer exhibition Epilogues, Epilogues 2 features recent works by artists that exhibited at Robert Mann Gallery from 2007 to 2010: Holly Andres, Joe Deal, Elijah Gowin, Chip Hooper, and Michael Kenna. Produced following their respective solo exhibitions at the gallery, the inclusion of these five artists' work within a single space explores the visual relationships and dynamics between very distinct styles of contemporary photography.
Holly Andres continues to photograph subjects whose inquisitive gazes are transfixed out of frame, expanding the two-dimensional picture plane into a cinematic world with elusive narrative. Though similar in its brilliant color and staged composition to her previous series Sparrow Lane, this latest body of work, Anna's Birthday Party, abandons the sense of fantasy for a more pragmatic plotline and also marks the first time Andres includes adults in her photographs.
In Joe Deal's recent exhibition West & West: Reimagining the Great Plains — in which he surveys the expansive man-altered terrain of the titular region — Deal exhibited a photograph of a lava tube in Pecos Valley, New Mexico. This led to an expanded interest in the subterranean aspects of the Great Plains shown through images from his body of work Karst & Pseudokarst, wherein Deal continues to dichotomize the natural flux of the American landscape versus the manmade.
Continuing on his series Of Falling & Floating, Elijah Gowin creates poetic imagery by depicting his subjects in midair stasis — their fates unknown as they approach what is either above or below. The charged emotions instilled by this composition are again achieved through Gowin's meticulous method of hand-cutting and layering photographs — both found and authored — to create a collage. This re-appropriation of images is then scanned and reprinted, resulting in a paper negative with a grainy, distressed appearance that combines its enigmatic subject matter with an eerie sense of nostalgia.
Chip Hooper expands on his ongoing series of capturing the delicate intervention between light and water from different oceans and seas around the world. These meditative studies were most recently seen in his 2007 exhibition New Zealand's South Pacific & Tasman Sea. However, in recent years, Hooper revisited his earlier subject California's Pacific, adding new work to the series. These black-and-white prints, though quietly elegant in their refined, minimalist aesthetic, overwhelm in scale and technical aptitude.
After his pensive interpretation of the iconic city Venezia, Michael Kenna presents a photographic examination of sites including China, Egypt, Georgia, and again, Italy. Kenna's latest work retains his romanticized, tranquil approach, entrapping the viewer in a solitary experience within seemingly secluded landscapes.
The Wall Street Journal
July 31, 2010
This group show features recent work by five artists who had solo exhibitions at the galley from 2007 to 2010. The well-known landscape photographer Michael Kenna is represented by nine black-and-white pictures from Egypt, China, Georgia and Italy. "Huangshan Mountains, Study 1, Anhui, 2008" and "Study 6" put one in mind of classic Chinese drawings of the same mountains similarly shrouded in mist. The clear air in "Trinity of Guergueti, Study 2, Kazbegui, Georgia, 2008" shows how precariously the monastery is perched in the rugged Caucasus. Chip Hooper has three black-and-white shots of the California coast — one in fog; two as the sun sets in the west.
The tableau vivant is revived in Holly Andres's staged pictures of "Anna's Birthday Party, 2009," a picnic with watermelon, cake, and a station wagon whose engine overheats, all in vividly Photoshopped color. Joe Deal has work from his black-and-white series "Karst and Pseudokarst" exploring natural and manmade features in the environment. Finally, Elijah Gowin digitally manipulated figures to make it seem they are falling from the sky. The pictures are not terrifying; it rather looks like fun. This is because of the pastel colors he uses, and the careful matching of the figures and the backgrounds of sky, trees and water.