Like many who grew up during the spread of sprawl — with its predictable landscape of housing developments, interstate highways, and big-box construction — acclaimed photographer Jeff Brouws is intrigued by places that still show signs of the vernacular past. What began as cultural geography of Main Streets became a visual critique of the myth of upward mobility that created this car-centered, paved-over universe. Combining a minimal, bleak beauty with understated social commentary, these evocative color photographs seek a deeper meaning behind the cycle of construction, decay, decline and renewal. Approaching Nowhere is a meditation on the loss of place and texture in the contemporary American landscape. Brouws' luminous images elegantly capture the complex, surprising beauty and desolation of visual life in our time, as seen from the American road. The potency of the work reflects both Brouws' perceptive vision of the country's changing face and his concern for the shifting shape of its soul.
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Jeff Brouws has traveled the country for two decades, documenting an America that is at once quintessential and peculiar. Readymades is a multi-layered catalog of found art in the landscape: partially painted pickup trucks, storage units, vibrant-hued tract homes, unique signage, and abandoned drive-in movie theaters all fall under the photographer's gaze. Provocative essays by leading writers and cultural commentators such as Luc Sante, DJ Waldie, M. Mark, Diana Gaston, Bruce Caron, and Phil Patton are juxtaposed with these images that seek beauty, uniqueness and meaning in the mundane.
The 1960s saw the inception of the photo-conceptualist artist book resulting from the trailblazing efforts of artist Ed Ruscha. In the decades that followed, numerous artists began embracing the banal, prosaic photographic subject matter ushered in by Ruscha allowing it to emerge as an important aesthetic category unto itself. Jeff Brouws is one many photographers who most passionately embraced this type of artistic practice, and who co-edited this text which pays homage to the lasting impact of Ruscha's artistic achievements. This text features two of Brouws's iconic Portfolios "Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations" (1992) and "Twentynine Palms" (1991), which are among the earliest examples that draw on Ruscha's own innovations prior to the phenomenon of appropriating his work mushroomed in 2007. Brouws, over the past 30 years, has wholeheartedly embraced this approach, creating numerous series which address the ordinary and everyday across the American cultural landscape. This stunning new publication, which coincides with an exhibition encompassing Ed Ruscha's legendary books along with works by more than 100 contemporary artists at Gagosian Gallery, highlights both the lasting legacy of Ruscha while exploring the successful efforts of a multitude of artists since the late 20th century.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 officially opened the Great Plains to westward settlement, and the public survey of 1855 by Charles A. Manners and Joseph Ledlie along the Sixth Principal Meridian established the grid by which the uncharted expanse of the Great Plains was brought into scale. The mechanical act performed by land surveyors is believed by photographer Joe Deal to be powerfully similar to the artistic act of making a photograph.To Deal, both acts are about establishing a frame around a vast scene that suggests no definite boundaries of its own. Thus, when approaching his own photographs of the Great Plains, Deal viewed his photography as a form of reenactment, a method of understanding how it felt to contain the Great Plains in smaller, more measurable units.
In West and West, Deal, who was born and raised in Kansas, revisited the Kansas-Nebraska territory and applied his photographic understanding of the landscape grid and horizon line to illuminate the sense of infinite space that transcends the reality of the survey. As Deal writes in his concluding essay: "If the square, as employed in the surveys of public lands, could function like a telescope, framing smaller and smaller sections of the plains down to a transect, it can also be used as a window, equilaterally divided by the horizon, that begins with a finite section of the earth and sky and restores them in the imagination to the vastness that now exists as an idea: the landscape that is contained within the perfect symmetry of the square implies infinity."
The stunning photographs in West and West present the Great Plains from a rare perspective. From this vantage point, Deal is able to distill and contemplate its expanse.
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In 1983, as the inland basin of southern California was being subdivided by developers and filled in with new waves of residents, a sign at its outskirts appeared that was unusual both in meaning and appearance. The sign, 'Indian Bingo,' came into view as you emerged from the basin traveling east through the San Gorgonio Pass into the Coachella Valley headed for Palm Springs...
A book of four reproductions and one original photograph. Numbered in a edition of 500 on the colophon, with the print signed on the verso. The original print Indian Bingo was printed by Larry Danque at Cone Editions Press under the supervision of Joe Deal. Published by Nazraeli Press as part of their series of One Picture Books.
Elijah Gowin's Hymnal of Dreams is influenced by his ancestral roots in the southern United States and by the rich heritage of magical realism in American art and literature. His intricate constructions fuse folk art, theater, memory, and dreams, resulting in creations that are strangely familiar yet beyond the realm of pure logic. These visual puzzles invite exploration and discovery on the part of the viewer. A steel frame bed hovers in a dimly lit forest clearing, slung by various lengths of rope from the surrounding tree; an elderly woman pauses by a whitewashed building, her hands grasping a series of ropes tied to the fluttering silhouettes of birds; an arcane board game lies unfinished, its playing surface edged by old family snapshots. These images and others comprise Gowin's mysterious and evocative Hymnal of Dreams. The power of his photographs lies in their ability to guide us into the subconscious, where dreams and reality commingle. This catalog was published to coincide with an exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery.
Of Falling and Floating, Gowin's most recent monograph, brings together three series of innovative color photographs. Combining hand-crafted techniques with the latest digital imagery technology, these grainy and mysterious photographs present the poetic vision of a world balanced between faith and doubt, liberation and doom. Figures fall through the air, plunge into water and search for balance or rescue. Light, water and air all collide in this charged landscape of Super 8-like color and distressed dreams. Historian and critic Lyle Rexer notes in his introduction that "Imperfections in the scans, variations in the printing, multiply the sense of contingency and deliberately contradict the assumption that the digital age is an age of perfection."
Selections from Chip Hooper's series California's Pacific are included in this catalog, along with a haiku by Jane Reichhold of Gualala, California. Hooper began to photograph the ocean along the Pacific Coast in the late 1980s, lured by its majesty and tranquility — and by the unique quality of light found there. California's Pacific balances lush, descriptive pieces with minimalist, abstract images in which light and water are the only subject. This catalog accompanied a 2004 exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery.
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Selections from Chip Hooper's series New Zealand's South Pacific & Tasman Sea are included in this catalog, along with a haiku by Cyril Childs of Port Chalmers, New Zealand. Photographs from this series were made along the coast of the South Island of New Zealand, as part of Hooper's ongoing project photographing the oceans of the world. This catalog accompanied a 2007 exhibition at Robert Mann Gallery.
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Huangshan is the name given to a whole range of mountains in Anhui province in eastern China. Also called Yellow mountain, the range is particularly known for its uniquely-shaped granite peaks, ubiquitous pine trees that literally grow out of the rock faces, and the ever changing configurations of flowing clouds as seen from above. Huangshan has been a source of inspiration and a muse for Chinese painters and poets throughout history. It continues to inspire artists today, including Michael Kenna. These forty-six photographs, which Kenna made over a period of three years, capture both the sublimity and grandeur of these peaks, and quietly reflect on our human interaction with nature. Kenna has written a brief introduction which describes some of his experiences on Huangshan.
The small tidal island of Mont St Michel is situated just off the Normandy coast, connected to the mainland by a single causeway. Its abbey rises like a mirage, high above the sea, on this craggy, rocky perch. It is a spectacular sight, and one that Kenna has been drawn to many times over the years. By day, the island is alive with cars, buses, people, noise. It can seem a garish place. But at night, it becomes as originally intended: a place for peace, prayer, and quiet contemplation. It is that gentler face of Mont St Michel that Kenna wanted to photograph and, after the crowds have gone home, he has been able to do so. Alone, he has climbed the bell tower, explored the crypts and chapels, and ambled along the silent lanes of the island. He has watched, totally undisturbed, as the light changed, shadows came and went, and clouds subtley floated this way and that. While his camera shutter was open for long, long exposures, Kenna cherished the silence. He sees these photographs as a personal record of this time of solitary exploration; it is a record we are privileged to share. Kenna has dedicated this book to his father and, in a deeply moving introduction, he describes the connection he feels between this solid, calm, inspirational place and his much-loved parent.
Michael Kenna began photographing the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in Nottinghamshire, England in the early 1980s, and in the ensuing years visited the site many times, producing a body of work as ominous as it is beautiful. The Ratcliffe photographs take on the tonal quality of a partially lit ecosphere unique to the photographer and his subject. A brilliant manipulator of half-light, Kenna's grainy, spatial topography epitomizes the gray skies of Northern England that were the ubiquitous backdrop to his childhood. Kenna's Ratcliffe photographs create the impression of an atmospherically foggy day, registering the homeostasis of a mood that is a dominant characteristic of his work.
This crumbling jewel of Northern Italy, built completely on marshland, is steeped in history and irresistibly imbued with romance. Known as "The City of Light" and "Queen of the Adriatic," Venezia is indelibly tinged with dark intrigue, decadence and decay. Comprising 118 small islands along the Adriatic Sea, Venezia was a maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades. The city's long decline began some 500 years ago; but its survival of two episodes of the Black Death, and the loss of its thousand years of independence to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797 — as well as the fact that it appears to be sinking slowly into the waters on which it is built — has only added to its mystique. This beautifully produced book brings together a collection of haunting images quietly made by Michael Kenna over the last 30 years, many of which are published here for the first time. Arguably the most influential photographer of his generation, Michael Kenna is the subject of over 35 monographs. The images in Venezia are part of a large retrospective exhibition of Kenna's work at Palazzo Magnani Museum, Reggio Emilia, Italy in Spring, 2010. This first printing of Venezia is limited to 2,000 hand-numbered, slipcased copies.
For a period of eight years, up-and-coming American photographer Mack and writer Steines crisscrossed Mexico photographing its vibrant city and rural life, its stunning architecture, striking landscapes, and captivating people. With roughly 200 images representing all 31 states, from the canyons of Chihuahua to the Myan ruins of Chiapas, from the indigenous communities of Oaxaca to the bustling port towns of the Yucatán, as well as the skyscrapers and thoroughfares of the Federal District, Revealing Mexico offers a poetic vista of Mexico's landscape today. What's more, Revealing Mexico also includes portraits of individuals from all walks of Mexican life — luminaries, authors, artists, academics, politicians, fisherman, business titans, street vendors, and farmers among others — many accompanied by their own words about what it is to be Mexican.
La Méthode is Laurent Millet's newest body of work, a series of photographs that portray fragile, fantastical houses on the shore. For the first time, Millet pairs his black and white photographs with color images. Constructed of found objects, these small, inanimate buildings have a life of their own; some sprout legs of rusted wire or gnarled branches from their brilliant orange and yellow facades. Others reveal intricate diagrams and enigmatic messages scrawled across the surface. The black and white images are more somber, carrying on the meditative spirit that is at the heart of much of Millet's past work, and calling to mind past series completed by the artist, such as The Petite Machines and The Wind Traps. The structure of the catalog itself captures the playful spirit of Millet's La Méthode series — it folds like an accordion, allowing it to be displayed vertically as a unique piece of artwork.
The photographs of Austrian painter Artur Nikodem were not exhibited or discussed outside of the studio until after his death. The images in Photographic Essays on Intimacy examine this rarely seen aspect of his creative life. Although he worked as a painter for the bulk of his artistic career, he was also a prolific photographer, documenting the small towns and pastoral beauty of the Austrian countryside as well as the women in his life. Nikodem captures the essence of these women: his lover Gunda Wiese (who died of tuberculosis), and his wife, Barbara Hoyer. These sensual portraits portray the erotic tension between the older artist and his much younger subjects. The body language is reminiscent of the work of Egon Schiele. Artur Nikodem's portraits have also invited comparison to the series of photographs by Alfred Stieglitz of Georgia O'Keefe, similarly characterized by both playful experimentation and somber meditation. Many of Nikodem's photographs were printed only once, making them singular objects of art. Published by Robert Mann Gallery to coincide with the exhibition of the same name, with images reproduced 1:1 from the original photographs, this book provides a unique and valuable insight into Nikodem's life and work.
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Susan Rankaitis completed her Limbicwork series in 2005 at Europas Parkas, the Outdoor Museum of Central Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania. Suspended in the dense forest, long arcs and loops of bright plastic tubing represent the components of the limbic system, part of the brain which influences the formation of memory by connecting emotion to physical sensation. By choosing the Vilnius site, Rankaitis also references the persecution of the Lithuanian people by both the Nazis and the Russian Army. Of Lithuanian descent herself, Rankaitis felt a kinship both to the landscape and to the group of young artists with whom she worked to complete the series. The resulting photographs — ranging from mural-sized prints to images no larger than a postcard — are the end product of the Limbicwork installation.
Wounded Cities is acclaimed photographer Leo Rubinfien's exploration of the "mental wound" that was left by the terror attacks in New York in 2001, and in cities around the world in the years before and after. One week before September 11th, Rubinfien, his wife and small children moved into a new apartment two blocks from the World Trade Center. They experienced the violence up close and fled through the smoke and dust with thousands of others. Though the physical scars of the attacks were obvious, he believed that the emotional effect was more profound, and a year later he began working in cities that had been hit in similar ways, including London, Nairobi, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Karachi and Tokyo. Intimate, deeply felt and beautifully crafted, the resulting portraits are some of the most powerful of recent years. Wounded Cities the book, published by Steidl, combines sixty intensely evocative photographs from this project with a memoir in which Rubinfien poignantly explores the anguish and the political passions of September 11th and the years after. Meanwhile, its unusual page design weaves word and image into one of the most original hybrid books photography has produced. This moving volume will prove to be one of the fundamental works of art to emerge from the attacks of 2001.
Select copies of rare, out of print Aaron Siskind publications are available.
Please contact the gallery for more information.
Early in the morning, before breakfast and the beginning of the workday, photographer Jem Southam takes to the countryside of southwest England, visiting and revisiting the hills and dales of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset. His lyrical photographs of these places, taken in series over long periods of time, chart the subtle evolution of this picturesque countryside as it has been transformed by both natural processes and human intervention. Ostensibly topographic and descriptive, each achieves a greater power thanks to an allegorical language that draws on our collective imagination. Landscape Stories is the first comprehensive collection of Southam's work, drawn from three completed series: "The Pond at Upton Pyne," "The Red River," and "Rockfalls, Rivermouths, and Ponds," along with several smaller groups of pictures from series still in the making. Southam's brief narratives about each site — together with essays by Gerry Badger and Andy Grundberg, which examine Southam's work from European and American perspectives, respectively — create a rich context for viewing these remarkable, large-format photographs.
A tribute to the most revered railroad photographer of our time.
To the true rail fan, Richard Steinheimer is an authentic hero, the best of the best. This, the first full-length celebration of his work, presents 160 of his duotone images, with an introduction by Jeff Brouws.
A pioneer in train photography, Steinheimer lived through and documented the railroad's heyday and its decline. He is one of very few photographers who appreciate the aesthetics of all locomotives, from steam engines to the latest diesel-powered behemoths. He has a particular fondness for the landscape of the American West, and many of his images situate trains in the larger geography and culture of the time. Known for taking pictures at night, in bad weather, and from risky perches on top of moving train platforms, Steinheimer has an enormous creativity and productivity.
This new full-color book featuring work by Paulette Tavormina includes the essay "The Many Lives of Paulette Tavormina's Still Lifes" by art historian, Wayne Anderson. The 40-page book measures 12 x 12 inches and contains 26 of her fine art images. This book is a limited, signed edition of 200.
Photographer Jörn Vanhöfen travels the world to capture images of areas that are undergoing rapid change. They are always places where people believe wholeheartedly in permanent growth and limitless profit, for the consequences of this fatal attitude are the objects of his photographic work. Vanhöfen journeys to Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America, going wherever the results are demonstrably obvious — from the Chicago stock exchange, the townships of Cape Town, and the scorched forests in Apulia to abandoned factories in Detroit and salvage yards in his hometown in the Ruhr region. His unique, poetic photographs depict ruins of our time. And while they may be fascinatingly beautiful, the looming consequences of our actions at the same time horrify us.
Serving as an important bridge between the once vanguard pictorialist movement and a nascent photographic modernism in the United States, only recently has the name Margaret Watkins (1884-1969) begun to move from the margins to the center of our understanding of the history of photography situating her among the medium's most prestigious practitioners. Born and raised in Canada, Watkins became a driving force at one of the most important photography schools in America. Her photographs, most notably her still-life images, now key works in the history of early advertising photography and classic examples of modernist photography, have earned her special recognition within the history of the medium. Following a large-scale monographic exhibition and scholarly catalogue of her work organized by Associate Curator Lori Pauli at the National Gallery of Canada in Autumn 2012, Watkins's work has been brought into the spotlight through this text's masterful examination of both Watkins's influence as an educator as well as her unique blend of documentary, commercial, and fine art photography through her study of a variety of subject matter.
Containing 133 photographs, this book offers an insight into Henry Wessel's work, from his early photographs in the 1960s to his most recent series in Las Vegas, 2000-2004. In Wessel's images the idiosyncrasies and anomalies of Southern California and the American West are chronicled with a wry objectivity. Insightful and often ironic, these photographs demonstrate that photography can surpass its documentary role to embrace speculation and suggest narrative. Ultimately the work challenges not only our expectations of the photographic medium, but our ways of seeing and our preconceptions about the familiar. "Wessel's remarkable work: witty, evocative and inventive, is distinctive and at the same time a component part of the great development of photography which flourished in the 1970s. The pictures continue to grow and evolve and the work is now regarded as an individual and important contribution to twentieth-century American photography." (from the introductory essay by Sandra Phillips, Curator of Photography at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)
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