Exhibition Review: John Chiara - Pike Slip to Sugar Hill
Review By Peter Kougias
Stepping into Yossi Milo Gallery, enormous prints hang, drawing eyes into colorful imagery in a minimalist setting of white walls and black floors.
John Chiara’s Pike Slip to Sugar Hill showcases iconic imagery of New York City: fire escapes, apartment windows, skyscrapers; without relying on iconic buildings in the city. This technique presents an anonymous and filtered view of the city life that has become recognizable and familiar in a day to day basis.
Chiara challenges the traditional landscape and architecture photography with his refreshening view of NYC.
Towing a 50x40 camera, Chiara travels in his pickup searching for a regional subject. The New York Times Magazine noted “the camera shoots directly onto color paper, making negative, inverted images on Fujiflex Crystal Archive paper. Each print is unique and cannot be duplicated.”
The exhibition is a modern archive of discovered prints. The photos hang unevenly as if they were discovered from a time before the current and remastered as ancient relics. What could be “lost” images are saved for evidence of what was.
Saint James Place near Madison Street is a rare spotting with World Trade Center lurking in the background. The greens and blues against the black sky blend galactic fiction with eerie imagery from the words of Poe. The tree branches pump the life through the photo’s veins.
West 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue thrusts a heroic pursuit in a world of danger with the jagged structure of the building. The orange sky paints the universe ála post nuclear apocalypse.
With a power outage could come an electronic crash vanishing digital work forever and undiscoverable, Chiara brings back the days of 1 hour photo drop off at the local pharmacy and the anxious thrill of seeing how the pictures came out and storing the packaged negatives just in case you need to make copies.