Exhibition Review: Interventions

Exhibition Review: Interventions

 © Mickalene Thomas,  Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe les Trois Femmes Noir #5,  2017. Mixed media collage, 10 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

© Mickalene Thomas, Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe les Trois Femmes Noir #5, 2017. Mixed media collage, 10 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

By Arjeta Palevic

Before you even enter the gallery, you’re given one word: Interventions. As you walk through the space, you wonder–interventions of what?

Each image is physically manipulated: cut, torn, folded, crumpled, scratched, burned, taped, painted, and collaged. Instead of endeavoring for perfect prints and flawless images, the photographers embrace imperfection by working physically with their prints, allowing room for the unpredictability and irreversibility which is inherent in reality.

More and more photographers create multimedia work which merges image with object. The inimitable quality of this work renders it highly valuable for anyone interested in collecting artwork, allowing the photographers to make a larger profit than they would selling a print of a negative that can be easily replicated.

 © Sandi Haber Fifield,   Untitled (LS17 #209),  2018. Archival pigment prints with mixed media and vellum, 18 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

© Sandi Haber Fifield, Untitled (LS17 #209), 2018. Archival pigment prints with mixed media and vellum, 18 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

Though in the 21st century manipulation has become part of the dialogue, because of the influence of documentary photography we instinctively try to make logical sense of what we view in an image. In this multimedia exhibition that blends photography with techniques of drawing and painting, these interventions make it difficult for us to relate to these reconstructed images that oscillate between realistic images and manipulated prints.

John Baldessari’s National City (1) refuses to allow you to see the area your eye is helplessly drawn to by covering it with a white circle. This circle stops our interaction with the image, holding us at arms length as we instinctively attempt to view the center of the world that the image depicts.

In Mary Lum’s Museum, as the eye tries to create a logic out of the shapes and images, it cannot tell where the image ends and the acrylic begins. The viewer cannot reconcile the several competing perspectives in the piece and how to perceive the image becomes uncertain. 

 © Mary Lum,  Museum , 2015. Photo collage with acrylic on paper, 12 x 15 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

© Mary Lum, Museum, 2015. Photo collage with acrylic on paper, 12 x 15 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson. 

Chris McCaw echoes a meteor falling in Sunburned GSP #512, but we can’t help but be aware of the burning hole in the paper, forcing the viewer to think of it as object rather than image.

Various prints pieced together hide themselves in the illusion of a photograph, framed and mounted. Real  feathers on a gelatin silver photograph almost persuade you that they’re a two-dimensional photograph as opposed to realizing that they’re actual feathers in Kenneth Josephson, Feathers #3.

A postcard image that invoked assumptions of a couple in love is reshaped by Kensuke Koike in Triangle, who asks you to instead focus on the woman’s emotions and experience, which casts the original romance into doubt.

 © Kensuke Koike,  Triangle , 2018. Cut postcard collage, 7 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery. 

© Kensuke Koike, Triangle, 2018. Cut postcard collage, 7 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery. 

In these manipulations, the photographers ask you to view the image how they view it–to reconsider your own perceptions. This exhibition begs the question–what becomes of an image’s meaning when the image is taken apart and put back together in a different order, when pieces are added and subtracted at will? It asks the viewer to reconsider the ways in which we relate to and think about photography.

The exhibition is running from July 11 - August 24th 2018 at Yancey Richardson. 

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