Image Above: © HIROSHI SUGIMOTO, South Bay Drive-In, South Bay / Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery
Pace/MacGill Gallery, in collaboration with Åmells, Stockholm, presented on Thrusday October 29th Callahan, Dawid, Sugimoto. The exhibition will be on view from October 29 through December 19, 2015 and brings together the work of Harry Callahan (1912–1999), Dawid (b. 1949), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948) to explore how three seemingly disparate photographers respectively and collectively test the aesthetic, technical, and conceptual possibilities of the medium. A catalogue published by Steidl with an essay by Niclas Ostlind accompanies the show, which will travel to Åmells in Stockholm from January 23 to February 12, 2016. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, October 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Images Above: © Paula Morandarte
Callahan, Dawid, Sugimoto examines black and white photography’s ability to seamlessly merge objective representation and formal abstraction with a selection of over 20 gelatin silver prints. Utilizing large format cameras to visually intensify their chosen subjects, these artists transcend narrative description and thus transform our vision, causing us to consider the motifs they photograph in different and novel ways. All distinctly geometric and precisely composed, Callahan’s, Dawid’s, and Sugimoto’s images present us with delicate interplays between light and dark tonalities, positive and negative space, surface and depth, rhythmic lines and visual rhymes.
Image Above: © DAWID #2055, 1985
Instrumental in introducing a vocabulary of formal expression into American photography at a time when descriptive realism prevailed, Harry Callahan turned his signature subjects – his wife Eleanor and daughter Barbara, the urban landscape, and the natural world – into subjective arrangements through the manipulation of tone, multiple exposures, and the reduction of form. Telephone wires and cattails become visual experiments in line, while views of ivy tentacles and peeling paint on walls appear as purely abstract patterns.
Likewise, the Arbetsnamn Skulptur (Working Title: Sculpture) works of Swedish artist Dawid (Björn Dawidsson) examine the relationship between photography, sculpture, and the limits of representation. Produced over a seven-year period beginning in 1982, the photographs on view reinterpret the classical still life, presenting monochromatically-painted bottles, vases, and other objects arranged within a custom-built, white box bearing the proportions of a 4 x 5” film negative. This defined rectangular space offers an exploratory environment for tonal variations and spatial displacements, and transforms Dawid's compositions into exercises in geometric abstraction.
Image Above: © HARRY CALLAHAN , Chicago, 1946
The structured format of Dawid’s box is analogous to the recurring illuminated screen of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s drive-in theaters. Visually recording what cannot be seen, these photographs conceptually address the notion of time by capturing the projection of an entire feature film within the frame of a single still image. Standing as visions of the ephemeral amidst their external surroundings of palm trees and star trails, the screens assume a minimalist, monolithic presence with their vibrating rectangles of radiant white light.