January 20–February 13
Reception: Friday, January 23, 6:00-9:00 p.m
- Cy DeCosse
- Glenn Grafelman
- Lacey Prpić Hedtke
- Sam Hoolihan
- Zoey Melf
- Dave Molnar
- Stefanie Motta
- Andrew Moxom
- Timothy G. Piotrowski
- Dave Rambow
- Carla Rodriguez
- Gayle Stevens
- Kevin Zappa
"The Daguerreotype and the Photogenic revolution are to keep you all down, ye painters, engravers, and alas the harmless race, the sketchers!" —The Corsair: A Gazette of Literature, Art, Dramatic Criticism, Fashion and Novelty, 1839
Photography has always been a threat to the status of art as well as to itself; by some accounts it has died many deaths, and taken several casualties along the way. Since the medium's official introduction in 1839, each passing year brings new modes of making that continually challenge and redefine the previous standards. The contemporary use of processes once thought obsolete is proof that they were never fully exhausted in their time; they are still viable modes of innovation and exploration. In addition, the application of alternative methods are not just favoring past generations or fashionable new ones. These techniques never went away and never died.
The exhibition title, Afterimage: Life After the Death of Photography, is inspired by the rhetoric used in the last decades to describe photography's certain fate at the hands of digital imaging, a familiar argument made with each technological advancement. Photography is intrinsically tied to technology and the belief that we are perpetually on the brink of a new beginning or end. With an innumerable amount of processes and methods available to artists, photography's parameters are as blurred today as they were 175 years ago.
"Critical entomologists from Baudelaire to Benjamin and from Sontag to Crimp are constantly trapping the elusive medium in their butterfly nets, screwing it down into killing bottles, and then spreading out the apparently fixed specimen to best advantage in a display case—only to see it suddenly shake its wings and fly away, leaving behind a scattering of iridescent scales. It would be possible to paper a room with definitive pronouncements regarding the purpose and nature of photography." —John Stathatos, The Territories of Art, 2007
The artists included in Afterimage are modernizing the myth of photography and its ostensible technological progress. They are not simply replicating old methods, but recontextualizing them in the 21st century. From traditional themes like sexuality, religion, and nature to explorations of material, surface, and chemical reactions, the artists are filtering new ideas through demoded techniques.
The implied antithesis of chemical photography, digital imaging, is just one more amazing arrow in the quiver of the medium, and is often intertwined seamlessly with analog processes. We are inspired by the notion that photography is the quintessential amorphous gray mass. It has no edges, it is not truth or fiction, black or white, digital or analog, candid or staged; it is all these things, and none of them, simultaneously.
"[New technology] created an army of photographers who run rampant over the globe, photographing objects of all sorts, sizes and shapes, under almost every condition, without ever pausing to ask themselves, is this or that artistic? . . . They spy a view, it seems to please, the camera is focused, the shot taken! There is no pause, why should there be? For art may err but nature cannot miss, says the poet, and they listen to the dictum. To them, composition, light, shade, form and texture are so many catch phrases." —E. E. Cohen, Bad Form in Photography, 1893