Snapshots of Photo LA
January 19th, 2010 Posted by Danyel
This past Sunday afternoon with the clouds heavy with rain, I made my way west to check out Photo LA. This art fair signaled the beginning of a series of art fairs to grace Los Angeles and beckoned art-lovers, collectors, and dealers alike to scope out a wide stylistic range of photographs, which lined the impromptu walls of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
Wandering through the booths of galleries from the US and abroad, there were a plethora of celebrity photos and black and whites — and black and white photos of celebrities for that matter. But also, politically themed photos, documentary pictures, and classic historical photographs set me in the correct mindset for more contemporary works while also flashing me back to an art history class of yesteryear. A few of my favorites included Harry Callahan’s Eleanor, Bill Brandt’s Nude, and a few special Edward Weston’s.
The MR Gallery, a gallery from Beijing, presented a series of photos by artist Mo Yi that rendered brilliantly colored comforters being aired on a clothesline. I fell in love with the fabric patterns and the intimacy the photographed captured. There were 16 individual shots of the comforters arranged in a 4 x 4 grid. Sometimes simplicity is key.
The Hous projects, a gallery that hailed from New York, featured Narelle Autio’s stunning underwater photographs of people seemingly caught in an undertow and floating with air bubbles sticking to their twisting bodies. These photos captured magnificent color, light, and motion.
Cynthia Greig, Representation #66 (still life #4), 2007
At the LA-based DNJ Gallery booth, several Cynthia Greig photographs grabbed my attention. It seemed as if the artist photographed several household objects, such as a telephone or handbag, to paint the background of the photo a solid shade of white. She then carefully painted the central object white so it appears as if it is nothing more than a tracing or a picture from a comic book and takes a final snapshot. I thought they were marvelous by themselves although I heard passerbys talking about how easy they were to hang in one’s house – the photo of the dishes can be hung in the kitchen!
Sante Fe-based Monroe Gallery pulled out the big guns with several large photographs by Stephen Wilkes. Lanswe Sock Factory, China depicted a view down an aisle at a Chinese sock factory, lined with exquisite machinery and the machine operators wearing striking orange shirts. Also, Ormond Gigli’s Models in the Windows was a sight for weary eyes. It showed a wide shot of the side of a New York-style apartment complex. At each window, a gorgeous woman stood or sat in the window dressed to the nines in a rainbow of colors. It was a refreshingly sweet, yet complex photograph.
Stephen Wilkes, Lanswe Sock Factory, China, 2005
And finally, Barcelona’s Galeria Sicart presented a large triptych by artist Nicola Costantino. When the triptych’s side panels were open, the large photograph showed a beautiful, yet bound woman bathed in gorgeous light reclining in a large, serving platter that sat on top of a table that resembled the table of The Last Supper. And when the triptych’s panels were closed, poof! The serving platter was empty. Much like the convention center’s halls at closing time.