Saturday, January 29, 2011
If you would like to see more of Bill's images, please stop by dnj Gallery.
Bill Sosin, Street Light, archival
inkjet print, 2006-2009
Bill Sosin, Metaphor, archival
inkjet print, 2006-2009
Santa Barbara Museum Selections:
Bill Sosin, In the Loop, archival
inkjet print, 2006-2009
Bill Sosin, Local Knowledge, archival
inkjet print, 2006-2009
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
An iphone photo from the ViDi project: iPhone Afghanistan essay
I hope this promo finds you well and that you are off to a great start in 2011. This year started with my Oil on Water essay featured on the New York Time’s Lens blog. Also, on the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Newsweek.com hosted a video I produced chronicling the earthquake aftermath. On Monday January 24 at 7pm, I will be speaking at the SoHo Apple Store covering a retrospective of my work and my current iPhone project ViDi. I hope to see you there.
Since my last promo, I have completed assignments for the Wall St. Journal, ESPN, Fortune, Business Week, Inc., Fast Company, Vogue.com and Daily Beast. My Disaster in the Gulf series was featured in Fraction J magazine and my Storylines and Iraq Perspectives projects were projected on the exterior wall of the Corcoran Museum during Foto Week DC. I have also been selected as a finalist in the Duke First Book Prize this year.
On a personal note, I am happy to announce that my wife, Marvi Lacar and I are expecting our second child this summer! Mateo is now a mobile and very active 1 year old.
I will be en route to Afghanistan on January 25 and will be available for assignments after the 1st of February.
Facebook: Benjamin Lowy Photography
Melissa Parkerson from dnj Gallery
featuring the work of Maria Luisa Morando
Photo L.A. 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This past weekend, photo l.a. celebrated its 20th Anniversary as the longest running art fair west of New York and the largest photo-based art fair in the country, drawing over 10,000 attendees. It brings together photography dealers from around the globe, displaying the finest contemporary photography, video and multi-media installations along with masterworks from the 19th century. photo l.a. is honored to have played a significant role in the cultural life of Los Angeles. It has been essential in transforming the art/ photography landscape of Los Angeles by increasing public awareness and acceptance and the inclusion of photo-based art in almost all contemporary galleries and museum exhibitions.
In 2004, Photo LA was created as a public event, and each year for 4 1/2 days, the public immerses itself in all things photography. In addition to the exhibition fair, numerous lectures, events, and seminars were being offered. Photographers such at Uta Barth, Arthur Tress, and Amy Arbus provided lectures, presentations on independent printing and publishing, panel discussions on a variety of topics were offered, and daily collecting seminars were available. Across the street, Center hosted Review LA (to be featured next week), and there were photography openings at venues across the city.
Close to 60 galleries and publishers set up booths, filled with photography and books for sale. The galleries came from as far away as China, Australia, and the Netherlands, but the show also included local galleries. It was an opportunity to not only be exposed to a terrific range of imagery, but see trends in print sizes, matting and framing, pricing, and color vs black and white. Five years ago, the fair was filled with large scale color prints, the last two years were dominated by small black and white classic prints--this year was a more balanced offering of scale and approach.
most images by Noelle Swan Gilbert
Annie Seaton, Wyatt, c-print with acrylic inks, 12" x 12"
Annie Seaton, Wyatt, c-print, 12" x 12"
Photo LA- A Few Truffles in the Miasma
by Herr Müller on January 14, 2011
Art Fairs can be grind. I’ve worked them from the vantage point of the dealer, showing and selling prints for 8 hours straight. I’ve worked them from the vantage point of an exhibiting artist. And then I’ve “worked” them as a passionate and undauntable visual consumer. To winnow the wheat from the chaff is made only a tad easier by the concentration of a single venue. But then, the walk in Chelsea or the drive in LA actually provides a moment of visual peace between art encounters. Six of one, half dozen of another.
Photo LA, in its 20th Anniversary rendition, is currently at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and runs through Monday. The fair looks good, well laid out, well lighted and user-friendly. The art on display runs the gambit from sublime to ridiculous, but this can be said of any fair, of any caliber. But we’re in the business of TruffleHunting, so here then a few notable standouts:
A new discovery for me was Annie Seaton, shown at DNJ Gallery which recently moved to Bergamont station. Cutout surfers from one photograph reappear on a facsimile painted ground of another. The paradigm is elegant and well executed. Modestly scaled and intelligent, Ms. Seaton has managed to deface in order to recreate.
Harry Callahan is and has been one of my favorite artists for many moons. Tom Gitterman is showing a handsome image of Elenor, the artist’s wife, muse and subject throughout his career. Aside for my personal love for the silhouette, the composition is divine and bold. It veers into abstraction and then gently manages to reassert itself into a portrait. The image is both intimate and veiled and thus divinely mysterious.
Photography as journalistic tool and witness has always been important. There’s no greater picture in this genre at the fair than this marvelous campaign shot of Bobby Kennedy riding in a convertible in Indianapolis in 1968. Bobby is riding with the Fearsome Foursome and Prizefighter Tony Zale. The image is by Bill Eppridge and can be seen at Monroe Gallery of Photography
Another personal favorite in the history of Photography is Robert Heineken. A conceptual artist wielding the medium of photography in the 70′s and 80′s, Heineken was deeply ahead of his time. The dime a dozen MFA grads that are pumped out of Academic institutions at a dizzying rate only wish they could have his wit and charm and intelligence. At Barry Singer there are two excellent examples of his work. Polaroid photograms of art school lunches. Items from a salad bar and a neatly dissected submarine sandwich act as subject matter. Original, funny with a soupcon of fuck you make the result a perfect blend of commentary and art. Further examples of Heineken’s Recto/Verso series can be seen at Stephen Daiter‘s booth from Chicago.
At Light Work, one of the most successful and enduring Non-for-profit organizations in the nation it must be said, there’s a great print by David Graham that ominously and wittily sums up the state of our financial landscape. Billboards are a deeply American phenomenon but it may not get any more perfectly American than this. The booth is filled with remarkable examples of great artists, all at reasonable prices, each one donated in support of the ambitious programming.
Lastly I will leave you a triptych by the irascible Wegee at Louis Klaitman & Robert Tat Gallery . Yes, I say, a three-ring circus should be a triptych. Of course! The middle image may just be the world’s most perfect double exposure with the observed and the observers fusing into a single image.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
My Life as Art: James Robie
February 12 - March 26, 2011
Reception: Saturday, February 12 | 4-7 pm
Gallery Talk: Monday, February 14 | 10 am
James Robie, Shrine
James Robie’s exhibition “My Life as Art” features paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and graphic design spanning more than 40 years of his creative output.
According to the Gallery’s director James Sweeters “What’s interesting about this show is to not only to see the artistic development of Robie’s fine art but his development as a graphic designer, a profession he skillfully learned working first as a production artist with several prominent Los Angeles designers and later after he formed his own design firm in 1978.” Robert Bucker, Dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication added “It would be hard to determine by looking at this show if Robie considers himself a designer who paints or a painter who’s a designer. He’s approached each discipline with a focus and dedication that would make each one a success and perhaps it’s a moot point to ponder the question.”
Robie said, “My journey through life is reflected in my work. As I have grown as a person so my work has evolved and grown whether as a sculptor, painter or graphic designer.” The exhibition charts this journey. There are experimental prints and paintings made early in his career. Large soft lyrical figurative paintings of the 70s and early 80s cumulating in several fine beach scenes composed from photographs taken at Venice beach. Sculptures shown include several wood wall reliefs, and an assortment of wood and stone pieces that combine complex carving, many of the intricate carved pieces are carved from one solid piece of wood, with painted and metal oxidized surfaces.
Robie’s current graphic design projects and abstract paintings have mutually evolved from his earlier visual expression into a serious exploration of abstract thought and composition. With his recent work in both areas as powerful as he has ever produced.
Whether designing for large national clients or fueling his personal passion, Robie’s art has marked a journey of explorations, discoveries, achievements and fulfillment. CSUN Art Galleries is pleased to welcome the public to a decade-by-decade look at the evolution of his art.
Laura Parker, Collecting Pool, 2010, 82" x 48"
Ginny Mangrum, Subway, archival lightjet print, 16" x 20"
January 17 - March 3, 2011
Charles Gniech, Exhibition Curator
Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago
photo '11 is a national juried exhibition presenting a snapshot of the imagery currently being produced with—or through—the photographic process. The show is produced in conjunction with the annual Art of Human Rights® event to benefit Heartland Alliance. Commissions from the sale of work included in this exhibition, will be donated directly to Heartland Alliance to help with their work in supporting human rights. Proceeds will help Heartland Alliance provide housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protection services to more than 200,000 people whose lives are threatened by poverty and danger, including those living with HIV/AIDS. When the show selections were finalized, each accepted artist was asked to submit a statement defining their work. This document is the result of that material.
Benjamin Lowy, 2009
In addition, Benjamin's Haiti: Aftermath video has been hosted on Newsweek.com, so be sure to check it out!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Annie Seaton, Surf Gang, Venice Beach, acrylic ink and c-print on wood panel, 24" x 20"
Artists Ray Beldner, Brendan Lott, Sonja Schenk, and Annie Seaton are pleased to announce their upcoming exhibition, Misappropriation. The pop-up show, which takes place during the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, includes paintings, mixed media, digital prints, and small-scale installation all using and misusing found photo-based imagery. The exhibition will be on display at Studio Orange in Culver City, California from January 23-30, 2011.
Since the early collages of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp’s use of found object for his series of “ready-mades,” artists have felt free to use, reproduce, appropriate and incorporate materials found within popular culture and society. These raw materials reflect and embrace the world around us: snippets of newspapers and magazines, film and TV excerpts, snapshots, advertisements, news headlines, bits of text, characters, fragments of song, and so on. Artists used this source material just as artists have used raw material for thousands of years.
Now with the ubiquity of computers, digital cameras and the Internet, artists have access to the world’s greatest libraries, image databases, and interactive tools at their fingertips. As a result, traditional artistic practice is changing once again as artists explore the potential of these new technologies and incorporate them into their working methodologies. For each of these artists, the Internet and digital technology play a vital role in their creative processes.
Appropriation as an artistic practice and visual strategy is not new to contemporary artists, but the case that this exhibition makes is that the Internet enables a new kind of appropriation or borrowing, a “mis-appropriation” which is the intentional—sometimes humorous, sometimes dark—misuse of someone else's material. In this case, their images or their likenesses.
Each artist in the show collages images they have taken or found on the Internet or elsewhere, and they re-purpose and re-contextualize them in a way that reflects on their origins. They are in a sense “meta-images” misappropriated for the purpose, in part, to reflect on the picture’s original purpose and meaning.
William Eggleston, Untitled, circa 1988, vintage chromogenic coupler print, 7.5 x 10 inches
"William Eggelston's "Democractic Forest" and the Evil of Banality"
Although nowadays no one thinks twice about including photography as one of the fine arts, the medium took a long road to acceptance. The very objectivity that its early developers prized was held against it--even though rampant manipulation of photographic images began within a year or two of photography's birth in france and England around 1839. Indeed, an entire school of self-consciously manipulated photography--posed, lighted, soft-focussed, painted-over, and more--grew as part of an effort to make the craft seem less "automatic" and thus somehow more "poetic."
For decades documentary photography was regarded as a kind of "mere" journalism or record keeping, and it required intense efforts by early 20th century photographer Berenice Abbot, for example, to "rehabilitate" the reputation of great Parisian documentarian Eugène Atget, whose photos now reside on museum walls worldwide, though he himself thought he was making "mere" records.
From the 1930s on, however, the idea took that the choices made in framing a scene from life and controlling the exposure and tone to emphasize certain elements constituted a set of aesthetic controls that qualified the results as "Art." However, this label was generally reserved for black and white photography, whose capacity to emphasize spaces and volumes was said to set it apart from the "mere" literalness of color work.
Enter William Eggleston, born in 1939 in the rural Deep South--on a cotton plantation in Tennessee, in fact. Early on, someone gave him a camera, which fascinated him; encounters in the 1950s with the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank--"documentarians" all, who now also grace museum archives--led to his own decision to "become" a photographer. But with one significant difference: Eggleston decided to work in color.
Color photography was not new then, but was considered fit only for illustration and advertising. But the subjects that Eggleston--a hard-drinking southern eccentric--photographed illustrated mostly the peculiarities of the American landscape and advertised the follies of our treatment of ourselves and the lands that nurture us. Through a long and possibly haphazard path, Eggleston became one of the earliest and most significant explorers of the meaning of sprawl and the American automobile-dominated landscape.
Currently showing at dnj gallery in Los Angeles is an exhibition of two of Eggleston's many series of work. One deals with Graceland, Elvis Presley's house in Memphis, now become a shrine to his memory; the other, called (by Eggleston) "The Democratic Forest," explores what I call "blandscapes," those emotionally-hollow spaces that constitute James Howard Kunstler's "geography of nowhere." Graceless architecture, bleak streets, junkpiles and trashheaps, parking lots, odd ends of cars and traffic signs, elements of control and disorder jumbled together with a total disregard for the souls or the bodies of the people that must inhabit these invisible prisons but whom you never see in his pictures--perhaps because there is really no place for them in the places they themselves have built.
Where Hannah Arendt spoke of the "banality of evil," Eggleston's photos quietly shriek of the evil of banality. Lost in discussions of the environmental impact of sprawl is its effect on the soul in daily life--an effect that Eggleston's images gently but relentlessly throw in your face. Perhaps more than any graph depicting watershed degradation, cancer clusters, or oil reserve declines, Eggelston's photos tune your psyche to the everyday horror we have made of America's streets, towns, and hearts in our worship of the automobile and of the throwaway society.
Photography speaks with light (and occasionally texts found in the scene or imposed on the image). Despite their frequent use of road signs, signs over storefronts or gas stations, and the ubiquitous advertising that poxes our American cities, these images exist within an aura of silence--the silence of souls that have forgotten how to speak. Epic poetry in light, they are as much elegy as song, and a warning of what we must leave behind if we are to find our lives again.
Let your mind's eye travel through the "Zone Modules" of Suzy Poling
VISUAL ART/MUSIC Suzy Poling greets me by the half-open front gate of Queen's Nails Projects and hands me a Sapporo tallboy. It's freezing outside, and not much warmer inside. And dark. But not for long: within moments, she's turning on a projector at the top of a tall ladder, running tape through a bulky Pioneer tape deck on top of a giant Moog, and spinning transparent mobiles that are suspended from the spaces' ceiling, all while explaining her thoughts on making art and the ideas behind her current show, "Zone Modules." Analog sounds growls like an electric beast. The big square room expands to an outer space with rough edges, as projector light refracted from glass and mirrors floats like electric stars across a gray-silver moon on one a wall.
"I think I'm into it," Poling wonders out loud, looking at the wall fixture. "In this exhibition, there's an overall idea of future decay." She's telling the truth, not spinning an artist's statement, and yet there's also a current of energy and motion coursing through the room. At a certain point I realize that things are moving all around me, including behind my shoulder, a corner-of-the-eye feeling that is disconcerting and exciting — in terms of immersion, it evokes Bruce McClure's and Anthony McCall's explorations of live cinema, or an inverted version of the effects created by Yayoi Kusama's infinity rooms. "I think people want to get in touch with infinity rooms [right now]," Poling agrees, when I mention Kusama. "It makes sense to get in touch with the planet we're on and everything around it."
This is just the beginning of "Zone Modules," and just a hint of the constantly intersecting sonic and visual energies at play in Poling's broader art endeavors, a growing and morphing constellation that connects colorfully primordial photos of geysers to layered, artificial experiments in grayscale. We walk to the next room, a small black space with an old black-and-white television in one corner tuned to an eternal 1920s movie dreamscape. "Everyone really liked this room for some reason [at the opening]," Poling says with a shrug, as swirling fog gives way to a close-up of a cut jewel on the small screen. "It's like hanging out in a black room with a boob tube — it's a classic hypnosis."
The relaxed humor and pleasure in this room, though "experiential," as Poling put it, is not common in today's art world. It puts me in mind of Cary Loren, a friend of Poling's from Detroit (and a member of the influential noise band Destroy All Monsters), whose viewpoint possesses a similar enjoyment of pop culture mutation — one that's not kitschy, but imaginative in a raw, imperfect, individual manner. Poling's years growing up and exploring the abandoned spaces of Detroit and then Chicago are central to what she's making today. "It's so cold and there's some strange individuals there," she says affectionately, when I bring up the Midwest. "I drew a lot of my inspiration from the Congress Theatre, this old movie palace from the 1920s on Milwaukee Avenue. I used to live inside it. I started [ the musical project] Pod Blotz there, because I could bring an organ up onto the stage."
For around a decade, Poling has lived in Oakland, perhaps the closest thing that California has to offer to those kinds of urban autonomous zones. As we move to another room in "Zone Modules" and she talks about a geometric costume she used to wear to early Pod Blotz shows — "I thought, 'I love theater of Bauhaus, I love Dada, I love the Vienna actionists, and I'm going for this !" — I'm struck by the unashamed enthusiasm for different periods and styles of art, some outre or out of fashion, within her work. To say it's refreshing in these jaded times would be an understatement. But this isn't naïve art — it's gradually formulating a personal vision informed by everything from optics and opthamology to Russian avant-garde posters. "I'm not going to deny these things — I like [Laszlo] Moholy-Nagy!," Poling exclaims at one point.
"I could reinstall this installation a bazillion different ways and it would always be different," Poling says, as a characterful projected object darts like a dragonfly around the corner of an adjacent room. Not all artists could make such a claim, and fewer still could say it and have the idea be exciting. Poling credits the endless potential for combinations present in "Zone Modules" to curator Julio Cesar Morales's insights about what to leave out of the show, but I think it also has something to do with the her experiences collaborating with artists on an international scale, and her kinship with them. Along with her best friend Kamau Patton, she was part of Official Tourist, an artist group that included members from Bosnia and Japan. "I'll relate to a friend in Belgium in Dolphins into the Future who makes psychedelic spacey new age music," she says, when talking about the music of Pod Blotz. "But then I also really relate to Haters in Los Angeles. They make totally different kinds of music, but they have a deep respect for each other."
In the back room of "Zone Modules," Poling's paintings — which layer paint over vinyl and and paper to create interruptions in form and shape — share space with geometric sculptural and light experiments. I stare into the triangular eye of a metallic sculpture in the center of the room and through a tetrahedral passageway, spy another trangle, this time painted. "I like having the ability to just go into making art with people," Poling says. "That feeling that the creation station is out there."
Helen and John collaborated on the Urban Noir project and she is so proud to see that his peers agree with her assessment of his talent - he is amazing and great live.
Jazz Times: John is truly an amazing pianist, imaginative composer, creative improviser and arranger. And with Positootly he created an album that people will look back as one of the first Jazz classic albums of the 21th century.
Helen K. Garber, World Trade Center, from her Urban Noir series
WHEN: Saturday, January 8, 2011
WHERE: Blue Whale
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka Street, 3rd Floor, LA, CA 90012 (map)
Validated Parking 2nd Floor
TIME: Two sets: 9pm and 11pm
BAND: Bennie Maupin (sax), Oscar Seaton (drums), Kevin Brandon (bass), John Beasley
MUSIC: John Beasley Poistootly! Jazz Circle will feature music from GRAMMY-nominated Positootly!CD which showcases
Beasley's original, propulsive, multi-layered compositions from funk and soul to bop, bossa nova, and nuevo tango
along with three choice covers.
CLUB: (213) 620-0908 - http://www.bluewhalemusic.com/
David Trautrimas, Terra Thermal Inducer, 2009,
archival digital print, 22 1/2" x 35 1/4"
Earlier this year, the dnj Gallery in Los Angeles, featured an exhibition by Canadian photographer David Trautrimas. His other-worldly creations take modern appliances and reassemble them into top secret, Cold War era military outposts. David's work has resonated with American and Canadian audiences and he has a roster of exhibitions, grants, awards, and publications that reflect that we are children at heart, allowing our imaginations to believe that these habitats are possible.
In The Spyfrost Project, these skunkwork structures, hybrids of both machinery and architecture, stand as colossal weaponized ancestors to common objects such as refrigerators, lawnmowers and washing machines. Fashioned with aspiring futurism, yet an ominous sense of militaristic purpose, these installations link the parallel development of capitalism's postwar consumer culture and the Military Industrial Complex.
To create these Cold War structures, suitable source materials — such as the previously mentioned refrigerators and lawn mowers — are completely dismantled and photographed, then, by digital means, meticulously reassembled into strikingly original structures. This technique is a continuation of the process used in my previous two bodies of work; those being residential and industrial structures, respectively.
The most dramatic evolution from my previous work is the process for creating the landscape of each structure. For this new series great effort has been taken to photograph landscapes throughout North America that have a direct connection to the narrative of the series. I've travelled from one of the epicenters of Cold War activity, Los Alamos and the state of New Mexico, to more regional locales, such as Prince Edward County, home to many Avro Arrow tests, and abandoned Pine Tree and D.E.W radar bases in Central and Northern Ontario. Each location was thoroughly documented, allowing the fictional bases to be situated in the real landscape of the North American Cold War experience.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
2525 Michigan Avenue, Suite J1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(323) 931-1311 or (310) 315-3551