Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

TWO LINKS: BLUE Exhibition

January 31, 2011

Alec Von Bargen, "Everyone is Gone," Jurors' Selection

As curators of the “Blue” exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, Colorado, we’d like to thank the 38 photographers who participated in the exhibition, as well as extend our thanks to executive director, Hamidah Glasgow, for asking us to co-curate the show.

This week on the “Two Looks” blog, we are featuring a selection of work from the exhibition, including photographs by Alec Von Bargen (Jurors’ Selection), Andrea Tess (Jurors’ Honorable Mention) and Kirsten Hoving (Jurors’ Honorable Mention), as well as Erin Sweeny (Director’s Selection) and Jamie Saunders (Director’s Honorable Mention).  Here’s where you’ll find the complete “Blue” exhibition selection, and below is our Juror’s Statement for the show. Lastly, here’s a link to a Q&A with us at the London Telegraph online, which also features additional work from the “Blue” show.

We enjoyed meeting all the participants through their work, and regret we couldn’t attend the opening due to our hectic schedule this winter overseeing the production of Alex’s upcoming survey book. — Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Andrea Tess, from "After," Jurors' Honorable Mention

BLUE:  Jurors’ Statement

As the economic recession continues to linger, it colors our already fragile landscape of environmental, societal, and personal loss.  Unlike many of its sister arts, photography is uniquely suited to capturing the delicate palette of that which is in the process of vanishing out of sight –– be it endangered species or cultures, people or places, lifestyles or landscapes.  In addition, the medium also records the individual photographer’s specific and sometimes complicated response to this diminishing.  If our current time –– this 21st Century “loss zeitgeist” –– was tinged with a color, it makes sense it would be blue.

Blue is a many-faceted jewel of a color, each facet suggesting a different shading of color and mood, concept and association, not unlike the many faces of loss itself.  Blue –– and “the blues” –– can bring to mind a deep longing, an ache even, an emptiness that paradoxically has heft, too.  Blue can also suggest those light, ethereal, nearly transparent hues lying at the far side of grief –– inspired, spiritual even –– shades able to mesmerize, to transport us into the wide blue yonder of reverie.  The more we try to describe the multitudinous blue in words, however, the more it seems to confound and, ultimately, escape us.

So, what better way to catch a glimmer of blue’s crystalline quality that to present multiple points of view of this elusive, many-faceted jewel of a hue?

Together, the 38 diverse and talented photographers in this exhibit have done just that, given their personal interpretation of blue –– from its various hues to the many moods and concepts and associations that can accompany it.  Since collaborating with the world is also one of photography’s unique strengths, this exhibition also includes images taken in some 20 different countries.  Blue –– and its often companion, loss –– can be international, too.

What remains after “Everybody’s Gone”?  This is the question Alec Von Bargen’s spare Icelandic landscape seems to ask the viewer.  Taken after the country’s recent economic collapse triggered a mass exodus, Von Bargen’s image is solely peopled by two faceless cowboys painted on a mural, one astride a rearing horse, one standing in the background, both beckoning nonexistent tourists to fill in the blanks with their own smiling camera faces.  Instead, the two empty holes stare silently off into the distance, one filled with blue sky, the other, with ocean.  Is this the answer to the photograph’s quiet question?  Could it be that absence itself is blue?

Andrea Tese’s interpretation of blue feels more visceral –– like the fresh, blue-black bruise of recent loss.  Tese’s moving portraits –– including the raw, vulnerable portrait of a young woman who looks like she’s been crying  –– are part of her series called “After,” which explores those moments that occur in the long shadow cast by loss and love and life’s many complicated experiences. “These images are scenes of loss, decay, and departed desire,” writes the emerging photographer, who recently had her first New York City solo show.

“Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness,” the Italian writer, Italo Calvino once wrote.  This line aptly describes the mood of Kirsten Hoving’s surreal and mesmerizing interpretation of blue, “Fallen Angel.”  This image, although taken recently at her local Vermont county fair, blurs the boundaries between now and then, dream and reality, like the dim light of dusk itself, thanks in part to Hoving’s intelligent, surprising, and whimsical eye. “In the past,” Hoving notes, “the edge of the midway was the site of ‘girlie shows’ and strip-tease acts.  Today, the fallen women can be found bungee-jumping.”–Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, jurors of the “Blue” exhibition.

Kirsten Hoving, "Fallen Angel," Jurors' Honorable Mention

Erin Sweeny, Director's Selection

Jamie Saunders, "Come and Go," Director's Honorable Mention

TRENT’S PICKS: Friedlander at the Whitney

November 14, 2010

TRENT DAVIS BAILEY is a young photographer from Colorado who recently moved to New York.  He recently received a BFA in photography and a BA in art history from the University of Colorado.  Besides photographing and working with us on a variety of projects, he is also currently reviewing exhibitions for Daylight Magazine.  We have each chosen a photograph to accompany Trent’s review of the current Lee Friedlander show at the Whitney, “America By Car,” which is up through November 28th.––Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Lee Friedlander, “Alaska, 2007,” represented by Fraenkel Gallery

LEE FRIEDLANDER (b. 1934) has long been recognized for his compound street photographs, which document “social landscapes” through a complex arrangement of reflections, shadows, street signs, and self-portraits. For his latest book and current exhibition, “Lee Friedlander: America by Car,” the photographer went on a decade-long succession of road trips driving on US highways, city streets, country roads, and thoroughfares. In the tradition of other itinerant street photographers, such as Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand, Friedlander’s work examines the expanse of infrastructures and social constructs that pervade the United States. And now, at age 76, Friedlander is still demonstrating his ability to revisit, challenge, and extend his well-established photographic vocabulary.

By photographing through car windows with a Hasselblad Super Wide, Friedlander uses his camera’s foreshortening perspective to methodically construct images that operate as a frame-within-a-frame (often with rear-view mirrors and side-view mirrors acting as additional frames). The photographs focus on the makes, models, and hardware of his rental cars while also considering the environments beyond the cars’ interiors. As consistent with his past work, Friedlander is not at all timid about including himself in these photographs either. Whether it is the flare of his flash or his reflection in a mirror, his presence is felt in every image.

Pictured beyond many of Friedlander’s cars’ windows are especially bleak locales such as dilapidated Rust Belt factories, suburban homes in California, and a car graveyard in Arizona. In this context — when gazing through a rental car window — the visual contrast trades cynicism for wit. And even though each photograph is muddled with information, Friedlander is still able to establish a compositional order. The physical and figurative relationship that coexists between the car interiors and the momentary scenes beyond each window provides a timely, often-satirical commentary on contemporary America.––Trent Davis Bailey

Trent’s review via Daylight Magazine

Lee Friedlander: America By Car
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
September 4 – November 28,  2010
To see more of Lee Friedlander’s work, visit the Fraenkel Gallery website.

Lee Friedlander, “California, 2008,” represented by Fraenkel Gallery


–The Mexican Suitcase: Rediscovered Spanish Civil War negatives by Capa, Chim, and Taro
The International Center of Photography, New York, NY
September 24, 2010 – January 9, 2011

More about the suitcase:

–From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
September 12, 2010 – January 2, 2011

–Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century
SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA
October 30, 2010 – January 30, 2011
–Chicago Cabinet: Views from the Street
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
October 16, 2010 – January 16, 2011