Matter of Life and Death
Exhibition Dates: March 13 - April 19, 2014
Opening Reception: March 13th
6:00 – 8:00 pm
There is a sublime and special respect that is ordinary, but
which I think I sometimes push to heights of importance.
Jerome Liebling’s images are touching and
intimate. The direct connection
made between subject and photographer resonates in his frames and in a flash we
are brought into the moment. It is Liebling’s subject’s direct gaze that
implicates us, and in the simple every-day occurrences he captured we feel the
pulse of life, its truth, its joy and grit.
Liebling grew up in Brooklyn as the son of
European immigrants. During World
War II Liebling enlisted to fight in a cause he believed in and went on to serve
in the 82nd Airborne. His wartime
experience had a profound affect on him and caused him to develop a staunch
anti-war sentiment that endured his entire lifetime. These experiences are what honed his focus on the daily
battles of life itself; often his subjects were the marginalized or overlooked.
Images themselves are rhythmic and smooth. Our eyes often catch the subjects
directly and when they do they lock we are held. It is difficult to move out of these frames as the
satisfaction of the image entwines us.
In tight portraits we may
find ourselves floating through the scenes on coat wings or hat brims, chains
or clothing’s folds. Sometimes the
work is a little more spatially inclusive, and we wander unexpectedly between shoulders
or tree limbs, through faces in the crowd, or catch a stranger in the decisive
moment of a passing glance. There
seems always to be a secret revealed in the works, and though they are of the
every day there is something both magical and piercing about them.
The show includes both early vintage
photographs and later large-scale prints in black and white and color, and was
curated by his daughter, filmmaker Rachel Liebling. Spanning six decades, the 75 photographs in the show
comprise a retrospective of selected works that explore the themes of youth,
maturity, and death.
Liebling attended the Brooklyn College under
the G.I. Bill and studied design with the painter Ad Reinhardt and photography
with Walter Rosenblum. In 1948, Liebling joined the Photo League, a socially
minded photographers’ cooperative, where, along with Paul Strand, W. Eugene
Smith and Aaron Siskind.
Jerome Liebling's photographs are held in the
permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington; and
the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, among many others.
For more information on this exhibition, please visit Steven Kasher Gallery
was named as one of MutualArt’s Top 10 Openings to watch.