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Review: Rachel Phillips at Catherine Couturier Gallery

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rachel Phillips:  From Time to Time


through February 14, 2015 


Any artist who operates in the plural must make interesting work.  Indeed, Rachel Phillips, who also makes work as her alter-egos Madge Cameron and Frances Pane, is interested in layers- of identity, personality, time, and existence.   Her work asks us to reinvent and imagine the past as a landscape of invention and wonder as rich as the future.


The work asks us to consider not only tomorrow, but yesterday, and the day before that, and the years before that, and so on.  Phillips engages pictures from the past and conjure their stories.  Her foundational materials are albumen portraits called Cabinet Cards from the late 1800’s.  In Phillips’ own words she states that “we think of the future as unknown and the past as known- as history in a heavy book.  But mostly the past, and the people who lived before us, are as obscure and unknowable to us as the future is- we need a crystal ball to see back in time, too” (Catherine Courtier Gallery).


We look over Phillips’ Cabinet Cards and find her engagements with them add to the mystery, as if she was indeed conjuring the past.  Transfer prints outline forms that overlay, enhance, or obscure the sitter; these visual interventions spark inventive story-lines.   Watches swirl around the face of a young woman with sharp features and curly up-done hair.  We may wonder about the temporality of life and feel the weight of a moment, compression of a minute, and find time cruel even punishing, but as worthy of cherishment as ever.  In another piece we feel loosely held and painfully fragile looking at the visage of a clean-shaven man in high-buttoned jacket, his likeness hinged by three unfastened safety pins.  Other undefined narratives unfold in pairings of sitters and dance steps, stars maps, umbrellas, hand puppet shadow-bunnies, clouds, botanicals, handprints, and more. The pairings are poetic and elemental; we are certain not only to recognize the added layer, but to relate to a memory of our own because of it. 


Phillips’ interventions are our entry into the past, our connection to stories lost to time.  Each card invites us to imagine identity, personal history, dreams and destinies of these unknown sitters whose stories were forgotten by the families descendent of them, if any remain.  We are invited to reinvent the past, and we find it has as much possibility as the future.


Other works in the show are as fascinating:  Pane’s frames in frames and Cameron’s photo-driven encaustics harmonize nicely with this Cabinet Card series.  Pane’s work allows the frame itself to echo panicle moments in personal history thereby universalizing our lives to some degree.  Cameron’s images are mystical and more individualized.  They speak to moments, yet seem to unlock the secrets of time, bending it just enough to let us all in.


For more information on this exhibition please visit Catherine Couturier Gallery


Image Information:

Rachel Phillips

Sharp Object

Courtesy of Catherine Couturier Gallery

Tags:  aipadRecommended  aipadReview  Catherine Couturier Gallery  Rachel Phillips 

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On the Right Track: Subway at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Group Show

Exhibition Dates: January 24 – March 14, 2015



Ever conscious of the social climate, Stephen Bulger Gallery responds to the dialogue on the Toronto subway system with an exhibition on the subject.  Just days ago Toronto Mayor, John Tory, and Transit Chair, Josh Colle, announced a massive investment of $95 million to expand and improve the public service.   This exhibition reflects on the historic and current import of the systems as part of modernization, daily life, and urbanism.  These images are familiar and strange subterranean expressways where all sorts rub elbows. 


Subway is a group show of vintage and contemporary works by unknown and famed artists.   Early images are dark and gritty and reveal the early portions of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit lines in New York.  These images are accompanied by a Vid Ingelevics’ shot of the Museum Station in Toronto with its iconic yellow tiles, since replaced by station remodel that reflects the above-ground proximity to the Royal Ontario Museum.  Other notable inclusions are Bruce Davidson’s color environmental portraits made in 1980 and published as SUBWAY; Michael Wolf’s celebrated portraits of commuters called “Tokyo Compression;” film stills from The Warriors, directed by Walter Hill; and a  salon wall, which includes images by Dave Heath, André Kertész, William Klein, Luis Mallo, Jamel Shabazz, Kazuo Sumida and Alexey Titarenko, among others. 


Learn more about this exhibition at Stephen Bulger Gallery 



Related programming:  FREE Saturday Afternoon Screenings at CAMERA

January 24 at 3:00 PM

Dir. Larry Peerce (USA: 1967), 107 min.

The Incident is a story of two youths who hold passengers in the car of a New York subway train hostage late one night. 

Tags:  Stephen Bulger Gallery 

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New Yorker Review: Edmund Teske at Gitterman Gallery

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Edmund Teske

through January 24, 2015


Always on the verge of being rediscovered, the idiosyncratic American photographer (who died in 1996) may be too sincere to come back into fashion, but his experimental approach should appeal to photography’s boundary-busting avant-garde. Even Teske’s most straightforward photographs have a surreal theatricality reminiscent of George Platt Lynes and John Gutmann, but he rarely left an image unmanipulated. His figure studies and portraits (including one of Kenneth Anger) were often solarized, double-exposed, and overlaid with liquid passages of rust-colored toning. The results are agitated, feverish, and expressionist—each picture is less a document than a dream. 


Read the review in the New Yorker

Learn more about the exhibition or view the works online at Gitterman Gallery.


Image Information:

Edmund Teske, Kenneth Anger, Topanga Canyon

© Estate of Edmund Teske, Courtesy Gitterman Gallery

Tags:  Edmund Teske  Gitterman Gallery 

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New Home for Benrubi Gallery

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Benrubi Gallery is moving to 521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor.  The gallery is open by appointment only until the new space opens with an exhibition of work by Simon Norfolk, Stratographs on February 5, 2015.



Excerpt from a story on the series in the New York Times Magazine by Jon Mooallem:


This past October, the English photographer Simon Norfolk spent 18 days on Mount Kenya, camping in an old mountaineering hut at nearly 16,000 feet. Norfolk was there to document the gradual disappearance of one of the mountain’s many glaciers, the Lewis, which happens to be one of the most thoroughly surveyed tropical glaciers in the world. 


Norfolk was disturbed that the death of something so large could be taking place so stealthily. It was happening over the course of so many human generations that it was essentially invisible to any one of them. He trekked to the Lewis Glacier because he had come up with a way to reveal its drama, to burn right through the problematic lag between glacial and human time scales. In these photographs, he has used fire to draw the former boundaries of the ice. Collaborating with a nonprofit organization called Project Pressure, he overlaid GPS coordinates onto that historical data about the Lewis Glacier’s size and shape. This allowed him to plot out the vanished edges of the glacier on the actual landscape. He then slowly walked those lines, in the middle of the night, with a makeshift torch: a length of shaggy white carpet rolled into a wick, soaked in gasoline, strapped to a garden rake.


 Learn more about Benrubi Gallery, their new location, and program here.


 Read the full story on Simon Norfolk in the New York Times Magazine

Tags:  Bonni Benrubi Gallery 

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Review: Martin Weinstein Gallery in the Star Tribune

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Fashion Show


through January 17, 2014 



The exhibition is a poignant contextualization; it inspires reflection of our own favorite related imagery.  We experience these images and the visual banter between all the photographers of the genre.  Women were as much part of shaping fashion photography as men.  What we ask, as we look at so many well-chosen examples, is- how do they employ their attunement with their subjects? We are tempted to pickup on an understated but perceptible sense of empowerment and self-awareness.  These women feel both cunning and natural.  They also feel cast as more idol than object.   



Excerpt of the story by Mary Abbe:


“The Fashion Show,” organized by Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis, corrects [neglect] with 40 images by a dozen prominent female photographers whose work spans more than 75 years.


Gazing at their lush and beguiling photos, it’s tempting to look for psychological or stylistic differences between the sexes. 


Not necessarily, insisted Weinstein director Leslie Hammons, who gathered the pictures from galleries and artists’ archives around the country. After scrutinizing portfolios and careers of innumerable artists, including many she didn’t have room to exhibit, she cautioned against generalizations based on sexual stereotyping. Female photographers influenced their male counterparts, and vice versa, Hammons said. Photographing models in motion, taking them from studio to street, introducing film noir theatrics, or psychedelia, or humor — such innovations moved too quickly for anyone to claim exclusive ownership.


“The point is just to shine a light on this aspect of fashion photography — on women photographers working in the field,” Leslie Hammons, Director



Read the full review by Mary Abbe in the Star Tribune


View the works online at Martin Weinstein Gallery



Tags:  Martin Weinstein Gallery  Mary Abbe  Star Tribune 

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