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Review: Michael Kenna at Robert Mann Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 13, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014
DATE: March 13, 2008

In this recent body of work, photographer Michael Kenna takes on New York City at its most remote and dazzling. These black-and-white toned silver prints present an almost otherworldly metropolis, emptied of humans and therefore of some its more unsavory aspects.

Michael Kenna, Fifth Avenue, New York, 2006
Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery
Many of the well-known landmarks were here—the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the skyline, seen as a spiky strip framed by luminous sweeps of sky and water. Kenna is not afraid to go for high drama: the top of the Chrysler Building thrusts into a turbulent sky; an aerial view of Fifth Avenue at night is a dizzying amalgam of brilliant illumination and severe geometries. Nor does Kenna have any reservations about jousting with imagery made famous by his illustrious forebears.
Michael Kenna, Manhattan Skyline, New York, NY, USA, 2006
Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery
Homage to Kertész, Gramercy Park, New York (2003) recalls the snowy vistas captured by André Kertész in the 1950s. Shots of the Flatiron Building inevitably summon up Edaward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz. But Kenna makes the city his own by sticking to a fiercely unsentimental vision of its familiar monuments and formal majesty. Grand Central Station never looked lonelier or more elegantly austere than in the two images here of the ticket counters and a stairwell after hours.

Also in the show were images of Japan, Oregon and Mont-Saint-Michel in France. Again Kenna goes for the spectacular and the solitary. His scenes of Mon-Saint-Michel in varying weather and at different times of day are ghostly evocations of medieval grandeur; trees in a Japanese landscape are a spare haiku of black branches against a snowy ground. Though small in their dimensions, Kenna's prints packed a big and memorable wallop.

By Ann Landi
Originally published in the March 2008 issue of ArtNews

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Review: Amy Stein in Los Angeles, at Paul Kopeikin Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 6, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014
DATE: March 6, 2008

New York–based photographer Amy Stein has enjoyed a glittering career since completing her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in 2006. She appeared in a number of group shows immediately after graduating, won the 2006 Saatchi Gallery/Guardian Prize, has been named one of the world's top 15 emerging photographers by American Photo magazine, and won the Critical Mass Book Award. Now, Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles is hosting Stein's first solo show, "Domesticated," which runs through April 26.

"Howl" 2007. Copyright Amy Stein. Courtesy Paul
Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles.
The images in "Domesticated" are set in and around Matamoras, a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania on the edge of a state forest, and they typically depict encounters between animals and the local community. From the grizzly that mesmerizes a local girl in her backyard swimming pool to the wolf that howls crazily at a street light, the creatures in Stein's works exist somewhere between the wild and civilization, and appear no less compromised, nor confused, than the townsfolk who spot them. What makes the work so unforgettable is how it reveals the unresolved conflict between our yearning for kinship with nature's mysteries and our desire to bring everything that surrounds us under rational control. As they overturn trash cans or hide among the plants in a greenhouse, Stein's animals embody our internal conflicts between "comfort and fear, dependence and determination, and submission and dominance," describes the gallery. Indeed.

Once you've been to Paul Kopeikin, here are Amy Stein's selections for other shows to see in L.A. this weekend:

1. André Kertész: Seven Decades at the Getty Center, through April 13

"André Kertész has taken so many amazing pictures you almost take them for granted. His images can be subtle or grand, but they are never without a compelling narrative and a profound sense of drama."

2. Hiromi Tsuchida: Photographs, 1969–2004 at Michael Dawson Gallery, through March 29

"Hiromi's black-and-white images from the '60s and '70s remind me of Garry Winogrand. These stunning photos bring a street immediacy to everyday lives in rural and urban Japan."

3. The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide at the Getty Center, through April 13

"Graciela Iturbide was born into privilege, and her curiosity and appetite seem to have evolved in reaction to that upbringing. Her subjects exist on the periphery of Mexican culture, but Graciela doesn't approach them as mere novelties. Her striking photos elevate them to a crucial position within the nation's collective memory."

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Review: Mark Riboud at Howard Greenberg Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 21, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014
DATE: February 21, 2008

Only Paris can compete with New York as a center for photography. In the middle years of the 20th century, many photographers came to Paris from abroad – Man Ray, Brassai, Lee Miller, Robert Capa - but a remarkable cohort of native Frenchmen added to a tradition that went back to Louis Daguerre's discovery of photography in 1839.

Complete article from The New York Sun, Thursday, February 21, 2008:

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Review: Tsuchida's Camera Changes its Focus at Michael Dawson Gallery

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 8, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014
DATE: February 8, 2008

In spite of Japan's long and rich photographic history, barely a handful of the country's practitioners are widely known in the U.S.: Eikoh Hosoe, Shomei Tomatsu, Daido Moriyama, Hiroshi Sugimoto and perhaps a few more. The Michael Dawson Gallery introduces another, Hiromi Tsuchida. Tsuchida (b. 1939) has chronicled Japanese culture through numerous projects, focusing on gay men, identical twins, the survivors and landscape of Hiroshima, traditional costumes and people at parties.

Hiromi Tsuchida Tokamachi, 1997. Chromogenic
Light Jet Print
His first solo show in L.A. begins with work from 1969 and stretches nearly to the present, in 17 photographs from three distinct series. The show's broad span and compact size work against each other a bit, but an intriguing sensibility emerges, especially from the early prints.

The series excerpted in the show trace an arc from authenticity to artifice, from the intimate and rural to the predominantly urban and communal. The newest pictures are the most accessible, as they document a familiar kind of social phenomenon -- the mass event. Whether the participants are climbing on dunes overlooking the Sea of Japan or frolicking at a faux Swiss chalet water park, their individual identities are suppressed. The prints are large and abuzz with vivid, synthetic color.

Contrast that with the small, grainy, black-and-white photographs from the earliest series, "Zokushin," or "Gods of the Earth." In one of the most compelling pictures, from 1973, a priest dressed in white but for sunglasses and wristwatch stands on the rugged slope of Mt. Fuji, walking stick in hand. A few crates of empty bottles rest nearby on the dark, volcanic terrain, the profane cluttering the sacred. A shroud of mist pushes into the frame from above. Tsuchida's stare of searching intimacy is perfectly mirrored in the priest's stance. Over time, the personal tone -- tenderness, even -- in such early pictures gives way to a more sociological detachment, as Tsuchida's focus shifts from the idiosyncratic and regional to the homogenized crowd. Not only the subjects, but the pictures too, are less distinctive.

By Leah Ollman
For The Los Angeles Times

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John Cleary

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 1, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014
DATE: February 1, 2008

From the Houston Chronicle, Wednesday, January 30, 2008:

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