Disappear Here: Current Photography in Los Angeles
through January 28th
Durden and Ray, Los Angeles
By Patrick Quinn
Most art forms, whether it be music, dance, or literature, have illustrious histories that go back for centuries. The notion of considering a photo as a work of art, however, is relatively new. But then again, so is photography.
The first fixed image was captured in the mid-1820’s by Nicephore Niepce, a French inventor. A variety of specialized cameras followed before the Eastman Company introduced the Kodak Brownie Camera in 1901. That was the moment photography became available to the world. One year later, photographer Alfred Stieglitz formed the Photo Secession in New York City.
The group’s shows and publications firmly advocated the view that photography was indeed art. Jump ahead just a few decades and you have stunning landscapes taken by Ansel Adams alongside the surrealistic images of Man Ray. Today there are major international photo art fairs such as Photo Basel and Paris Photo, and photographers such as Cindy Sherman are feted with career retrospectives at the Broad Museum and other respected institutions.
In some ways, photography has not only caught up with other art forms, it has surpassed them. Anyone with a cellphone can take a photo, post it on Facebook and be viewed by millions in a matter of moments. Just as quickly, the image is replaced by another and soon forgotten. For an image to have any lasting impact, it must have something to say besides, “look at me.”
The current exhibit at Durden and Ray features seven artists who do just that. This is a strong show that features intriguing and provocative work. Curator Curtis Stage has assembled a gallery full of images that stand alone as well as complement each other. Each artist has a clear idea of what their work has to say.
Nicole Belle – “It’s important to me also that I am both performer and photographer and therefore trapped between doing and recording. I’m both an audience who can’t see and an actor who can’t participate.”
Anita Bunn – “My work seeks out the subtle shifts in perception that occur over time and through repetition, allowing for different ways of looking at an object and crystallizing the complexity and nuance that exist within a seemingly simple construct.”
Brian Thomas Jones – “Transitions is a series of images that blur the distinction between photography, painting and printmaking. Presenting the image with matte ink on watercolor paper in a large format offers the viewer an opportunity to perceive the image as any one of the three.”
Heather Rasmussen – The artist relays through photographs and sculptures her interest in what it is to have a body as a woman and as a dancer, and what it is to live among a messy accumulation of things.
Curtis Stage – “Seemingly around every corner there is often a collision of aesthetic choices that were never ‘collaborative’ in that time usually separated the development. This usually creates the very unplanned feel of the LA area where an organic dance of growth and decay are accepted. If we slow down and look deeper there is unique evidence of ‘the story’ in each place.”
Sinziana Velicescu – Her photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change.
Joe Wolek – His projects have focused on the changing aspects of localized culture from the impact of globalization, the diminishing affluence and power of the middle class in the United States and the rise of nostalgia as a societal force.