The Photo Show
May 7, 2017
Opening reception: March 29, 2017, 6-8pm
Katherine Newbegin, Lothar Osterburg, Philip Perkis, Keisha Scarville
The Photo Show presents a cross-generational selection of four artists working in a variety of processes within the photographic medium. The exhibition highlights work produced in methods ranging from the traditional gelatin silver prints of Philip Perkis, each print is as much an object as it is a photograph; to the photogravures of Lothar Osterburg, a process dating back to the 1820’s of printing from a photographic image etched into a copper plate; the medium-format long exposure interiors of Katherine Newbegin which are rich with color and express painterly undertones; and the digitally captured self-portraits of Keisha Scarville which explore the role of the camera in apprehending and reconstructing a memory. Consistent throughout is the sophisticated influence of the ‘hand’ of each artist through the camera’s lens and a stillness and introspection that comes from capturing a moment in time.
Katherine Newbegin’s photographs explore vacant and long unused places of leisure, travel and transitional occupancy. All of these spaces are deeply informed by the traces of the human activities that had once taken place there and now linger only in the remnants left behind. Newbegin photographs with film on a Pentax 6 x 7 medium-format camera using only natural lighting. This, along with her use of color and compositional intelligence, give her photographs an ethereal glow and a painterly quality. By leaving her camera lens open for minutes at a time, Newbegin is able to capture the remnants of human existence in extraordinary detail, exposing the patina left behind on these once treasured rooms.
Lothar Osterburg makes photogravures of hand sculpted models of cities, subways, lighthouses, and sailboats among other things, staged in evocative settings. Built from memory with readily available materials, the models have a dreamlike quality which is enhanced by the placement of the camera within their world—the perspective is that of a person within a set—obscuring the actual size of the objects. The viewer, drawn into the scene, fills the gap created by the absence of people. The smallest models are photographed through a magnifying glass or with a macro lens. With this extremely short focal range, the scenes become ambiguous, mysterious, or even ominous, while somehow retaining the playful quality typical of Osterburg’s hand.
Keisha Scarville uses digital photography as a way through which she can explore and satisfy her desire to deconstruct reality and connect to her past. Her recent body of work explores the experience of absence and the camera's role in visualizing that which cannot be seen, but can be felt. The photographs present Scarvilles’ own body cloaked in her mother’s clothes engaged in a process of visual excavation: exploring both landscapes and the body to address questions of belonging. The resulting images serve as visual meditations on loss, memory and obscurity and act as a visual place where the artist can conjure her mothers’ presence while using her own body as a medium.
Philip Perkis has been making photographs for 60 years. His prints, which are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA, explore the everyday scenes of his travels. Presented in this exhibition are a selection of landscapes and interiors spanning from 1979 to 2005 depicting scenes ranging from upstate New York to Israel, and Mexico. Perkis often returns several times to each location, his photographs serving as poetic documents or short statements about each place and the moment he chose to capture. His proficiency in the darkroom gives his prints a sensitivity close to drawing. Perkis believes that the best way to look at a photograph is to hold it up close in your hands, and while you can’t do that with the works in the gallery, there is still an intimate quality to them that draws you in and asks you to hold yourself for a moment, within the scene.