The Committee + AKArt Opens THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW Today
The Committee + AKArt are pleased to present The Photography Show, a group show of works by Janine Gordon, Allie Pohl, Sepideh Salehi, Marielis Seyler, Aiden Simon, Philip Smith, Michael Tharp, and Shadi Yousefian. The images included in The Photography Show seek to expand and reframe the boundaries of the medium by presenting new, experimental perspectives and commentary on gender, identity, and the photographic process itself. On view at Site/109, located at 109 Norfolk Street, from tonight, December 11 through December 20, 2014, the opening reception will take place tonight, December 11, 2014 from 6 to 9 pm. The Photography Show is made possible with the support of Perrier. Featured artists include Janine Gordon, a multi-media artist whose work focuses on the fringe: on risk-taking and thrill-seeking in various subcultural factions in society. During the 90s, she explored-through borderline experiences-the rap, graffiti, and punk rock music communities. From the ecstatic desire which inspires people to throw themselves in passionate rages of mosh pits to the fascination of pseudo sexual motorcycle stunts, to the rugged lifestyle of gangs of Brazilian glue-sniffers, the underlying essence is the element of "bonding" within each of the specific subcultures and the experience of living life on the edge. Gordon works different media into her artistic practice, such as photography, painting, video, or music in an exploration of social, political, and creative frontiers. Gordon has a Master's Degree in Fine Art from New York University. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally and was included in the 2001 Whitney Biennial. In Los-Angeles based conceptual artist Allie Pohl's Hot Seat series, the artist traverses restrooms of iconic Los Angeles locations such as the Gagosian Gallery, Soho House, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Mr. Chow, and In-N-Out Burger, among others. Commenting on the discrepancy between what is 'public' and that which is 'private' in today's self-promoting social media environment, Pohl comments "I have recently been thinking about rituals that we do everyday but that we don't necessarily think about or concentrate on. Hot Seat gives the viewer a glimpse into one of a woman's most personal acts." Pohl's work often explores the social and cultural constructions of contemporary Western society. In 2010, Pohl created the Ideal Womanby digitally enhancing Barbie to fit Western society's ideal female measurements of 36-24-36. This avatar symbolizes anti-perfection and is repeated throughout Pohl's work in sculpture, video, ceramic, installation, and neon. In an effort to continue the conversation outside of galleries and museums, Pohl has made her work more accessible through the Ideal Womanjewelry line and sticker packs-which will be available at The Photography Show. Pohl's unique aesthetic has placed her in collections with Julian Opie, Nick Cave, Marilyn Minter, and Damien Hirst.
Sepideh Salehi's mixed-media photographic pieces respond to the image of the veil and the tradition of concealing the body, and to imagery based on a Muslim prayer stone with an image etched on its surface. Born in Tehran, Salehi's childhood was marked by the tumultuous times of the Islamic revolution and Iran-Iraq war of the l970s and l980s. As a woman, she was especially affected by the socio-political changes caused by the heightened consciousness of Islam and the religious fervor that swept the country. Salehi ultimately left Iran to study art in Italy, later moving to the United States.
Austrian artist, Marielis Seyler's photographs, through process and content-using sheer paper in her Transparency series, or selecting pop culture references as subjects-explore the duality of the boundaries between nature and mankind, and the public and private acts we conceal, unveil, or project. The artist's use of imagery reflects our interior and external life, weaving a story through symbolic imagery, creating a narrative that pokes, prods, and laughs, albeit derisively, at our environmental and psychological plight. Her international solo exhibitions include shows at Gallery Exner, Vienna/Austria; Arte Bologna, Bologna/Italy; Apicella Gallery Cologne, Germany; Galerie Charles de Rose Paris, France; Vernon Gallery Prague, Czech Republic; SOHO20Chelsea, New York, USA; Gallery Man Reykjavik, Iceland; a retrospective at the National Gallery Prague, Czech Republic; and a project with the Museum Ludwig Cologne, Germany.
Aiden Simon's Twin Lakes series is an attempt to grapple with issues he faced as he began to go through puberty in a body that was not his own. As a sexually abused child trapped in a girl's body, Simon didn't feel that he had agency over his own skin. His body was being betrayed from the outside, and it was betraying him from the inside. By staging himself as a pre-pubescent child in this photographic series, he owns and controls his own objectification. Accused of being seductive when he confronted his abuser, he photographs himself, questioning the idea of children as seducers. In order to also confront his own fear of becoming a perpetrator, he photographs another subject, 'Daniel,' as a young boy. By photographing himself with the subject, he is at once the objectifier, Daniel's object, and the viewer's. These photographs are an attempt to locate himself within these trajectories.
Philip Smith's pictographic work was first seen in the seminal Pictures exhibition, curated by Douglas Crimp at Artists Space-which also included Robert Longo, Sherrie Levine, Troy Brauntuch, and Jack Goldstein. These five artists established the movement that has become known as The Pictures Generation, that now includes Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Laurie Simmons, and many others. Since Smith began painting, he has taken thousands of photographs of images ranging from old magic manuals and physics books, to medical literature, menus, and advertisements. More often than not, these photographic negatives served as image sources for his paintings. Painter James Nares visited Smith's studio, and was curious about these black-and-white film negatives that had acquired a thick patina of paint just by being in the studio. When Smith explained that they were his image library, Nares suggested they were photographic works in themselves and should be printed as such. Smith had the original 35mm negatives scanned, and as a result of the paint, scratches, and cracks that have accumulated on the negatives, the computer assigned random, vibrant, psychedelic colors at the screen-misreading the surface depth of the negatives. The accidental results are printed as is. Smith's work has been included in both the Whitney and Beijing Biennial and is in the permanent collection of the Whitney, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Miami Art Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Art, among others. Michael Tharp's Google Search Screen series are some of the first works to expand the definition of traditional photography into the realm of the screen capture. The focus on one word-and only one word-Google searches and the first page of corresponding 'image results' draws attention not only to word/image denotation, but also to the redrawing of cultural and informational norms via the Internet. Google has in the 21st century become the new accepted and accessible transitory repository of "knowledge" and thus the algorithmic arbiter of the collective Jungian archetype or Platonic ideal-complete with the tension between commercial/academic and high/low-brow prisms. The screen capture's elegant, simple, regimented, and organized presentations belie the computative, selective, and sometimes manipulated input that now generates-and increasingly defines-our experiences and cultural identities. Tharp's overall body of work involves the interplay between perception, sense-making, belief, semiotics, and ready acceptance of socially-constructed 'norms.' He concentrated in the History of Ideas at Princeton University, and has exhibited at Marianne Boesky Gallery, Family Business, Anonymous Gallery, ShowWorld, Sundance, Eyebeam, and The Seattle Center of Contemporary Art. Shadi's Yousefian's work speaks to personal and social issues of contemporary life, especially that of cultural identity. She expresses her experience as an Iranian immigrant in the United States, addressing issues that also reflect the universal experience of immigrants around the world. Despite her academic background in photography, in many of her works such as her Self-Portraits series, she has merely explored photography as a medium for self expression rather than photographic representation of her subject matter. Working directly with film negatives, she has created "negative collages" from which her final photographic prints are made. Later, she began to move towards using mixed media and combining photographic prints with other materials such as wood panels, glue, canvas, and light boxes to create larger and more sculptural pieces. In her most current works such as the Letters and Memories series, she has moved away from a spontaneous expressionistic approach to image-making toward an intentionally minimalistic and repetitive approach.