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FOCUS on abstract photography at LG Tripp

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December 27, 2012   ·   6 Comments

Eric Porter, Insulation, Giclee Print, 17.5" x 26", Courtesy of LG Tripp Gallery

The FOCUS is on abstract photography at LG Tripp through January 12. It’s the fifth year that the gallery, better known for showing abstract painting, is holding its annual abstract photography exhibition. Each year FOCUS invites seven artists who are thinking about photography’s material qualities and its potential to work abstractly. Of the artists represented this year, Jennie Barrese and Ken Cushman are New York-based, while the remaining artists are all local.

Johanna Inman, Untitled #37, Archival Inkjet Print, 20″ x 20″, 2012 Courtesy LG Tripp Gallery

Mounted in shadow boxes, Johanna Inman’s close-up views of old books resemble objects. With their paper surfaces hidden behind glass, it isn’t immediately clear if they are photographs or another type of material. A watermark resembles an abstract painting, worn edges reveal new layers of color, and a soft focus or blur in areas gives the images a painterly quality. By choosing books as her subjects, Inman references the printed surface and the photograph as both image and object.

Christopher Kennedy, Candles, Digital dye sublimation print on aluminum, 24″ x 36″, 2012, Courtesy of LG Tripp Gallery

Christopher Kennedy, Ken Cushman, and Saga Moor are also thinking about photographic material. Their abstract photographs of light streaks point to light as photography’s main component. Both Kennedy and Cushman have printed their individual bodies of work on high gloss aluminum surfaces that reinforce the luminous quality of each piece. In addition to being printed on the glossy surface, Ken Cushman’s photographs are of crumpled pieces of aluminum that reflect the streaks of light and further abstract the image.

Ken Cushman, Number 17, Archival pigment print mounted, laminated on aluminum, 12″ x 18″, 2012, Courtesy of LG Tripp Gallery

David Sacks and Jennie Barrese are concerned with natural forms. Sacks preserves a vanishing landscape with his photograph, “Glacier Detail, El Calafante, Argentina.” Jennie Barrese photographs droplets suspended in liquid that recall microscopic components.

Jennie Barrese, My Sideways Kiss, Digital archival print, 20″ x 14″, 2006, Courtesy of LG Tripp Gallery

Favoring an up-close approach to abstraction, Eric Porter photographs various textures and patterns in the urban landscape to create his compositions.

Eric Porter, Insulation, Giclee Print, 17.5″ x 26″, 2012, Courtesy of LG Tripp Gallery

While all of the exhibiting artists are concerned with the material qualities of the photograph, Johanna Inman’s work succeeds by being the most ambiguous in terms of materials. By recognizing photographs as both images and objects, her work is the most thought provoking in the bunch.

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6 Responses to “FOCUS on abstract photography at LG Tripp”

  1. BoB says:

    These are beautiful and I love abstract photography, but I have a hard time relating to these algorithmic illustrations and calling it photography. I believe them to be “Algorithmic Works on Paper” made with apps,code,and programmed ink machines in order to have the images resemble or look like photographs. They are derivatives of photography, not photography…just saying.

  2. Hi BoB

    I’m glad you like the works you saw but I’m a little concerned that you might be mistaking my work for something other than it is. Candles and all of my Photo Luminism series are pictures captured in a single exposure entirely in camera. The images are of static points of light. They are probably more purist than the majority of pictures taken and published as there is no creative post work done at all. No apps, no code, no algorithms, nothing. Purely and simply light performing actions the human eye cannot see. There may not be anything recognisable as a concrete object but does not mean they are not abstract photography! My procedure is the same as any other photographer: I compose a subject and shoot for about a second. I hope this helps clarify my process and enables you to see my work in a different and more accurate light!

  3. Hi Bob,

    My work also is generated in a camera, not by algorithms in a computer, also in a single exposure. I’m photographing real things, water and oil in containers in this case but it could just as easily be a person or still life. It gets abstracted by taking it out of context. I do use retouching and Photoshop in my more recent works that you can see on my website but even in that case, I’m shooting real things (body parts) and combining them into compositions–almost like drawing with photographic imagery, not dissimilar to stacking negatives in the dark room to create new imagery.

    That being said, I think the discussion of photography (and art)and it’s relation to the digital world is always a valid one. I remember when I first started showing digital photography in art shows, other photographers would question it’s validity as “art.” Now digital prints are widely accepted as original art in the art world. It certainly has been and will continue to be an interesting journey and always worthy of debate, after all it is the job of art to question and challenge conventions!

  4. BoB says:

    Hi Jennie and Chris…..My apologies if my post was taken the wrong way and now I feel the need to add a bit of perspective and expansion.

    1. I have been doing photography for over fifty years on almost a daily basis. I still question if photography is art. I guess thats up to the dealers, intellectuals, and rating agents that now seem to outnumber practicing artists. For me, photography is my religion.

    2. I can’t imagine having the experience of creating a “transcendent” photograph without the interplay of the negative to create a positive using the pentagram of my 5 senses and the 5 elements/materials from nature. The interplay of the positive and negative, or as Freud would say “Conjunctio Oppositoriun”(conjunction of opposites) to produce a spark is the essence of the medium for me.

    3. I am more interested in how the photograph feels (manifestation of the “CO Experience”) than how it just looks. This was the concept of my retrospective last year at the Print Center along with lectures on these points at Tyler, UofA, and the Print Center. It was up for 4-5 months at great expense to both the Print Center and myself; and unfortunately, not covered at all (that I’m aware) in this artblogspot.

    4. I am working on a conceptual project now which is the opposite of the photographic process or my soul medium. We are recording the landmarks from the film the “Hunger Games” made with the scenes in the film from practically our backyards, solely with drone and digital technology to record the landscape/scene and us/me being a mile away; retrieving, editing, and printing algorithmically. I do feel I know the different uses and purposes of the illustrative imaging/photographic mediums and its as disparate as sculpture and painting.

    Hope that helps to clear up my statement and wish you all the best for 2013….Happy New Year !

  5. BoB says:

    Woops…forgot to enclose the link to the new interesting recording drone technology….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jplh7uatr-E

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