Oct. 10, 2014
FRI. OCT. 10: 11am–7:30 pm
Photography in Dialogue: Landscapes
1 pm: Film: Somewhere to Disappear, With Alec Soth, 2011 (57 mins), by Laure Flammarion and Arnaud Uyttenhove — Response by Artist Matthew Porter, New York.
3 pm: Conversation between Artist Elena Dorfman, Los Angeles,and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites, 21c Museum Hotel. Moderated by Curator and Art Dealer Damon Brandt, New York.
4:30 pm: Conversation between Artist David Benjamin Sherry and Associate Curator Elizabeth Siegel, Art Institute of Chicago. Moderated by FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore.
6 pm: Keynote Address by Jeff L. Rosenheim—Shadow and Substance: Photography and the American Civil War
Jeff L. Rosenheim is Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
“Images of soaring muscle cars digitally inserted into sunset scenes of crested city streets,” are what Loring Knoblauch argues has typified Matthew Porter’s previous work. His current work contrasts with the metaphorical tough-guy depictions. Now, “Porter’s collage-like images mix both three dimensional forms and two dimensional silhouettes, disrupting our sense of order with their constantly changing scale. Tiny gears, keys, and miniature designer chairs become larger than expected.” Matthew Porter received a MFA in 2006 from International Center of Photography-Bard, New York, and was awarded “The John Bard Award for Excellence in Photography.” His work has been exhibited worldwide and, in 2012, was selected for a group exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He was invited as a featured artist for the SCOPE Miami Art Fair 2008, and his work has appeared in national and international publications, including his listing among “30 New and Emerging Photographers in 2003” in Photo District News. Matthew Porter lives and works in Brooklyn.
Empire Falling — artist Elena Dorfman’s most recent series of photographs— brings to the fore layered conceptual landscape images featuring abandoned and reclaimed rock quarries of the Midwest — quarries in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. This series may seem a departure from her previous works, which have explored the cultural, social and sexual practices of marginalized communities. As in the past, this project, too, "began as a sociological exploration of the communities that gather at quarries to jump from rocky precipices into water." Then these landscapes evolved. Wrought over several years, they became a contemporary view of an ancient though evolving survey of land. “Manipulating and reconstructing the landscape, I reassemble and layer the images emulating the natural process of stratum on stratum.” Born in Boston, with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, Ms. Dorfman now lives in Los Angeles.
Alice Gray Stites
As vice president and museum director of 21c Museum Hotels, Alice Gray Stites also serves as director and chief curator of 21c Museum, North America’s first multi-venue museum dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting art from this century. Ms.Stites curates site-specific installations, rotating exhibitions and a range of cultural programming at the 21c Museum Hotels located in Louisville, Cincinnati and Bentonville. In this capacity, Ms. Stites curated the current exhibition, Hybridity: the New Frontier as well as others, including Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Wild Card; The Art of Michael Combs, A Fifteen-Year Survey; Blue: Matter, Mood, and Melancholy; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion. Prior to joining 21c in 2012, Alice Gray Stites was director of artwithoutwalls, a non-profit, non-collecting public arts organization, and, from 1995–2006, was adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum. She holds an MA from Columbia University.
Curator, art advisor and fine arts dealer with more than thirty-five years of experience, Damon Brandt specializes in Modern and Contemporary Art and Ancient Tribal Cultures. Over the years he has founded Damon Brandt Gallery (1984) in Soho; Damon Brandt Arts, Inc. (1992) for helping develop private collections; and the Salt Mine Projects, an umbrella company that supervises the development of his multi-media and curatorial projects, a natural extension of his collaboration with personnel and talent both within and outside of the art field.
David Benjamin Sherry
David Benjamin Sherry grew up in the Catskill Mountains, but it was the terrain of the American West — Yosemite National Park and Death Valley particularly — that inspired him. His 8x10-inch camera is large like his landcapes with prints that extend 70x90 inches. As impressive as his subjects and image sizes, Mr. Sherry's use of rich saturant color is more so. The color, a darkroom technique he perfected while a student at Yale, “acts as a vehicle to emotional response and intensity that is already in the landscape,” he offered for David Rosenberg's Behold blog article for Slate. “That’s my intention of it, a type of enhanced reality.” The "unnatural hues" also suggest what New Yorker-contributor Amy Connors describes as "humans’ distortive impact" on topographies. David Benjamin Sherry received his MFA from Yale University. His Western Romance is on view at the FotoFocus 1500 Elm Street Gallery through November 1.
Associate Curator of Photography Elizabeth Siegel, of the Art Institute of Chicago, is currently working on a major exhibition on the history and aesthetics of 3D photography and film. Her recent exhibitions and publications include: Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door, a retrospective traveling to the J. Paul Getty Museum and High Museum of Art; Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls and Masks, which traveled to the de Young Museum, San Francisco, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Playing with Pictures; Taken by Design: Photography at the Institute of Design, 1937–1971; and, most recently, Galleries of Friendship and Fame: A History of Nineteenth-Century American Photograph Albums. Ms. Siegel juried the Joyce Elaine Grant Exhibition at Texas Woman's University earlier this year. She received PhD from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Yale University.
Jeff L. Rosenheim
Last year at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Jeff L. Rosenheim’s landmark exhibition and accompanying publication, Photography and the American Civil War (April 2–September 2, 2013), the evolving role of photography in the Civil War (1861–65) was revealed in over 200 images. To great critical acclaim. Ken Johnson of The New York Times wrote that “it would be hard to improve on the show’s comprehensive scope.” In his keynote address for FotoFocus Biennial 2014, Shadow and Substance: Photography and the American Civil War, Mr. Rosenheim offers additional insight and poignant images from a war in which over 1,000 photographers captured the battlefield and home-front experience of Lincoln, Grant, Lee as well as unnamed soldiers, slaves and doctors with this emerging image-maker, photography.