Comments/Context: In contrast to the plethora of safe, self contained and mildly conceptual projects we see throughout contemporary photography today, Brian Ulrich has taken on a monster of a challenge - making sense of the quintessential American reality of all-encompassing consumerism. This vast subject has already taken him in several different directions (the sales floor at big box stores, the back room at big box stores, the people of these environments) and this small show of new work is evidence that the topic has many more intriguing facets to be explored.
Ulrich's approach seems to borrow in equal parts from Lewis Baltz, Paul Graham, and Martin Parr: some deadpan frontal architectural pictures with an undertone of questionable sustainability, some more social documentary type images that ask deeper questions about the entire system and its effects on the people involved, and some works that use a subtle dose of carefully applied humor and irony to get at many of these same concerns. Any one of these approaches as applied to the subject might end up being too reductive; mixing the three together has brought forth a more complicated and multi-dimensional picture of the reality.
- Artist site (here)
- 2009 Guggenheim fellowship (here)
- Interviews: Chicagoist (here), Conscientious (here)
- Video interview (here)
Through July 3rd
535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011