Friday, June 12, 2009

Transmutations, Abstraction in Nature @Mazzeo

JTF (just the facts): A group show of five different photographers: Caleb Charland (3 images), Christian Erroi (7), Yong Hee Kim (6), Sebastian Lemm (6), and Chris McCaw (6), hung in the entry and main gallery space. Charland's works come in two sizes (29x36 and 18x23), in editions of 5 and 10 respectively, and were made in 2008-2009. Erroi's works are Kodak Enduraclear on Plexiglas and digital c-prints, in three sizes (7x11, 17x17, and 20x30) in editions of 10, 5, and 7 respectively, all made in 2008. Kim's works are Kodak metallic c-prints, in two sizes (18x18 and 40x40) in editions of 10 and 7 respectively, made in 2004-2005. Lemm's works are pigment ink prints in three sizes (15x12, 30x24, and 60x48) in editions of 5, 5, and 3 respectively, all made in 2008, and McCaw's works are unique gelatin silver paper negatives in a variety of sizes (10x8, 14x11, 12x20, and 24x20), all from 2008. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: The tight group show now on view at Michael Mazzeo is an exploration of a narrow slice of abstraction in contemporary photography, the complex use of natural forms and processes being the common theme to these particular works and artists.

While I found all of the works in the exhibit intellectually thought provoking (how could the use of bacteria in the emulsion, direct images of the sun, and swirling flora embedded in sculptural blocks of Lucite not be intriguing at some level?), the two standout sets of work to my eyes came from Sebastian Lemm and Chris McCaw.

In Lemm's series Strata (image top right), the artist builds up dense black and white images composed of thinly layered tree branches, taking Harry Callahan's multiple exposure tree pictures to their ultimate end point. The works have a delicate, all-over line drawing effect.

McCaw's solarized works are made via extended time exposures of the sun, creating burns, scrapes and scars on the paper (image at right, bottom). Spots and trails of light skim across otherwise darkened skies. What I like about these works is the feeling of the process almost out of control; instead of a run of the mill photogram, these images have crossed the line, gotten burned or charred, and therefore become something altogether more real.

Overall, I found this to be a well edited show of complementary artists, each working along the outer edges of photography, exploring how process and abstraction come together.

Collector's POV: Here's a quick rundown on all the prices: Charland's works are priced either at $1500 or $2500 based on size; Erroi's works are priced between $1700 and $4000; Kim's works are either $2200 or $4000, again based on size; Lemm's works range from $800 to $6000 based on size, and McCaw's works are priced between $2000 and $6000.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • Caleb Charland artist site (here)
  • Christian Erroi artist site (here)
  • Yong Hee Kim artist site (here)
  • Sebastian Lemm artist site (here)
  • Chris McCaw artist site (here)
Transmutations, Abstraction in Nature
Through June 20th

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001


Dalton said...

I really enjoyed this show too. And funnily enough, we even picked out the same two photographers as the highlight.



I checked out your review. We were clearly of the same mind...