Friday, September 5, 2008

Openings and New Project

It seems this week/weekend everyone is having an opening.

Last night Counter-Photography–Japan's Artists Today opened at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio. I was lucky enough to be in the area this week and was able to see a preview of the show. I fell in love with two artist's work–Hiroko Inoue's “Absence” and Tomoko Yoneda's, “topological analogy”.

Hiroko Inoue took a collection of photographs of the outside world as viewed through the windows from the inside of mental institutions. Most of the works are of iron-barred windows. She collected the images as she traveled and talked to the staff and patients of each mental institution she visited. She explained the reason for taking the photographs and persuaded them to give her permission. Her aim is not to create the typical visual world of people who live in confinement due to their sicknesses. Rather, she recomposes the scene viewed from the window – normally seen by the patients -- through her own eyes. Therefore, after the process of printing the images directly on cloths, the windows which appear on light-boxes, are not the windows viewed by the Other but are those viewed with her own eyes. Her work is similar to having a dialogue with the other’s visual world, but also contains the artist’s memory and physical nature.

Tomoko Yoneda takes photographs of the wallpaper of a room after the resident has moved out. In the empty room, she retraces the past time of the former resident. The wallpaper acts as the phase of the border in order to be led to retrace the time. Nothing specific about the former resident can actually be perceived from her photographs, such as the documentation on his/her life in the room, physical existence and thoughts. In other words, she excludes the substantial elements normally found in a person. What is important for the artist is the fact that a certain period of time had accumulated in the space. Her work tells the story that the accumulations of time had steadily been stored in different rooms, and that a room exists in parallel with other rooms, and all in a similar fashion. The viewers are led to realize that what they feel from her work is the essence of existences.

The show runs through October 19, 2008 so make sure to make your way there.

Opening tonight in Houston is Soft Head at Peel Gallery including the work of Sharon Engelstein, my partner Gary Schott and other's. Reception is from 6-9pm.

And if you are in New York don't forget about Alicia Ross's first solo show at Black and White Gallery.


And back to Texas for a must see show opening Saturday is Sean Perry's show Fairgrounds at Stephen Clark Gallery in Austin. Sean like myself splits his time between New York and Austin. I never had the pleasure of meeting Sean in Austin but we met last summer in New York outside Jen Beckmen Gallery. As a gallery goer if you are tired of seeing digitally manipulated prints, printed on inkjet paper, then this is the show for you. Sean still shoots and prints old school as we like to sometimes call it. I myself prefer to shoot film. There is something so magical about composing an image, working with polaroids and carefully managing how many shots you take. And then seeing the film developed and making the first print. I hate to miss this opening and see Sean. Fairgrounds runs through October 8, 2009.

New Project:
While all this is happening I will be working on a new photographic project in Texas. I am attending the annual Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation camp with my youngest brother David who has NF 1. I hope to begin a new medical series on children and young adults afflicted by this life long disease and raise awareness through the project as well as feature the most amazing people you might ever meet. If you are unfamiliar with NF please follow the link or simply google the name. My brother like many NF sufferers undergoes yearly surgeries to remove tumors which increase in size and grow at the end of his nerves. David was born with hundreds of tumors and as he grows certain tumors have rapid growth and interfere with walking and daily activities. These tumors need to be removed and rehabilitation is sometimes needed. It is a life-long challenge. Together with the help of my brother, Cindy Hahn president of the Texas NF Foundation and others I hope to make a beautiful photographic series and book honoring everyone with NF and their families.