I'm in a group show at Artipelag in Sweeden curated by Peter Galassi. Here's the details: Land Meets Water - European and American Photography from 1860 to the Present May 29, 2015 - September 27, 2015
Gold – one of the most precious metals – is often considered the standard by which other valuables are compared. In photography however, many consider the platinum process to be the most exquisite and luxurious. Expensive to produce platinum prints are coveted for the luscious matte surface texture, subtle range of tones, delicate rendering of the image, and beautiful colors (from a cool, slate grey to rich, warm browns). Patented in 1873, platinum prints (and their close cousin, palladium prints) have been produced nearly constantly, right to the present. At different stages in the medium’s history, the platinum process has been used to achieve different artistic goals. All that Glitters is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography presents platinum photographs from the collection of the Center for Creative Photography, including works by Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, William E. Macnaughtan, Peter Henry Emerson, Dick Arentz and more. They are organized chronologically to illustrate the distinct phases of use and how photographers worked with this beautiful printing process.
In photography, platinum prints (and their close cousins, palladium prints) are valued for their velvet matte surface, subtle range of tones, delicate rendering of the image, and colors which vary from cool greys to warm, rich browns. Patented in 1873, the platinum process has been used nearly consistently to the present. Along with other historic processes, platinum printing is one of many options available to today’s photographers. Yet even as digital photography becomes predominant, some photographers have gravitated to the platinum process for its analogue appeal, despite its expense and the labor it requires.
Although many photographers experiment with the platinum process, few have explored the medium as extensively as Lois Conner, Scott Davis, Kenro Izu and Andrea Modica. Each of these four photographers have produced extensive bodies of work in platinum, exploiting the particular characteristics of the materials to produce innovative and compelling prints.
PLATINUM: Contemporary Photography is presented in conjunction with the exhibition All That Glitters is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography, on view in the Phoenix Art Museum’s Norton Gallery from November 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015.
Image Above: Lois Conner, Navajo Reservation, Bluff, Utah, 1992. Platinum/palladium print.
Gitterman Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of platinum prints by Lois Conner. The exhibition will open Wednesday, September 10th, from 6 to 8 p.m. with a reception for the artist and book signing for her recent publication, Beijing: Contemporary and Imperial (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014) and continue through Saturday, November 15th.
This exhibition includes images made during Lois Conner's travels throughout the world: from the Badlands in South Dakota to Cappadocia, Turkey; from the rooftops of New York City to the rooftops of Ganden Monastery in Tibet; from the mountains of Guilin, China to the Louisiana bayou. Conner’s work encourages the viewer to explore the similarities and nuances of our world. Though we are shown a moment in time of a specific place, her images invite us to consider the history of that place, its culture and its connection to other places. Conner describes her process:
"What I am trying to reveal through photography in a deliberate yet subtle way is a sense of history. I would like my photographs to describe my relationship between the tangible and the imagined, between fact and fiction. I’m a born traveler and adventurer, and an obsessive collector and observer of landscape, attempting to twist what the camera faithfully describes into something of fiction."
Lois Conner knew she wanted to be an artist at the age of six. At nine she was photographing with a 2 ¼ camera given to her by her father. From the age of 20, Conner worked for the UN for 13 years where she was exposed to a multitude of cultures, inspiring her to later explore those worlds. While at Yale (MFA 1981), she took an Art History class in Chinese landscape painting. It was there, studying the hand and hanging scrolls of the Ming Dynasty, that she first began to think of the possibilities of the elongated format for her own work. In an attempt to make her work both larger and more narrative, Conner switched to the 7x17 inch banquet camera from the 8x10 in 1982.
"The extended sweep of the panorama allows me to draw on multiple levels, much as cinema does, and to take something of the immediate present, and layer that with something from a few centuries before. The large format camera can draw the particular in minute detail. Like adjectives in a sentence, they allow the viewer to look closer, engaging them in the little world contained by the frame."
Conner first went to China on a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984 and has returned every year since. The stories told by her maternal grandmother, who was Cree, have inspired Conner to explore the American West with a focus on the Native American Reservations. She has made trips west annually since 1989 and crossed America seven times in her Ford pick-up truck, camping along the way.
In the fall of 2012 Conner’s work was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in theChinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats exhibition. Solo exhibitions include the recent traveling exhibition Beijing: Contemporary and Imperial at the Cleveland Art Museum in Ohio;Beijing: Unfurling the Landscape in Canberra, Australia; Searching for Van Gogh in Dali, China (2013); Drawing the Land in Hangzhou, China (2012); and Beijing Building (2011) in London, as well as inclusion in Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, the first exhibition in the renovated Photography Gallery at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). Her museum collections include: the Art Institute of Chicago; National Gallery of Australia; The British Library; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; The Getty Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. Recent publications include: Beijing Building (Rossi & Rossi, London, 2011). Twirling the Lotus(Rossi and Rossi London, 2007), Life in a Box (Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong, 2010), and China: The Photographs of Lois Conner (Callaway, 2000).
Landscape photographer Lois Conner is known for the elegant platinum prints she’s made over three decades of photographing in China, which she first visited in 1984 on a Guggenheim Fellowship. (Her book,Beijing: Contemporary and Imperial, was published this year by Princeton Architectural Press.) The works on view at the Gitterman Gallery through November 15, however, are evidence of a consistency of vision no matter where Conner sets up camp, whether it is the Badlands in South Dakota, a Louisiana swamp, urban rooftops, or pondside, where she’s photographed lily pads floating on the still, velvety surface of the water.
Because the works on view are all platinum prints in greys and inky blacks, and because they were all made with a banquet camera, which elongates the images (they are either 7 by 17 inches or 17 by 7), they tend to have the formal, reserved qualities of Chinese scroll paintings, even if the subject is a twisted tree in the Bronx Botanical Garden. The shared qualities of these exquisite prints – the nearly cloudless grey skies standing in for blank canvases, the unpeopled scenes, the deep shadows and highly detailed texture of each image – can make it difficult to focus on the distinctive characteristics of each place.
The Long View is showing until November 15, 2014 at Gitterman Gallery in New York.
The distinctive elongated format of the American photographer’s beautiful platinum prints is well-suited to her signature subject: landscape. Conner’s sweeping vistas of mountains and valleys recall classic nineteenth-century views of the American West, and the pictures here, made over the past twenty years, include examples taken in Arizona, Utah, and South Dakota. They are juxtaposed with images of Tibet, Turkey, and China, as well as less picturesque but equally subtle shots of New York rooftops and a Louisiana back yard. Through Nov. 15.
September 10 – November 15 Gitterman Gallery
"Lois Conner calls herself a collector of landscapes. The fascination started in childhood, when she was mesmerized by the panoramas she glimpsed on family road trips. But it turned into an artistic mission over the last three decades as she traveled through China with her view camera in search of images layered with detail and history.
And to think, her life’s work started almost by accident."
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