April 21 - June 08, 2008
Photographic Visions: The Art of Seeing
Works by Margaret Bourke-White, Edward Burtynsky, Mark Citret, Bruce Davidson, Bedrich Grunzweig, Eikoh Hosoe, Peter Keetman, William Klein, Eric Lindbloom, H.K. Shigeta, Minor White
at the Center
This exhibition brings together photographs that underscore the diversity and expressive possibilities of the medium. These photographs do not share common methods, subjects, or styles. Rather, through the juxtaposition of diverse works, the subjectivity of the individual photographers emerges—their perspectives, struggles, techniques, and obsessions. This exhibition beckons the viewer to look beyond the images, and to interrogate the meaning, importance, and functioning of the photographs, and photography more generally, evoking questions such as: What do the methods of photographic abstraction tell us about human visual perception? Has photography altered the experience and practice of human memory? Does a photograph do the work of consciousness, making a chaotic and unlabelled world more ordered and intelligible? Is contemporary society possible without photography? This exhibition coincides with the roundtable The Psycho-Neurology of the Photographic Arts, which sets out to explore photography from multiple perspectives—practical, critical, historical, psychological, and neuro-physiological—in an attempt to overcome reductivist and narrow interpretations of photography.
Edward Burtynsky's large format photographs are subtle abstractions of color and form that portray extreme environmental degradation. Bedrich Grunzweig, William Klein, and Bruce Davidson provide diverse, intimate, and resonant views of New York City life, inviting nostalgia, repulsion, or remembrance of days long past. The images of Mark Citret and Eikoh Hosoe expertly situate the viewer on the precarious line where representation emerges from abstraction, while H.K. Shigeta employes techniques to lead the viewer away from representation into a hazy otherworld. Margaret Bourke-White and Eric Lindbloom find a common visual trope in subjects that are exceedingly remote. Peter Keetman unsettles the viewer by seemingly portraying the body in pain, while Minor White implicates the viewer within his voyeuristic gaze.
"The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses" -Walter Benjamin
"Artists are, in a sense, neurologists who unknowingly study the brain with techniques unique to them." -Semir Zeki
Bedrich Grunzweig, Home From Work, New York, 1950-51
Bruce Davidson, Untitled, Subway, New York (Pink Scarf and Jacket), 1980
Peter Keetman, Hande (Hands), 1948
Minor White, Untitled, (male nude), c. 1947
William Klein, Grace Line, New York, 1955