HIDDEN IN PLAIN SITE: NEW PAINTINGS BY CHRISTOPHER BAER AND VIEW FIND: PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP EXHIBITION AT PAGE BOND GALLERY, FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2014.
The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Hidden In Plain Sight: New Paintings by Christopher Baer and View Find: a selection of work by photographers Linda Connor, Elijah Gowin, Cynthia Henebry, Amanda Means, Brian Ulrich, and William Wylie . The Exhibition will be on view March 7, 2014 through March 29 2014. An opening reception will take place Friday, March 7 from 7 to 9 PM.
Washington D.C. painter Christopher Baer has developed a unique interpretation of expressionist and color field painting. His newest work in the “Palisades” series continues to explore the relationships of color, line, and the materiality of paint. Often large-scale, his paintings have an imposing presence and vigor: alternating thick impasto and light washes move energetically across his canvasses. Panes of color seem to map adjacent territories, complimenting and competing. Each work serves as a record of its making, and the viewer is invited to share in each painting’s process: we can see evidence of earlier washes of white, fields of yellow or red, or delineating lines of blue or pink; all of these layers combine into a unified visual experience. Baer is interested in the contrast between seemingly plain compositions and the complexity concealed within them that “make up the story of each work.” As he notes, each painting has its own autonomous history, development and character. In observing this progression, the viewer is invited to join in the enthusiasm and energy each work conveys. Because of this sense of participation, each animated brush stroke and application of paint feels like our own. As joyful explorations of color, brushwork and line, his bold canvasses convey a contagious sense of exuberance and optimism.
Linda Connor is a professor of photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she has taught since 1969. Connor embraces a wide range of subjects that connect the physical and the spiritual worlds. Known for her fascination with culturally sacred locations and landscapes, she has traveled through Africa, Southeast Asia, Nepal, India, Turkey, Mexico, Tibet, the American Southwest, and Europe exploring sites that evoke mystery and spirit. The photographs of the Olson House – a 200-year-old farmhouse in Maine made famous by the paintings of Andrew Wyeth – were commissioned by the Cincinnati Museum to coincide with an exhibition of Wyeth’s sketches and small watercolors. This body of work lovingly records the objects of one family’s history through the centuries, and the house itself that sheltered many generations.
Connor’s black and white photographs are luminous, with remarkable detail and depth of field. She uses a large-format camera, producing oversized, eight-by-ten inch negatives that allow her to record a high level of detail; and rather than use an enlarger, she creates contact prints that retain this intensity of focus. The stillness of her images suggests a sense of timelessness. In addition, Connor favors deep shadows and brilliant rays of light, making her subjects appear as if bathed in a sacred aura.
Connor’s work can be found in numerous collections worldwide, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Connor has received numerous honors and awards including three National Endowment of the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Amanda Means’ photography often explores the duality of nature and industry. Raised in rural upstate New York, she moved to Manhattan early in her career, and her work reflected the densely populated built environment of the city. Her recent series include images of everyday objects, such as light bulbs and glasses of water, treated with the same reverence and attention to detail as a human study. Means’s ability to transform ordinary household objects into sublime portraits is further evidenced in her Color Polaroid Light Bulb series. For these images, Means individually photographed traditional clear light bulbs using large-format color Polaroid film and camera, and colored filters. To achieve various hues, Means experiments with overlapping different colored filters, the position of the filters, and the exposure times. Her studies of water glasses and light bulbs are meant to, in her words, “explore how the mysterious presence of natural forces can be found even in these small, mass-produced objects.” Indeed, beads of condensation cling to the outside of her water glasses, and a vibrant electric current flickers at the center of each light bulb, reminding viewers of the persistence of natural laws in man made environments.
Means’ work is included in numerous collections throughout North America, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Richmond-based photographer and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Brian Ulrich is known for his exploration of consumer culture. His work is held in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
In response to the events of 2001, Ulrich documented how the American government encouraged citizens to shop to strengthen economic development and communal support, to break down social walls to grieve and heal from September 11th. Through large-scale photographs of shoppers, various retail spaces, and displays of goods, and found objects, Ulrich’s series, Copia, explores not only the everyday activities of shopping, but the economic, cultural, social, and political implications of commercialism and the roles we play as targets of marketing and advertising.
The first chapter of his series, Retail, began through Ulrich’s effort to discover if citizens responded to the tragedy in this way, by focusing on the middle-class experience in malls and department stores, through candid portraits and still lives. Ulrich expanded his project with another chapter entitled, Thrift, documenting the secondary life cycle of consumer objects – discarded items – revealing that our over-consumption of new goods outweighs thrift stores’ ability to process the overwhelming amount of daily donations. Thrift showed Ulrich that the amount of things produced far surpasses our capacity for processing. Ulrich’s final chapter began in 2008 after the economic crisis. In Dark Stores, Ghost Boxes and Dead Malls, Ulrich explores the haunting architectural landscapes of abandoned buildings and empty parking lots that have become commonplace in America, some of which were open in 2001 for Ulrich’s initial visit. Ulrich’s decade-long investigation of American consumer culture traces a route from the exuberant excess of big-box stores, to the bleak suburban landscapes of hollowed shopping centers, inviting us to contemplate the broader ecology of consumer culture.
An opening reception will take place at the Page Bond Gallery on Friday, March 7, 2014 from 7 to 9 PM. The exhibition will remain on view through March 29, 2014.
The Page Bond Gallery, located at 1635 West Main Street, exhibits contemporary art in a wide variety of media and disciplines including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics. The gallery acts as a venue for the work of emerging and established artists with local, national, and international reputations.