MANGINI STUDIO SERIES: GORDON STETTINIUS AND TERRY BROWN PAGE BOND GALLERY, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2014.
Page Bond Gallery is honored to present Terry Brown & Gordon Stettinius: Mangini Studio: Portraits of Gordon Stettinius, an exhibition of the remarkable photography by the pair and a celebration of their collaboration on the occasion of their new book. The exhibition will be on view November 7 through December 6, 2014. A reception for the artists will take place Friday, November 7 from 6 – 8 PM.
In partnership with photographer Terry Brown, Gordon Stettinius has radically transformed his own appearance, using little more than hairstyle and a few props, to create more than fifty studio portraits over the last seven years.
The idiosyncratic Mangini Studio series is an affectionate spoof of the formal portrait, a genre that has existed for more than 150 years. The series demonstrates how much cultural meaning and value is communicated by hair alone: the range of characters Brown and Stettinius manage to suggest is vast, from a senior class picture complete with pearls and updo to an intense, intimidating member of the military. The series also includes a wrestler, a country singer, a quirky professor, a punk, and a clean-cut politician standing in front of an American flag.
The brilliance of Stettinius’s and Brown’s witty studies is their deadpan delivery: with each character’s earnestness (and often dated look), many of these prints could be found in any American attic or family photo album. “We are content for the image quality to be more like that of a promotional glossy from a generic portrait studio than as a fine art print,” says Stettinius. Each character has clearly put what they believe to be their best foot forward for a formal portrait, and their self-consciousness and acute awareness of the camera is endearing and, in some cases, comical.
Because the portraits make use of Stettinius’s own hair, they are often years in the making, and he fully embodies each persona: “I sign portraits as if I am that somebody,” Stettinius says, and he sometimes pairs a glossy portrait with a letter describing that character’s interests. This exploration of identities shows how remarkably a photograph’s meaning can be transformed by changes in hair, clothing, and expression.