"New Photographers" presents five artists exhibiting in New York for the first time. The artists are not linked thematically or stylistically, but what they have in common is their distinctive approach to photography and the originality of their images. In this show, each body of work creates its own context.
Well known in England for his striking holographic portraits and abstractions, in 2004 Chris Levine was commissioned to make a portrait of the Queen as part of Jersey's celebrations of its 800-year-old relationship with the monarchy. The resulting pictures – both traditional and lenticular - have revolutionized the art of royal portraiture taking it into a visual, technological, and psychological realm never before attempted.
What is remarkable about Obata's photographs is his groundbreaking departure from the known microscopic still images of snowflakes, to pictures that actually capture time and movement at a microscopic level.
While photographing in Hokkaidō, the coldest area of Japan, Obata became fascinated with the varied qualities of snow. Inspired by the work of W.A. Bentley, a New England farmer and photographer who in 1885 photographed a single snow crystal for the first time, Obata set himself the unique challenge of microscopically photographing snowflakes outdoors as they actually fell through the sky.
It took him over 5 years to figure out the solution, but the resulting images combine art, science, and poetry. They are truly objects of wonder.
SCHELTENS & ABBENES
The work of Dutch artists Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes deals not just with still life, but with the medium of photography itself. In the series shown here, cutouts of flowers are arranged and re-photographed to play with the idealized form and depiction of flowers in art.
Combining their distinct but overlapping fields of expertise, Scheltens (a photographer) & Abbenes (a tapestry artist) meticulously arrange objects into configurations that have a strong two-dimensional or graphic character. Central to their work, however, is the search for a transformative perspective – one which asks questions about how we see things both in life and through photography.
Patrick Smith (a French photographer with a very English name) observes what he calls "The Leisure Territories" from a distant perspective and with a colorist's eye.
While his work is often compared to the Italian photographer Massimo Vitali, Smith's pictures are both more expansive and more documentary. Taken from distant views, his humans are viewed much like other creatures in the landscape. His work examines what we seek in these idyllic locations and the light and color that draws people to these different environments. A critical observer of the relationship between the 21st century and its inhabitants, Smith's photographs invite us to re-consider what constitutes a landscape.
Tereza Vlckova, a young Czech photographer whose work first came to light in the book and exhibition "Re-Generation 2", plays with images of girls or young women, planting them into dreamlike scenarios where they float, jump, or sometimes just stare at the photographer with cross-questioning gazes.
In the series "Two" Vlckova focuses on twins – some real and some digitized – to express the shadow self of her subjects. "We don't have only good qualities; there is also something negative waiting inside us. I wanted to capture the dark and unknown image of our other selves." explains Vlckova.
The series "A Perfect Day, Elise ..." shows young women exultingly levitating as they seek to transcend the landscape in which they find themselves rooted. Loosely inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland, these young women leap without knowing if their jump will make them soar or crash. What is important to Vlckova (in what is perhaps a metaphor for art) is that they are taking the leap.