The Robin Rice Gallery announces the second solo exhibition of photography by Todd Burris. The opening reception will be held May 9, 2012. The show runs through June 17, 2012.
This exhibition is a visual dance of contradictions. Whimsical and sophisticated. Stylistic and simple. Studied and carefree. That’s what emerges when you take a photojournalist by study, fashion photographer by trade and fine artist by instinct and leave him alone with his camera and a muse. Burris’ work is influenced by his early career spent working with fashion photographer Bill King and inspired by the decisive moment made known by the Henri Cartier Bresson. He defies the confines of either discipline. It is not fashion photography, which is by nature produced, but rather purely spontaneous.
Todd left the world of fashion photography after building his own career in Milan and New York to go to LA and find his niche. He embraced his fascination with flea markets and penchant for discarded items that wouldn’t ever be chosen because they were trendy but because they were interesting. Burris packed his 1979 white Pontiac station wagon with his finds. When he came upon a stage that fit the props, he called on his muses and created a visual story on the spur of a moment.
The collection of black and white images conveys a sense of effervescence and Élan. It includes photographs from Burris' time in Los Angeles as well as earlier experimental work in Milan and New York City.
Anything but superficial, the invitational image, "Paget #1" challenges the traditional symmetry of beauty. We see a dramatic close up of a woman’s face, her intense eyes framed by the stark contrast between her porcelain skin and jet black hair. The lighting is such that her face is divided by shadow, one half dark and mysterious, the other half light and classically beautiful. The effect is deeply engaging. The viewer doesn’t know when the photo was taken but you want to know more.
In “Mercer Street. NYC” we are taken back to the darker days of soho in 1992. A woman is shot from behind, walking down the gravel filled street in a long white flowing cloak, There is a patina of glamour set in the grit of real life. This sense of asymmetry threads throughout the exhibit.
Some of the prints have a purposefully grainy and soft contrast, reminiscent of a newspaper photo. Burris manipulates the film during developing to create an “un-reproduced” effect. The heavy use of toned black and white and selective focus the photographs have a distinctive grainy texture that is reminiscent of a newspaper print.
After completing his degree in Photojournalism, Todd left hometown Nashville in 1985 for New York, where he assisted photographer Bill King among others for several years before heading to Milan to strike out on his own. Within months he was shooting for magazines Amica, Grazia and Cento Cosa. He stayed for three years before returning to New York. There, he picked up Glamour, Mademoiselle, YM and several commercial clients that he worked with for years before taking a hiatus in 1993 to start a fine art career; something he had wanted to do since he was a student. He went to Los Angeles, and produced a body of work that he has shown since in various group shows as well as a solo show with his gallery Robin Rice in New York. He has sold many of these images to the corporate collections of NY, China and Tokyo Polo Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdales, Macys and London’s Connaught Hotel to name a few.
Todd lives in NY with his wife Tricia Joyce and two daughters Helen and Claire.