ClampArt is pleased to announce “Brian Finke: Construction,” the artist’s fourth solo show at the gallery. The exhibition coincides with the release of Finke’s third monograph of the same title from Decode Books (Hardcover, 60 color illus., 10.5 x 10.5 inches, $55), which includes an essay by Whitney Johnson, the Director of Photography at The New Yorker.
Finke (b. 1976) is now well-regarded for his photographs concentrating on select groups of people, including high school cheerleaders and football players, male and female bodybuilders, and also flight attendants. In his newest body of work, he focuses upon yet another classification—namely construction workers, who are often imagined in broad and stereotypical terms. However, whereas in his previous series he zeroed in on postures, expressions, and gestures, relaying diversity in uniformity while also detailing the establishment of individual identities in the image of the larger group, in the “Construction” project, Finke frequently pulls the camera back, creating much more atmospheric photographs of the whole setting.
Finke began “Construction” at the height of the building boom in Manhattan in early 2008. As skyscrapers were going up at frenzied pace, the artist hoped to capitalize upon all of the energy. However, the real estate market soon collapsed, and what Finke found instead were often empty sites with very little going on. Finke writes: “It would feel like being out in the desert or in the middle of nowhere. A lot of the time it was just staring at a ladder on the roof of a building, all by itself.”
As Whitney Johnson comments: “In the documentary tradition, Finke’s observations of this subset of society reveal something about our time.” She continues: “These pictures are not about drama or awe, [n]or are they about architectural feat. . . Instead Finke takes an honest look at what it means to be—at the daily task of being—a construction worker.”
Brian Finke graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1998 with a BFA in photography. Since that time, he has had incredible success as an artist, with work placed in nine museum collections here and abroad. His first monograph was named one of the best photography books of 2004 by American Photo magazine. Also in 2004, Finke was one of twelve artists nominated for the International Center for Photography’s annual Infinity Award, and he won a prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.