New Photography 2012 presents five artists—Michele Abeles, Birdhead (Ji Weiyu and Song Tao), Anne Collier, Zoe Crosher, and Shirana Shahbazi—whose varied techniques and backgrounds represent the diversity and vitality of photography today.
Michele Abeles’s (American, b. 1977) elegant studio constructions combine common objects, such as potted plants, printed fabrics, and wine bottles, with nude males whose bodies are often truncated by the frame, to create images that renegotiate the creative process of still life and nude photography. Shanghai-based duo Birdhead (Ji Weiyu, Chinese, b. 1980, and Song Tao, Chinese, b. 1979) capture the lived reality of their community against the urban landscape of Shanghai. Their mass accumulation of snapshots of friends and family eating, working, sleeping, and hanging out, speaks to a world of total image saturation and the obsessive documentation of the Facebook generation. Often created using a technique of re-photography, Anne Collier’s (American, b. 1970) meticulous compositions are informed as much by West Coast Conceptual art practices as by product photography and advertising. Her dryly humorous pictures evoke formal and psychological associations that frame recurrent tensions of power and gender. Zoe Crosher (American, b. 1975) calls photography’s veracity into question by rearranging, re-photographing, and re-imagining the archive of Michelle duBois, an all-American girl who was devoted to relentless self-documentation in the 1970s and 1980s. Drawing on the language of commercial photography, Shirana Shahbazi (German, born Iran 1974) approaches recognizable photographic genres like portraiture, still life, abstraction, and landscape with a distinctly analytical eye. She investigates the circulation and production of images today by outputting her pictures in multiple forms, from photographic wall murals to discrete photographs and photorealist paintings.
Together, these artists speak to the diverse permutations of photography in an era when the definition of the medium is continually changing.