Polar Sky 29-9M. Winter Moon 1-19P. Iceberg 26-19P. Snow White 12-7P. Silver Shadow 43-19P.
Layered one on top of the other like strata-layers of the earth are clean squares of color that make up Victor Landweber’s “Winter Scene.” Part of the photgrapher’s Treasure Tone series now on view at Steven Wolfe Fine Arts in San Francisco, this work seems like a minimalist meditations. Bold blocks of color—carefully chosen paint swatches that might litter your dining table during a remodeling decision—are arranged in slightly imperfect grid formations in all of Landweber’s photographs in the series. Bold and simple, these works have a certain pop sensibility.
Landweber began snapping Polaroids of these swatches in the mid-1970s. Now, decades later, the artist has employed digital technologies to render these swatches in large formations, building straightforward, yet slightly wry compositions with titles like Flower Garden and Flaming Sunset. In these pieces, Landweber layers the colors in simple layers of multi-row grids, creating an index of a scene, leaving the viewer to put it all together.
Though rife with content (as Steven Wolfe puts it, beautifully, the work parallels “the work of Agnes Martin if Agnes Martin had filled up her art with the world instead of emptying it out”), the works in Treasure Tones are content laid bare. Unabashed in the effortlessness of their creation and meaning, these works are presented in an equally clean and uncomplicated exhibition.
Victor Landweber, Pink Masterpiece, 1975 / 2009, digital pigment print, 24 x 36 in; Winter Scene, 1975 / 2009, digital-pigment print, 24 x 16 in. Images courtesy the artist and Steven Wolfe Fine Arts.