Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art is pleased to present its second large-scale solo exhibition of work by photographer Renate Aller. Her new series, dicotyledon, explores our relationship with nature and how we “read” photographs. Inspired by Romanticism, memory, and landscape, these large-scale color photographs provoke a non-linear narrative. As you move through the exhibition, the juxtaposition of photographs is paramount. Just as words and phrases work together in a sentence to ascribe meaning, the images play off each other, inviting the viewer to engage in a “conversation” with the works. Vibrant green trees, endless blue skies, human figures and anthropomorphized animals animate these sharply-focused landscapes. In his essay on the series entitled Transience, David Anfam writes, “Water and sky, faces, flora and fauna here stand before us like nouns, the taxonomy for some natural history whose ultimate purpose is obscure.”
Aller explains, “The way we look at nature from a distance is similar to the way painters of the Romantic period presented their work to the viewer. Our human desire is to tame and dominate nature. Our ambivalent relationship with nature is reflected in the way we are looking at it, using the landscape image as a mirror of ourselves, filled with illusions, desire, and nostalgia, or as a fulfillment of our idealized self. Our relationship to nature is one of intervention and domination. We expect nature to present itself as a stage set for our entertainment.”
This new series, dicotyledon, runs parallel to and builds upon Aller‘s popular Oceanscapes – One View-Ten Years, which features photographs of the Atlantic created from the same vantage point over many years. To celebrate the June exhibition, Radius Books will release an accordion-style limited edition dicotyledon monograph which includes large-scale reproductions of the series and an insightful essay by esteemed art historian David Anfam. The monograph will be on view at Chiaroscuro for the duration of the exhibition.