Artists' Choice: An Expanded Field of Photography
In conjunction with a solo exhibition of work specifically made for MASS MoCA, Liz Deschenes has curated a group exhibition featuring six artists whose work expands the field of photography. Dana Hoey, Miranda Lichtenstein, Craig Kalpakjian, Josh Tonsfeldt, Sara VanDerBeek, and Randy West will be represented with a combination of new and existing work (chosen by the artists themselves) that demonstrates their wide-ranging approaches to their art. Several of the featured artists make work that is considered photographic but is camera-less, while, for others, photography has laid the groundwork for the moving image or functions as a jumping-off point for sculptural investigations. With this small but diverse selection of artists, the exhibition will provoke an open-ended dialogue on the state of photography as an increasingly diversified medium that intersects and informs other fields of art making.
Though the artists were selected for their individual strengths without any thematic restraints, commonalities emerge when their works are considered as a group. Each offers a new perspective on the fundamental properties of photography – be they formal, mechanical, or conceptual. Light, depth, and pattern are examined and rethought, as are support and frame. The medium’s traditional associations with mimetic representation, the male gaze, and reproducibility are also challenged. Many of the artists share Deschenes’ interest in architecture and the sculptural potentials of photography – either creating an image of three-dimensional space, such as Kalpakjian, or with the incorporation of sculpture into their practice, as in the works of both Tonsfeldt and VanDerBeek.
All of the artists engage with a number of pictorial traditions, influenced by predecessors ranging from Joseph Albers and Sol LeWitt to Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. Like many of the artists in the exhibition, these antecedents worked in multiple mediums and pushed the boundaries of photography through their embrace of experimentation and new technologies. Finally, the featured artists frequently undermine the assumption that photography’s power lies in its ability to enhance visibility; instead their works often conceal, obscure, and confuse viewers’ perceptions of reality as well as expectations of image making.
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