Posted by Michel Delsol on 3/28/10
OK Harris Works of Art
383 West Broadway, New York, New York 10012
February 27, 2010 - April 3, 2010
Looking at the photographs of Schoharie County in upstate New York by Steve Gross and Sue Daley from their exhibit at O.K.Harris in Soho, one enjoys the resonance and honesty allowed and given to their subject.Their recognition of which individual house, barn or turn of the road to photograph is aesthetic and documentarian all at once.In theses images , it is the photographic rendering that uncovers the potential for beauty and meaning in these " ...often abandoned buildings that are slowly dissolving back into the land."The selection of the camera's position brings the viewer along into a poetic engagement with these rooms, houses and landscapes and their way of working with natural light , in sometimes difficult weather conditions , makes the light itself a part of this same story.The language of the clouds is also very important in this series, as they appear more or less strong from day to day and from photo to photo, it is like a second aerial language with its own melody suspended over the more rooted poetry of the houses and trees.The visual balance and play of elements in the photographs , such the texture of the furniture in a room , an open window in a wall or windswept trees in a landscape create spaces of beauty and imagination.
The prints are beautiful , in their quality they reflect the weather of the day of each particular photograph, if it was a soft, misty day the grays would be full in their center, going to a soft and deep black at the shadow end as the highlights are held just before going to full shine , but if the image was shot under strong natural light , the contrast of the print will reflect that in going from strong highs to absolute black with intoxicating steepness , all the while keeping the full range of midtones in crisp detail.
The buildings and the land always retain their individuality, the photographs are sensitive and respectful of their subjectThese spaces are not only architectural spaces, they are human and social spaces . The space of these photographs allows for the layering of personal and social history .As I enjoy each photograph individually I start hearing the peoples voices, feel the air and start to experience their immediate environment in a complex and double way:- In the first way, I recognize this house, walls, furniture as if I were looking at it from the inhabitants own point of view in space and also sharing with them a certain emotional and psychological resonance that would come from working, living and being in that space.- In the second way, I am also seeing this House, this wall , the furniture, this road but for the first time. I become a witness to another person(s) life . As I make sense of what I am seeing in the photograph, I am thinking of the people who lived there, what their day to day life was, what their thoughts, dreams and preoccupations where.In this exhibit , we have been invited to an exchange between these buildings and landscape and the artists Sue Daley and Steve Gross.