I am Passions

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© Courtesy of the artist & Marvelli Gallery
I am Passions

526 West 26th Street
2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10001
October 15th, 2009 - November 14th, 2009
Opening: October 15th, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

212 - 627 3363
Tues-Sat 10-6


A growing number of contemporary photographers seem to be forsaking the ease and polish of digital image making for the romantic uncertainty of the  darkroom. Mariah Robertson, who has shown at the SoHo gallery Guild &  Greyshkul, which is now defunct, and is currently having her first solo show  in Chelsea, is going a step further. In a giddy, colorful and highly  experimental series, she cuts up negatives, splashes chemicals around and  leaves the edges of her prints raw.

Ms. Robertson trained as a sculptor and she clearly thinks in three  dimensions. Her pictures are multilayered, with cubes as a prominent motif.  (Others include palm leaves and male nudes.) There are also quilt patterns  and echoes of scattered-square Dada collages.

The combination of photographic techniques, often in the same picture,  produces a wonderfully unstable field. Objects and abstract forms seem  unmoored, slipping between the immediacy of the photogram, in which an  object is placed directly on sensitized paper and exposed to light, and the  more remote, mysterious processes of the C-print and gelatin silver print.

Given how much is happening at the abstract and technical levels, the nude  figures are distracting. And the roughly scissored edges of the prints,  meant to remind us that these are singular images, sometimes detract from  their beauty. But Ms. Robertson makes a strong case that photography isn’t  just for perfectionists.  KAREN ROSENBERG