The Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of photographs by Kenneth Josephson. Josephson has long been recognized as an early and influential American practitioner of Conceptual photography. The exhibition showcases his highly experimental black and white photographs from the 1960s and 1970s and chronicles his exploration of abstraction with light and man’s dialogue with nature.
Kenneth Josephson is known for his conceptual photographs that famously layered pictures within pictures, focusing on the act of picture making and offering playful commentary on photographic truth and illusion. His experiments require the viewer to consider the act of photography and convey the artist’s desire to question the medium and reject the illusion of realism. Josephson also used hand-held measuring devices, sizing the experiences he records in a mockery of tourism or pseudoscientific inquiry. He mimics the use of photography as the ultimate measuring device of “reality.”
Washington, D.C., 1975, from the series Images within Images, is a clever illusion, constructed precisely to draw attention to its own artifice. Similar to René Magritte’s paintings, we are reminded that the picture of a represented object, no matter how real it looks, is still not what it appears to be. In Josephson’s photographs it is the photograph itself that assures us that we should question the veracity of photography. What we gain from his work is the ability to see beyond perceived reality and contextualize new meaning from the photographic objects represented.
Kenneth Josephson was born on July 1, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. He earned a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1957, where he studied under Minor White. In 1960, he earned an MS from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, where he was strongly influenced by Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Josephson was a professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1967 to 1997, and a founding member of the Society for Photographic Education. He is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship (1972) and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1975 and 1979). His work is in the collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Art Institute and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Biblioteque National, Paris; and Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm. Monographs include, Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective (Art Institute of Chicago).