Opening this Friday June 28th is “With Cinder Blocks We Flatten Our Photographs,” a group exhibition featuring the work of seven local and national artists: Deric Carner, C. Wright Daniel, Pablo Guardiola, John Pearson, Jonathan Runcio, Emma Spertus, and Letha Wilson. The opening reception is 6-9pm.
The exhibition takes as its inspiration the idea of the photographic medium and its use as a means of producing objects that achieve sculptural integrity and physical presence. “What we were after was an exhibition of contemporary artists using photography and or the photographic process as a catalyst for what in essence become sculptural forms – literally or conceptually,” states Piziali. This idea of photography’s shape shifting is a contemporary concern with spurring precedent. In 1970 the New York Museum of Modern Art opened Photography Into Sculpture, an exhibition curated by Peter Bunnell that brought together a cross-section of artists from the United States and Canada. Bunnell claimed the exhibition was the “first comprehensive survey of photographically formed images used in a sculptural or fully dimensional manner.” The significance of this landmark exhibition was not lost and in 2011, as part of the Getty Museum city initiative Pacific Standard Time, Cherry and Martin restaged the exhibition presenting 20 of the 23 works from Bunnellʼs original show.
Now, more than 40 years later, artists are still exploring photography’s tactile and unfixed possibilities. Deric Carner, C. Wright Daniel, Pablo Guardiola, John Pearson, Jonathan Runcio, Emma Spertus and Letha Wilson, continue to “embrace and exploit the very instability of the photographic image,” or perhaps its very constant mutability. Their goal is to look into photography’s discursive spaces in search of a visual dimension where material specificity has as much to do with content as it does with conceiving actual space. Bunnell said: “to stress this new dimensionality in no way diminishes the nature of the inherent photographic image. In fact, to appreciate these sculptural artifacts, one must recognize how distinctly the artist adheres to the underlying photo-optical basis of his work, and indeed how he exploits the properties unique to photography itself.”
Pablo Guardiola poetically suggested “with cinder blocks we flatten our photographs.” With ambition to shape and not merely to represent these photographers make photographs as physical as cinder blocks.
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