Surface Relations, a new photobook by Patrick Gookin turns Los Angeles' clichés into low-fi dreamscapes. Isolation in sunlight, failed ambitions, smoggy strip malls, commuters trapped in their cars, and billboards juxtaposed with sulking trees provide a pastiche of ongoing trepidation. Using various i-Phones, often shooting from the safety of his car, Gookin photographs anonymously as he passes through, his frame tangled, at times out of focus, nodding equally to the influence Lee Friedlander, as to the ever-present Google-cam. I've been drawn to Gookin's work since including it in Humble's 2014 online exhibition Tough Turf: New Directions in Street Photography, and have been following its evolution since. I recently spoke with Gookin about his book, LA car culture, and a hint of existential relationships. PS - for our friends in Brooklyn, NY, Gookin will be having a book signing and one-day exhibition at Sunday Takeout, this Sat, April 1st from 1-5pm.
"Beauty" is a loaded, complicated, and occasionally so-overused-it's-neutralized term in photography and beyond. A quick Google search turns up everything from On Beauty, Zadie Smith's 2005 novel, to Robert Adams' classic photography book of the same title. A likely first thought for fellow visual literacy junkies might be the ever-present "male gaze" -- the idea, described by John Berger and officially coined by Laura Mulvey decades ago-- that every aspect of visual media and history has been filtered through a heterosexual male lens. While our thoughts bounce from slick, and often damaging fashion campaigns to countless cinematic tropes, they also toggle between hackneyed photographs of sunsets and flowers, and early ennobled American landscape photographs that fueled Manifest Destiny. Idealization at its imagined finest.
Where are we going with this?
For Group Show # 53: On Beauty we'd like to see photographs, gifs, photo-based collage and a range of other light-sensitive media that address and dissect how beauty is represented and understood. How has rapidly shifting image-culture influenced our perceptions of the visual ideal? Like most of our open calls, the conceptual guidelines are open to interpretation. We invite you to get crazy, think outside expectation, and subvert our minds.
We're excited to welcome one of our favorite writers and curators Roula Seikaly to co-curate the exhibition with Humble's co-founder Jon Feinstein.
The term “silhouette” activates a range of thought. Positive associations include the cut of flattering a dress or suit, or a vintage cameo pin that may have graced a grandmother’s sweater. Less than pleasant associations, particularly when the synonym “profile” is considered, suggest presumed or actual criminality, a harrowing passage through this country’s legal gauntlet, and the loss of one’s liberty. Enter Silhouettes, the debut solo exhibition of portraits by San Francisco-based artist Erica Deeman that plumb the intersection of race, gender, and cultural identity, on view through June 11th at Berkley Art Museum/ Pacific Film Archive in San Francisco.
The 2016 presidential election results left many feeling a wave of shock and unease. Seattle-based artist Serrah Russell channelled this disquiet into 100 Days of Collage, a series of daily meditations reflecting on the past and the ambiguous future of a newly changing world. They are simple, yet remarkably layered - fusing disparate images from issues of National Geographic and various fashion magazines to build a narrative that combines defeatist confusion with a glimmer of molotov, hope and resistance. Russell captions each piece with titles like "And how we have kept quiet," "This is to protect you, they said," and "The stars have died, but we won't know for years to come," -- words that could serve as their own book of poems or revolutionary wall scribblings, and recall many of the cryptic passages in Margaret Atwood's classic The Handmaid's Tale. An appropriate subtitle for the project could be the novel's line of resistance: "Nolites Te Bastardes Carborundorum" ("Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down.") Russell is presently fundraising to produce a large format book of the work through a series of one-day-only flash sales. Behold Serrah Russell's 100 Days of Collage. We've included her statement at the end of this post, so scroll, look and read on.
To learn more about Serrah Russell's larger practice and ideas, read this interview on Lenscratch
On March 11th, in recognition of Women's History Month, Columbia University's Institute for Research in African-American Studies is hosting Women Picturing Revolution: Focus on Africa and the African Diaspora, a one-day seminar co-created and taught by Lesly Deschler Canossi and Zoraida Lopez-Diago that re-examines history with a radical lens.