group show 42: Occultisms
The Artists

Alexander Binder
Statement: Light plays an important role in all kinds of spiritual issues. Saviors and sect leaders are often described as light-bearers. In Latin, even the name “Lucifer” means, “light bringer.” The photo series, Melchior Universalis, is not only a spiritual experiment – using occult symbols and codes – but also a photographic experiment: Scans, crystals, auras, stones and bones merge to surreal images and open the gates to an occult New Age dimension.

Bio: Alexander Binder was born on Halloween night 1976 in the Black Forest/Germany. He’s a self-taught photographer using vintage, glass and plastic lenses, prisms and optical toys. A fan of Hans Bellmer and Herbert List, Binder creates mystical and ethereal photos, which are characterized by a strong passion for the spiritual and the surreal.

Michael Boring
Statement: It’s not surprising that photography quickly turned to the supernatural. A medium that could both capture, as well as transcend time and space could surely transcend the physical world. Insights into the paranormal were attributed to the new medium. The dark room became an alchemist’s workshop. The series Ghost (2014) uses a simple process: digital superimposition of found portraits from the early days of photography, similar to analog techniques used by occultists and its hucksters. Some pieces leverage the oval format of ghostly heads of early portraits, others the more amorphous bust floating in a spectral cloud. The subject of the portrait and the process of documenting a moment are themselves but ghosts in the images. What remains is the visual evidence of the process of making, developing and manipulating a photograph by resurrecting the rites practiced in darkened rooms of the 19th and 20th century. In other words, an alchemist’s Photoshop.

Bio: Michael Boring lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In 2000, he graduated with an MFA (Magister Arte) from the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, Austria. Boring has participated in exhibitions in New York, Vienna, London, Berlin, and Linz and had solo exhibitions in Vienna and Mödling, Austria.

Ralf Brueck
Statement: Ralf Brueck's 2011 series DISTORTION is characterized by a shift of pictorial structures. In DISTORTION Ralf Brueck extracts tonal elements from his works which are parts of the digital texture of the images and changes them by premeditated manipulation. The photographic representations therefore gain a new dimension by transforming the depicted reality. The structures remind one of barcodes which so to speak expose the DNA of the images. By this highly calculated use of barcode patterns Brueck contributes to an investigation into constructedness of images and the world itself. Since 2012 his work has become more radical. His new series DEKONSTRUKTION shows a drastic dissolution of images boundaries amounting to their complete destruction. Ralf Brueck manipulations of images are not geared towards pointing out that contemporary digital photography is deficient in its representation of reality but argues that a photograph constitutes its own reality.

Bio: Ralf Brueck is a younger exponent of the Düsseldorf School of Photography, which has achieved worldwide renown through Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff, whose master student he became in 2002. From 1996 to 2003, he studied at the Art Academy Düsseldorf. Ralf Brueck was one of the last students of the Bernd and Hilla Becher class at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf before he decided to become a student of Professor Thomas Ruff. His large-format images are known for their radical editing. They also refer to pop cultural icons and are supported by their titles i.e. "Personal Jesus", "Pink Mist", "Transmission" and "You don´t look so good".

Michael Bühler-Rose
Statement: Engaging in the often challenging conversation between spirituality and artistic practice, Bühler-Rose's investigations and aesthetic stem from his years of study and experience as a priest within a traditional school of Hindu ritual practice and spiritual transformation. This notion of transformation is central to the artist's exploration as he transforms the gallery space into a site of ritual with the artist as catalyst. The viewer is enticed to partake in both an immersive experience and the aesthetics of Bühler-Rose's visual narratives as a pilgrim visiting a deity. Bühler-Rose's photographic work furthers the concept of transforming material into the spiritual. The work Permanent Photos of Temporary Forms focuses on the documents of transformed ritual imagery, which can only exist, by nature of the particular medium, in a temporary form - grass, turmeric, pigment, etc. In the work Puja, the image of a young woman engaged in ritual prayer captures the constant dialog between the visible and invisible, as well as the physical, meta-physical and transcendental. For the viewer/pilgrim, the literal process of transformation through ritual happens between 'matter' and 'spirit' whether it is through religious ritual or simply aesthetic phenomena.

Bio: Michael Bühler-Rose lives and works in New York City. Bühler-Rose has been a student of the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism since the age of 14. Having studied Sanskrit and philosophy for many years in India. He received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,and his MFA from the University of Florida, Gainesville (2008). He is both an Instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design and a purohita (Hindu priest), his work on these platforms influence his artistic production. His study and practice of Vaishnavism, Sanskrit, kalpa (ritual), and philosophy have prompted extended stays in India, including one as a Fulbright Fellow. In his photographs, videos and installations he explores the relationship between the art object and the artist as a parallel to a venerated deity and a priest, and aesthetic experience as ultimately religious. Bühler-Rose has exhibited work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge; Witte De With, Rotterdam, and the Everson Museum, Syracuse.

Tristan Cai
Statement: The Heway human-nature repository is a project initiated by the artist Tristan Cai in 2009. The artist locates, collects and produces literary and visual artifacts that illuminate the interactions of science with religion, and the human condition in religious practice. The repository consists of both produced and found documents including journals, newsletters, newspaper clippings, videotapes, photographs and other objects. The collection will be periodically presented to the public in the form of mixed-media installations, photography exhibitions, public lectures and dialogues. The extent and expanse in which we seek to understand and intellectualize the supernatural is an inquiring point behind the artist’s research efforts. “Tales of Moving Mountains: Why Won’t God Go Away” is the inaugural showcase of the collection of the repository. It consists of a trilogy of works surveying the construct of the human-God relationship from different points of views. (Associated video work)

Bio: Tristan Cai is a Singaporean artist currently based in Scottsdale, AZ. He is interested in the cultural construct of belief systems, from religion to politics and everything in between. His works have been included in recent shows at Phoenix Art Museum, Arles Voies Off, France, Noorderlicht Photography Festival, Netherlands, the National Museum of Singapore, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Jeonju, GoEun Museum of Photography, Pusan, Korea, RS Projects in Berlin, Germany and Shanghai World Exposition, China, amongst other. He also teaches Photography at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University.

Carlo Van der Roer
Statement: As a record of light, photographs offer a connection to the time and place they depict. We engage with this connection when dealing with photographs, and in assembling them, it enables multiple histories to be held together in a new timeline. These images are made using an internegative process that resolves the chemical record of light in chromogenic photographs into red, green and blue chemical layers -- additive colors that combine to create other colors in the visible spectrum and ultimately create white. Suspended in a glass tank as fluid, this chemical record of light becomes tangible. While it is in this state, I engage with it physically and photograph the process. The structure of the Dutch iris folds made in the surface of the photographs during this process affect the way the chemicals form as fluid, as does the workspace / environment at the time of this process, incorporating chance and accident. The resulting photographs explore as physical form, this photographic connection to past moments and the process of reactivating it, engaging with it in the construction of a story. The photographs used as source material mine a personal history, my Dutch ancestry and its presence in New York where I live and New Zealand where I grew up. Many of the photographs that I am using here were made exploring the folklore and histories borrowed from the Dutch by artists like Washington Irving and the Hudson River School in New York to create a new history for a young America, somewhere between fact and fiction. I am interested in the act of engaging with the photograph as a connection to the time and subject depicted, but reactivated in an evolving present moment of accumulated histories.

Bio: Carlo Van de Roer is an artist living and working in New York. His work has been exhibited in the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Spain and France, and at venues such as M+B Gallery, Los Angeles; Suite Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee; Hyères Photography Festival; the Paris Photo Prize; and the MUSAC Museum of Contemporary Art, Léon, Spain. His work has drawn notice by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Interview, Vogue, Wired and NPR. He is currently a resident at New Inc, the New Museum in New York.

Maury Gortemiller
Statement: Many of these images come from the series Do the Priest in Different Voices, which is related to the possibility of seeing a spiritual 'otherness' in our everyday lives.

Bio: Maury Gortemiller is a photographer and teacher in Atlanta, GA. He is also a competitive apneist, and plans to make an attempt on the breath-holding world record by the end of fiscal year 2015.

Kathrin Günter
Statement:  Kathrin Guenter has been extensively exploring and working with gossip, star behaviour, the phenomenon of paparazzi photography and the therewith inseparable self-staging. Parallel researches and rather playful investigations focus on thought-o-graphic experiments, photo chemical processes and other invisible phenomena and unresolved mysteries in photography of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After successfully materialising the doppelganger of certain celebrities on photographic paper, her most recent approach to Celeb' Phenomena is the development of a Celebrity Tarot Set.

Bio: Kathrin Günter studied at the University for applied Sciences in Hamburg focussing mainly on photography. In 2000 she won the BFF Award for one of the best photographic diploma of german universities. After long stays in Italy, Spain and England she moved back to Germany in 2006 and has been living in Berlin ever since. She exhibited worldwide and her work is part of several public and private collections.

Michael Marcelle
Statement: Michael Marcelle’s images consist of pictures that center around his immediate family and hometown, a coastal suburb in the northeast that was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Incorporating constructed dioramas, digital manipulation, appropriated family photographs and traditional photography, the work forgoes a diaristic approach to the subject matter, and instead builds an alternate reality over his biography, abstracting the specifics of a personal narrative and a town's destruction into an elusive, alien world.

Bio: Born in NJ, Lives in Brooklyn. BA from Bard College, MFA from Yale University
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Lisa McCarty
Statement: I am a mesmerist, mnemonist, and metaphysician using photography to realize apparitions of all kinds. Admirer of both William Henry Fox Talbot and William H. Mumler, I devote my time to fixing shadows and perfecting the art of mediumship. Self Portrait, Dematerialization of the Artist, documents one episode in my continuous attempts to transpose into the film emulsion itself while being photographed. 

Bio: Lisa McCarty is a photographer and curator based in Durham, North Carolina. Most recently her work has been exhibited at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Chicago Photography Center, Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media, the American University Museum in Washington, D.C., and internationally with the PICTURE BERLIN residency program. Additionally her moving image work has been screened at the New York Film Festival in Views from the Avant Garde and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Lisa is currently an instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies and Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Anna Morgowicz
Statement: Photography gives us the ability to create infinite worlds but I work with the simplicity of using real bodies and space. In this project I try to photograph objects in the most simple way. I approach my work playfully- experimenting with form, angles, poses and compositions. I subvert otherwise minimal images with a surreal edge. I use clean lines with odd geometry and unexpected forms to heighten the visual surprise and give a hint of the grotesque.

Bio:  Anna Morgowicz was born and raised in Poland.  She graduated from the University of Wroclaw obtaining her MA in Sociology. She earned a BA in photography at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic before moving to New York in 2009. She continued her photography education at the ICP while interning at the Magnum Agency. She recently received her MPS in Fashion Photography from School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Reka Reisinger

Statement: Reka Reisinger makes life-size cardboard cutouts (often self-portraits) and re-photographs them in the world. She does not use any digital manipulation to composite the pictures. She makes the cutouts by hand and re-photographs them in a specific location or situation using a view camera. While the pictures are direct documents, their space appears collaged and altered, often resembling an image from the early days of Photoshop. By creating these replicas she is able to explore the conventions of photography. She depicts scenes in which she believes a representation of the subject can be an effective substitute for the original once it is re-photographed. The final outcome exemplifies the duality of the medium; it can be used as a tool to document reality while simultaneously transforming it into the imaginary. On a personal level the pictures describe her desire to escape reality and a longing to experience the world as it can only appear in pictures and be recalled in memories.

Bio: was born in 1981 in Budapest, Hungary. Reka attended Bard College and received her M.F.A. in photography from the Yale University School of Art. Over the past few years, she has been making life-size cardboard cutouts (often self-portraits) and re-photographing them out in the world. She does not use any digital manipulation to composite the pictures. Instead, she makes the cutouts by hand and re-photographs them in a specific location or situation using a view camera. Currently, she lives in New York and in Hungary, where she is making a documentary about a wedding band.

elin o’Hara slavick
Statement: These cyanotypes - of Dead Flowers in Hiroshima and my children's hands and feet are from the After Hiroshima project in which I attempt to make the invisible visible: some of the magnitude of what was lost due to the dropping of the A-Bomb on Hiroshima; spirits and lives; an entire city; lingering radiation; silent witnessing; pacifist auras. 

Bio: elin o’Hara slavick elin o’Hara slavick is the Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art Practice and Theory at UNC, Chapel Hill. She teaches Conceptual Photography, among other courses. She is the author of 2 books: Bomb After Bomb, a Violent Cartography with a foreword by Howard Zinn and essay by Carol Mavor and After Hiroshima with an essay by James Elkins. She grew up in Maine, went to Sarah Lawrence College undergrad and got her MFA in Photography at SAIC in Chicago..

Amelia Bauer and Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Statement: BOOK OF SHADOWS in collaboration with Elizabeth Parks Kibbey The word Pagan comes from the Latin word Paganus, meaning of or pertaining to the countryside, rural, rustic. The 17th century saw the innovation and popularization of the floral still life painting in Europe and its colonies. By the end of the same century, the Salem Witch trials were occurring in America. Witchcraft, a belief system that focused on the cycles of the natural world, included among its rituals the use of botanicals dried and kept in bottles or carried in pouches, bathed in or brewed as tea. Plants were used both symbolically and medicinally in these rituals, and many of the ingredients can be found in present-day herbal remedies. The names of wildflowers, such as cattail and foxglove, and less familiarly, crow’s foot, donkey’s eyes, and snake’s tongue, lead to visions of cauldrons with real animal parts stewing inside. Women held greater power in the practices of Witchcraft, and were accused and killed in far greater numbers than men during the Salem witch trials. The still lifes in this series are composed of the ingredients in various botanical spells. The ingredients are used here in their most floral state: poppies instead of poppy seeds, a saffron bulb instead of dried stigmas, and so on. The arrangements turn these spells towards the domestic, and present a less threatening, more palatable femininity.

 Bio: Amelia Bauer is a Brooklyn based artist born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in Photography, and received her BFA with honors from the School of Art at The Cooper Union. She has exhibited at Capricious in New York, CCA Santa Fe, CoCA Seattle, New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, SFMOMA, Phillips de Pury Shop, RB Contemporary in Milan IT, Museum of Vancouver, and National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution. Her work is in the permanent collection of The Albuquerque Museum and SFMOMA.