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g fon} “ 8 Whitten come to mind—who have hewed to abstraction throughout periods of art-world favor for figu- rative and photopraphy-based styles, if not of blanket disdain for the old-fangled medium of oil on canvas. Whitney has earned the passionate esteem of many fellow-painters and painting aficionados; now should be his moment for wider recognition. His recent work is his finest, and the case that it makes for abstract art’s not yet exhausted potencies, both aesthetic and philosophical, thrills. Through Oct. 25. GALLERIES—UPTOWN “Photography Sees the Surface” This knockout show combines new and vintage photographs and strad- dles abstraction and representation. Organized by the artist Aspen Mays, itjuxtaposes pictures by Minor White, Man Ray, and Frederick Sommer with works by young newcomers, several of whom make impressive débuts here. John Opera's big, blue-black cyanotype image of melted venetian blinds has an eerie presence, and Jackie Furtado’ picture of a man’s face ina nearly impenetrable shadow finds an odd echo in a piece by Nick George that suggests a featureless George Condo portrait. Through Aug. 7. (Higher Pictures, 980 Madison Ave., at 7th St. 212-249-6100.) GALLERIES—CHELSEA Nobuyoshi Araki The seventy-seven black-and-white photographs in Araki’s “Eros Diary” are all time-stamped July 7, creating a fiction thatall the pictures were taken on the same day—the anniversary of the Japanese artist's wedding to his late wife. But the significance of the date weighs lightly on the series, which touches on mortality but pays more rapt attention to sex, toys, and sex toys. Araki’s imaginary day is filled end to end with nude ‘women and food; his parents make a cameo appearance, but it’s Araki’s id that dominates this playful self- portrait of the artist as a provocateur. ‘Through Aug. 7. (Kern, 532 W. 20th St, 212-367-9663.) Elmer Bischoff Large, moody, startlingly strong paintings, made between 1953 and 1972, argue for greater recognition for the Bay Area peer of Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. Bischoff countered Abstract Expressionism (whic colleag Rothke Fine A late nit loyalty be terr la lett modert and fur drama Gettin, grand + with Be as see t pressur 525-531 De Wa Anover minim: solo she cast pol usual & into tal, hieratic diamon The twe surface: lighting works ; and ocl ent cor differer afterimage THE JOURNAL OF MEDIA ARTS AND CULTURAL CRITICISM REPORTS Artist Organisations International Conference Andra Lis 2 ospect.3 New Orleans Kathryn Kramer Society for Photographie Education National Con! Karen vanMeenen 6 FEATURES, Migratory Surfaces: An Tnformal Visual Economy and the Repair of the Colonial Archive Timothy PA Cooper 8 Equivalent Simulation: A Conversation with John Opera Devi Laocea is EXHIBITION REVIEWS Tina Cara 2 Aura Soe: Ete Leaking Light enon sesh Lip B coven Tim Maal 26 Adam Magyar: K Rach Somerin 2 Depth of Nihal Osi 30 Brian Wei Jody Talon hum wth Desire: Photography and Gl ‘-Glamour: Portraits cf Women i clesig 35_ eter Forge: Letter to Nar Stephanie Aon FILM REVIEW 34. Arresting Power: Resting Palice Violence in Prdand, Oregon ane Bod BOOK REVIEWS 36. Fara Lane ois Pople The Potgrapt of Horace ‘Alcan Mac Pate 37 Biopalcal Seren Image, Power andthe Nebel Bran Jaya 39. The Faiony: Poogrply andthe Warhol G ily Name The Sver Age Black nd White Photograph Goda omng 41 Unekrtanding Photograph Worle No Spent Today Bay Sale Imag Prong ia Received PORTFOLIO Live Aboard Ingle Malbere lon FEATURE Equivalent Simulation: A Conversation with John Opera By David LaRocca ‘hn Opera isan American photographer who works at the intersection of photographie materiality and ight derived absiraction. Since graduating from the Schoo! ‘of the An Instiute of Chicago (where he earned a MEA), Opera has lived and worked in Chicago. His ‘work has been the subject of recent slo exhibitions in New York (2015), Las Angeles (2014), and Miami (2014). The preoecupation Of his practice inthe ks few year has centered on the relationship bese the material origin of photographic process and the way those processes can be ated wo express form, vesture, a tone: Drawing on the most primitive components of imagemaking, (Opera has reclaimed processes such asthe anthorype and eyanorype and applied them tothe representation of abstractions as well 8 cvenday objects Especially in his reeent work, Opera addresses peculiarity of organi, light-sensitive material that give se two-dimensional tablets. For this reason, many’ of his recent Pies evoke the parameters, conditions, and cfc of paimting. fs ‘order to teflct on ese latest project, especially in dhe ight of i Tong history of work a6 photographer, I dscusted the origins and development of Oper’ work wid him dating the winter of 2014, via phone and email DAVID LAROCCA: You're a photographer who is known for working at what might be called the origins f imagemahing—that i, with light sensitive organic material, indeed with the most lementl or rudimentary stiles of photographic media. What are you working on now? JOHN OPERA: Ian exhibition eld in Los Angeles in the fall of| 2014 T showed wall works that are cyanotype-oninen a process that Ive been exploring dice 2011. During this period of ‘experimentation and production, Tye been contin Ariss whose work returns to photography’s chemical origins while lento orton desta art cogs te Adoemphasze surface and materiality. Pm reminded here of Barbara Kites cyanotype and Van Dyke brown photogenic pings fromthe mid-to-late 1970s fr example, Cid 74/15 trom 1974) a well at Lis Descheness silvertonedaculpral/photographie ‘works (Serapraphs #11 from 2013}. Cyanorype is one of the oldest 1 | afterimage ‘an most recognizable of all photo proceses, in part owing 10 signature Prussian blue color With this text work, however, Fe rmanaged t0 modify the steps of the proces so the resus are not blue pers, bu alent neutral. Thi dit in coloration ix exciting me at least) because i wl allow me to continue experimenting withthe pipicalty ofthe protest bul nt be bogged dow limited, even cliché, ealorpalette—although I do love the color blue san incroibly simple process it only requiten wat famed and some are not. None developing agent. Some pieces a are behind gas. Some are in smal eon whi others re wie These cyanotypes seem to exist somewhere between painting and photography. Their physical qualities trade between those (wo fepresetatonal worlds or models They eel both indexicl and ako strangely ree of refer DL: | can't hap but se an apparent and appealing coincidence between ‘the Blinds images (2014) and the kinds of photographs commenly made in & chemical darkroom without negatives—namely, contact prints. Do ‘you have 2 ange ofthe rezonance ofthis latest work with your eit Images, made when you were a teenager growing pin Butfalo, New York? 30: [suppose there i «ssc similarity etween how my plow ‘works look and how photograms lok, andl technically speaking, ll of the cyanotype prints are contact prias, meaning the negative required to make my images must be the same dimensions asthe fina format sce. AP want my final image vo be 8 by 4 feet, my ‘negative must also he that sie, Deschenes's work may be instructive Ihre, especially in how she addresses sues of tome and silhoue fas they are expressed in respome to fightfor insane, ia her cameraless photograph Mové #25 (2000) (Ed. now: See Aina 42,no, 5 for review of Desehenes'srecent exhibition a the Walker ‘Art Center in Minneapolis} Tauba Auerbach’ recent paintings Ihave given san interesting way of atending to the imaging ‘specially tonal—capacities inherent in the topography of material (ee, for example, her mesmerizing Untied (Fld seis from 2012) ‘OF course, Kates photogenic prints ako represent innova ‘our thinking about the fol, and abou two-dimensional depictions of spatial forms; for instance, in Untied 75/7 (1973). However, 1 think wha you're referring to are the types of contact prints that are made without a Tensor opsical projection, ‘This soften the fist ‘serese a beginning student undertakes asa part of learning how to ‘navigate an analog Maclatebonhite daizoom. I’ demonstration of photograpty’s Fundamental nature (Of cour, [ako see personal continuity in you and [ made photograms together inthe basement darkroom at Gity Honoes Seco! in Bata, beginning in 1980. "Those years that we shot photographs as ide i Builo were about learning how to apprelend the world through clove observation, Back then photography was mich more I suppose one could sa tactile Gt was alo intensely edoifeous; the smells of Dektol, D-76, stop bath, and fare the sells of my adolescen been intrigued bythe material nature of U se tf J. And Tsppose Bve aways photogeaph image DL: Ie’ cheering to reminisce sbout the erigins ond continuities of ‘your work (even about the smell of those darktoom chemicals-as Baraboo (2007 by ln Oper; cutesy the int the son ofan aromatherapist | appreciate the olfactory dimension of memory). Your awareness of—really, your concentrated intrest nthe imatrialnatre of photography aso led to a great dal of werk onthe relationship between physis and photography, especially i regard to Werner Heisenberg uncertainty pine. 30: My carly work was often, and my work today co be, informed by andl iswes around theories of observation. This is largely due to che influence my father had otographer. He was a wience teacher on my development asap wut air in his career, he also did a stint as a geologin working for the New Vork State highway department, During those eater years of his career, he amassed an enormous phot archive of work. He mostly made photographs that were for rescarch purposes, but he alto developed a personal sensibility and aesthete around landscape and portraiture, Hi ae the fi photographs that moved me, I thnk parly because he made most of them before I wat alive. They did and continue 1, posess an immense mystery for me, I remember sneaking into those slide boxes and looking through the random picture of m images, sometimes coming across nhc or sister, fore Twas born, oF laces he photographed were da lot of them are the exact same sites that myself asa newborn. Most of the around Bulle eo photograph thirty years later those images were the archetypes for what I would mak later o in my ile. Most, if mot all of his images were made with a serew- mount Praktiea, which ended up being the very eamera I wsed to make my fist photographs at age thirteen But back to your mention of Heisen my oven work, Perhaps rg—the uncertainty principle was cerainly an early conceptual driver for me the idea that we are contained within the same realm that we aviempt wo categorize, or observe. We all feel this fuzziness ambiguity, indeterminacy around existence, not just 10 observe subatomie pa supreme sense of sadness ancl beauty to this experience tue who are lucky eno fone that I fel also saturates the paintings of Charles Burchfield, work was a significant influence on my own landscape raphs, and one that il) in my work in general always trying to maint DL: Your photographs aderessing the somber, slema, but alo sumptucus| rwpresentaton of imaginary partes, and works postulated but unseen by umadedobseration—such as your series Soup (2001-02)—wee followed by a series of works and projets that dat dety withthe representation ‘of nature qua nature, a5 it were, onthe scale of the human 2s beautify sfteimage | 17 FEATURE ‘axtrated in the monograph MPS Volume I: Catt Mon, Jha Opera, ‘Stacia Yepans (2009), 20: My work leading up w the APP book was addvessing ses ‘of nostalgia in nature photography—the “Kodak moment for instance, composing the world as all context and yet, a the sae time, ast of context, Photographs by Jan Dibbets proved inspiring and ako orienting for me during tis period, expecially the way he ted the framing of photographs vn the frame of the arcvork for xanmple, his Tle (1990-98) comes o ming in relation to my piece Hinde (2007), Because of my’ attention tothe frame-witin- teframe, there was imply a lot of tension-through juxtaposition inthis and other pees Tax filly aware of the problematic mature of what Iwas trying to aecomplish, or atleast revisit, bur H also fet compelled beyond all reason to pursue making those images forthe MPS book, ‘spec alter making Roane Ke Di (2005), I almost ai after ‘encountering that naturally emergent form in the world, had) to build an entire contest around icin order fr it o make sese {3 at, OF course, this was ake in my DNA, 20 to speak. Those carly photograph of my father’s inguiis into observation though ‘observation looking atthe way we look at things) started to seem somehow knowing and haunting and necessary for understanding something about my on relationship tothe word—Fist my father’s ‘world, then mine: cars Ie was also around dis ane that I tated | devep an intense homesickness, something periodically striae with co this da DL: Andthe rare presence ofthe human figure in your wor also ocasionlly| ‘entries to that unease for instance in shots taken at Chestnut Ridge Park, Chimney Bluffs State Pack (which feature your dad), and Zoar Val, all in New York Stat, but perhaps most emphatically, the sublime and haunting Borcboo (2007), where you are stranded—hypnotized? reaming? dlious? drugged? ase of ascending boulders. 10: Yes all of those thing. Hike o think dat when human igures| appear in my work i's no often that they do), tha they are there fs a passive, disrete reminder thatthe observer is sill present in all of my work. They may be stanc-ns for mysclf, ar part of | a general acknowledgement of the existence of the observer ‘human igure in the pieees and projects you mention had a very destabilizing elect on the work tl mainly became of wale was eying to mee the human to point where its presence was barely discernable and yet esentialthe figure within a realm beyond ‘human cope oF contol or comprehension. “More importantly cae, in general, has become increasingly {important tome in recent years as Fe continued vo consider it with respect t0 the viewers interaction with the finshed work, When possible, in pices from recent years (as contrasted with the works {you cite) reproduce my sbjets at setual sie in order xt up a certain Kind of relationship withthe viewer Instead of the earlier instinct to acs sale atin the image, boulderto-human), the rmore recent images are presented as 1:1. For me, this i another valence of my thinking about “eqivalent smlatin.” where the ewer i encountering the word as it is—in ie proper seale of| relation and yet, obvioualy ita thoroughly transformed way. 18 | afterimage DL: Since 2010 or so that tansfermation-which began with your experiments in anthatying—has found you moving from the eathy photechemicas of your youth othe nrge-formatlng-len work of he Tagt decade, and onward into this ew space of organic erigas. Although Vm manipulating organic compounds (that are then exposed to light, all of my recent images are made with a {digital SLR_ really believe thatthe creation af a work anticipates ‘what i wil ask of che viewer, and this interaction has much move to do with the nature or with the act of looking than with any technology used forthe recording ofan image. DL: We are aterating here between the material cumstances that suround your work clue, chemials, digital technology plant matter, ‘te. andthe material effects of these creations the artrksthemseres. ‘And you're saying that, atleast inthe lst half-dozen or 0 yeas isthe cof looking at representations that ocupes your attention mre than the conditions or qualities of he representation itself? olutely, What a photographic image contains or depicts fs starting to fel just as important as the fact that the image exists in the fist place, or that a simulated representation is allewed to be present outside of our elosed bio-optical systems 'A photographic image is « mediation that distances ux from ‘observed reality and also somehow simultaneously points us at Pn toward the posibility of anther parallel reality. Is mot lisiteretel in pute photographie space as we know it today (egy a in an inkjet photogr ere is plenty of work Iheng made now that daes not eros over and share the con ‘of oihier media, such ax panting —but Faso think that we are seeing an increase in crossover work generally. There are a lot ‘of paintings that address photography and lot of photographs that address painting. Um caught up, then, in what seems to be a bigger, broader questioning of media categories and pe Seategorization” as we know it in at, anyway. DL: The werk in your ent show in Mami 2s was the case ast yar in your New York show pie (201) at Longhouse Projects us back 0 ‘alin, othe provocation tit photgrachy can become panting and ti now isla photography. 10: Facing phowgraph, there is always an awarenes fis framing for fragmenting of perceivable reality—basiealy that here 6 a linc content oad or beyond is edges OF course, the viewers Privilege to what tha is exacts but sa worl we rust presume fs thee: [can see anand the phorograpl, but L must believe dere is 2a realty post the periphery With a painting, by eanrast, there st recess hat salty neta wot a realiy—holding the image in| place, squeezing i into the Fame. A painting may oF may not have ng directly to do withthe world as we know it Tecan be sow sdssnce work or arve in our mins ind memories fll of penvonal, imposed disorton. What 'm tying do, again especially curent ‘work, setup scenario thats halooted in the expectations of what the experience of viewing photographic space/ reality i pes to feel ike, while imultancously reimagining space/time aside of the fume that is fre of predictable or recognizable awxcatons. in hin spect, the works perhaps heave more like pangs. DL: Soitsnot the subject matter—the content—that willbe captivating ‘viewers, but something ese. What then? The nage of as you've been saying the psychological or cognitive relations that arise between, ‘the viewer and the work? 40: For-me, the work derives from an acknossledgment of the posibility of wanscendent reality or epiphantie vsion—even religious vision, The notion of a transcendent reality is, of course, a preoccupation that intimately links us with ansiquiy om Plato (rds) to Kant (noun. So, in my small way, Pm ;e—thougl & practice of immanent, materialist ‘how we can think about the ways a medium tel trying to exph photography an give rise wo images, and, it would seem, alo co thoughts How these qualities and effects are being achicved, Think, has to-do with the manner in which these works come i ‘by baftingly simple means. Why Gyanotypes are mad igh senskive compounds exist in nature? Sir John Herschel posited that by studying photosynthesis he could develop a chemical formula for fixing a photographie image. He most have been a big dreamer. [like how animistic that method of inquiry is, in a way T want to believe that Herachels ciemifi approach —a kind of hybrid of the physical and the ‘was a defensible ing, a8 if we Gould peoceed with the belie tal niverse is aware of how photography. provides a way of DL: Precisely Instead ofa photograph of nature (sy, rocks, waterfalls Iehens=things ou have photographed nthe past wth lens and fim), we hve nature que nature (ight activate organi cmpounds)=as if nature ‘were imaging the world from ts very ovn properties and physical structures. Hence the appeal ovina if mate ie hs the capacity to represent sa gan the erecting hand of an arts. 30: | think nature imaging el in that way: Lea tes eo howe much [think abou this condition of the medium Think about some recent panting in connection to this ide, such as that of Dan CColen—espeially his Unidad (Bedi) (2007) and aso Joln Knuth in is Fy Pati (2014), Kot, Forex has created the condos in whieh nonhuman natural forces—in this case recently hatched fiesateenisteto apply pnt on hishal. "The es go about their Drusiness asic were. The patterns of pi “exeated™ by dhe flies woul seem toe found, not madeat least not intentionally 3; the Hes are inadertendy making masks oftheir natura, inainctve pathways, A paral ine of thought is parally what le me t the concept of simulation. Not hat peopl dou’ eonstanly frame the photographie on (and silacra), but F think aout, for instance, the fact that a pinhole optical projection can exist in tain chemical compounds change when exposed nature. Likewise, to light Iescems to me theres something very recognizing how curious these naturally cessing phenomena ae in their own Hight, on thet own te uneanny birth of photography DL: Can yeu pinpoint haw or when these issues came to light for you? 10: All of this atention 0 medium begun when L started the amthotypes about five years ago, My work shite away from a tied (agusket) (2009) by isha Opera cotsy the ait more conventions! approach to pictire-making, and tok a heawy hhopefilly not heavy-handed) tum ward the ontological, Je Walls shore esay “Photography and Liquid Inteligence” (189 wasa key pration. Ive read thisshore ext dozens of tie, but Tike a media perhaps, Walls essay has en hoth a place to ind thoughts on some reason Lil eur tot again and again matters eloquently expressed and a provocation to my own further ‘experiments in a similar vein, DL: Can we 52y, then, in 2 meaningful way, that your work with anthotypes~and aspects of your cutrnt projects~bend the art of painting andthe science of chemistry? 30: Definitely: However, [relly don’t think of my proces in terms ‘of whether it leans toward one disciplinary model or anothex, Ac the end of the day [think I'm trying to hang onto certain conditions and associations that ‘exist around deciphering photographic space—for example, and atetch the form beyond toward science or toward art ‘veracity of the Fantasy of it truth ‘shat we communly refer toa dhe photographic “document.” want the viewer to recognize what isin my photos ax belonging to the ‘world, but also to somehow be forced into a position outside of| those expectations, asin a dream or perhaps owing to a (ei) sftermage | 19 FEATURE drug up a scenario ‘where the viewer's experience continually rfores that he or she is looking at a representation that shares qualities with both photographs and paintings DL: Whator where then, isthe ole for optis—if any? Have you overcome ‘he mechanical atibtes ofthe camera and chemical aspects of ln ‘semehow return tothe radical origins of ight sentvty as animated by ‘atural matcas? Does ths move shift us sa othe arth, o activate ‘the transcendental you spoke of ere? For one's mind cou go the other ‘way=descend tothe depths—and be raw in by your work's elation to bioluminescence and orescence, especially among deprsea creatures. Soup cou be ite as part ofthis ajectory, no? 30: The notion of origin is a the center of my inquities I belive Soup is surely anchored there ax well It has todo with time, of course. What i time and how did all of these things around 1 and in-us, oF as us) evolve and grow into sueh eomplesty traveling along some ‘conception to entropy? How many times fas this “simulation” played out? puter programmers are known to invoke “simmlation” when discussing repetition in a sequence of code. Not necessarily thinking about a cireular or eyelical form (euch as Nietasche’ ‘eternal return of the same), Tam nevertheless intrigued by the ‘continual representation of nature to isell: nd of continuum fi Zi Aesype 2012) by John Opera; courtesy the ati 2» Pechaps what Im really wondering about is not so much how 1 photograph i time or is abou time, but hove the representation isitelt «kind of space or container fr time, Sine optics connect what we see conceptually tothe act of sight—gving eredence to the expectation (or ison) that sehen looking at a photograph Wwe are looking at reality—we're always tying to evaluate the degrees of distortion in a representation while simultaneously ‘knowing tha it's anchored to ae rel DL: But the cyanotypes and anthotypes don't make this lam tothe real, Fight? Ther subject seems to be the intimate coextension of thet form | and content (where ther form sthel content In these hinds of erga, light-sensitive works, theres no appeal to a representation ofthe mal, reality or the real Opis, t would seem, have alvays tempted us to say that we see something "nthe photograph (een if we've come to dit thatthe “thing” Is transformed by te art of photography and the ‘medium itself), But when the lens is taken away, an the film fs taken away, what ar we to sa is “n” these latest works? Hence my suspicion (in a good sense) that your cyanotypes and anthotypes and related techniques daw us back to our thinking about palting and its modes of representation How does this else for you? JO: Right. If you take away optice and film you're removing the expelations associated with straight sight. Whot's left i the posibiity of material interacting and creating something more ‘kin tothe photographic concrete, It anything occurs that feels “optical” or perspctival, i ‘ough, 1 be rigorous here, all2-D represcatation is just that as well Lsuppone thatthe anthotypes and similar works fall imo this trap bi, all abstract compositional space will whether is a pmlc of plating marks or phovographic eapeure. What I sll can get Away from, though, is the ides of the lens image, and it doesnt Ihave to be fom 4 camera—or even, physiologically, fom a wan vantage point. Call these two modes the chem-opticl and the bio-optical All photographic material has that double Status embeded in it. For me, that doubleness always lark in the Dackgwound, fecding how we experience audi phorouraphic: the haunting trace of our oxen chemical/biologcal/mechsnical imerface ith the world. So my hope is that these works, yes, Jeave the literal idea of a photograph behind but sill somehow refie t let go completely of that kind of visually: Have I just inadvertently propoied a theory of allegory for these works and proces in creating them? ‘merely an ilo DL: Yes, thik se, and part of your acount would the prompt us to dwell fon the rich analogies and dlsanalgies that appear and recede as result. ‘So, can we say that your work tums our interest decidedly away from what 2 photograph depicts and toward what it materially? The image, then, snot an image of something, but somehow Is, instead trict n image of isl? If tha’ the as, then t's ne-o-a-hnd—an erga, alvays 2 negative as-artwrk? Ad with such singularity or lack of repreductility), appears to find another way toward its itimac wth pling. 10: The materials (or materiality) have become more promine in my work over the part half-daaen years of 9, For mey this shift was about pashing against the program of prepackaged ae pocographic material and proceses (or example, the settings on of ime and place, becoming incressngly desuaturalzed (most digital rom traditions aavocated of elemental “technologies” of na et) that ae exponentially estancig ts Dir, lis, ok with handwork and labor, sel ways Labor itself bold within unsentimental way r ck wo origi—andl arts te it the pity foe'a eave, nonliacar topographic space he DAVID LAROCA, PHD, Is Visting Sel inthe Department of English at Ahotihictpace tind tery har orem rect dcioi— — Cwil ales acter es Depart o Pilon yo SUNY daydreaming Cran, Hes the autho of Emersons English Tels and the Net! Hstary of Matophar (2013) an the eto of The Philsopy of Wor Fm (2014), DL: What then shold we say i being represented in or by these works? amen ether wos. Light? The effets of lights behavior (and thus patterns of otherwise ‘unseen physical laws)? Or natural laws more geneally—in chemistry and physics and biclogy? 10: The images are about forces, sch a8 light, Likewise, gravity wwe once called it “imagination.” Alot of my ideas come fron visconny, the material and the chemical, and even molecular interactions ‘con: ink pla Stl wil ates’ bas all these cements of natural order, the imaged result a map of somethin Te does seem tha artis increasingly plugin imo the same frees ly the human behaviors ‘The paradox for artis vil/the simated/the schematic. We ar OPENING SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 PICKER ART GALLERY HAMILTON, NEW YORK COLGATE UNIVERSITY COLGATE.EDU/PICKER sented by Okicht Story, 1965, narrative suite of black-and-white clrawings hased on blondy cighteenthceneury puppet play about last And murderous jealousy, rendered af scrawled ot a bathroom sal, Heater knowa af hs ram (or “coustesan”) works, particularly these rade between 1966 and 1969, which were inapiced by gory Kabuki and soft-core prints ofthe lat Ede period. Though they ae rather shin idea-wis, little more than hiyoe greats processed through the 2cs- thetic Faionable at dhe sine, these maxedeaneia painting and ilk srccrn, with tee boldly awirac componiions ad Mores tones, revertiles liven the Dorsky’ halls, Periaps a stronger argument ‘ould have been made for both series by rating ther to he conten porancous growth, within Tokyo underground heats film, ana com ss scenes ofthe eros plassmassocre aesthetic Shiaohara's move o New York in 1969 semed so only interify is taste foe dhe aber as he combined gavsh colors, expeessive bin, ‘even its of food o form his hybrid characters—parts Kabuki actor, American superhero, and Hells Angel. [cis out ofthis apocalyptic space, begining in 1973, that Shinohara prolaced his “Motoreysle Sculpture” series choppers ofall sizes male of cardboard and resin, ‘customized with plastic bits and lly beans. The two i the present show carry an ugly vdran and an El Roth='ype lunatic “Shinobaca opal? no doube builds solid home forthe Japanese epcuagenaian inglobal contemporary art. Yee se hm ring into the sunset of Paes mia anna real somewhere bewee TOKYO Americanay at and subcultare —Ryan Holmberg cHIcAgo John Opera ANDREW RAFACZ GALLERY Whecher's an architerual blueprint ora photogram, thecyanatype is infinitely alluring. Articulated hy or within 2 fel of deep Persie ‘a, images produced by this rodimentay wr chemical photographic processcan he more graphically beguiling than even the most richly toned silver gelatin print. John Opera knows this. "People, Placs, and “Things,” hisexhihition of lexen modeety sized works (a 2012), ie psionately indexed si seeming unremarkable image rypes—bosts, pes chains, hands fowls and the porta of a young woman. Yet the Hue splendor sturaing the steched linen support ofeach piece ‘makes these works fascinating, Opera's no-frills taxonomic aesthetic callsto mind cyanotypes mid -ninetcenth-centry beginning British botanist Anna Atkine's pioneering se of the proces to record impres: sions of algae and scavreed, On first glance "People, Places, and Things” might hae bees considered an homage as mack othe waity ofthis carly photographic mediums ots elite visual splendor. Ofte various compositions Opera pat into play here his plass- bottle sil ies were of particular note, ive che degre to which they Foreground the lighe recording phenomena atic 1 the eyanotype rocestsef In these works, the transparency ofthe vesels the vale range ofeach princshue, whl the harmonious groupings of + objets concentrated at she center ofthe picture open up a region of ‘hallo ilsonaeydepeh. Saspended in he composition with no indi ‘eaten fs hor zontal plane or grounding coordinates the Bots scm Almost to hover above their cemely saturated rary sets linen Support. Bottles, for example, which incorporates a cluster of five ‘ese, nclading a bulbour-hortom lab flask, vase, and ew wine ‘or iquos bottle, in effect satisfies as both genre painting” and a exercise in the surprising visual qualities cranotype is abe o ied “These prints are not, however “experiments” per ve. As with lla the work Opera made for this exhib tion, hese images are che eaeflly exccuted result of a photographic image made into a transparency placed directly on top of achemi- lly created pite of fabric and then ‘exposed to light. In other words, these phexgcame are mot indenes of Primary objets but rather indexes ‘oftheir photographic eaprure Ac rough four by tree et, the largest works on view here cook. either a tangle of ropes ora length of chain as their subject. Like the owe ess, the rope compositions (Rope and Rope ate articlaed by 30 ave spe, the twisted loops ere Jaryeebalansed around the center of the pictare plane, careful o main ‘ain her status as “figure,” distinct from the deep blue of the allover field. The subjects in Chains and ‘Chan I, however, ae rendered 38 positive forms—the object are blue, de background bare o blown ft, revealing a ground of ra line, The designations of subject and “groan” are slighty more ambiguous in Operas fossil based works: for these prin the arts did employ an allover eompositicnal conceit, =MIAMIRAIL ma Dut then, there is a destroyed room. On the back wall, Opera's “Blinds I” features drawn blinds ravaged and ripped apart. The piece violently rephrases the notion of the photograph as window. We imagine something clawing its way through the image. But despite this ferocity, ‘the image dons a professorial tone and calls upon Jeff Wall, not only because of his iconic photograph of a wrecked bedroom, but because Opera has somehow managed to recreate his sense of pageantry and. depth. ‘The three-dimensional space implied in all of the photos is carried ‘over to the frames, which are wrapped with yet another series of ‘cyanotypes. These frames behave as they should—framing the image—but then one looks up to sce that he's used the same technique to cover two-by-fours at the top of one of the gallery walls, a gambit which frames the entire exhibition, (as well asthe gallery's clerestory window). I suppose this suggests a larger metaphor for the relationship between photography and the world (and, from my own ‘experience, between art writing and art.) That is, there is always more outside the frame, but there are always other frames. mg - Sas NEwcITy Art, c Reviews, profes andrews about arin habe ry = Review: Histories /Photographies/DePaul Art Museum Photography ‘aid comments fands ,” 20:2 ebm Opera, RECOMENDED Although the exhibition “Histories/Photographies” purports to be a reflection onthe relations between photography and history, it tums out to be a gathering of thirteen artists who practice a wide variety of techniques and genres, usually with no tight inks to “history,” except inthe sense that every photograph thet we look a s preduced through some dated process that was deployed ata particular time in the past. No matter, whether the photographers here shoot straight or indulge in experiments, thelr work Is often provocative and sometimes strikingly visually Ineligent. On the straight side, Alan Cohen's sensitive black-andewiite Images of the ground atthe sites of mass murders do Ft the show's program. His most deeply meditative and moving image i of a patch of rock-strewn earth atthe Nazi death camp at Buchenwald from which delicate flowers blossoming from weeds have clothed the runs inthe beautiful garb of fresh life Signup for ow free email rewsetter mall Address : ‘Sign up now! Neweity Sites Best of Chicago Booze Muse Boutiqueville Newey Design Newey Film Newey Lit Neweity Music Newcity Network Newty Resto Newty Stage Newey Summer Categories are Fates (58) > ar Schools (17) > arise Profs (1 > ans0 (6) Breakout Artists (13) > Gallerst arate (7) > Curator Profiles (26) > Fall Preview (3) > Galleries museums (2,039) Albany Park (3) ‘Andersonvile (12) ‘Avondale (2) Bridgeport (46) Bronze (2) ast Village (1) 0) > égewater (7) > Evanston (32) > Garis Park (47) » Glen Etya (2) > Gold Coast/O14 Tow (37) > Wightand Park (1) > tumbolat Park (31) > Hyde Par (118) > Laketew 48) > Lincoln Pak (0) > Lincoin Square (9) > Lette vitage @) > Logan square (3) Loop (774) > Mekiniey Par (1) > wscrigan Avenue (200) > Wiveauiee (10) > museum Campus 2) > Noble Square 2) > oak Park 18) > sen (93) > Portage Park (1), > Ravenswood (16) > iver Forest (4) > River North 297) > iver West (4), ‘Nan Cohen, *NOM, Bucherwald," 1994 > Rogers Park (18) > Roscoe Vilage (1) > South Loop (8) > serecterie (15) tthe opposite experimental pole, and devoid of history in any sit sense, except forthe use of a ineteenth-century technique, is John Opera's eyantype of se citembadies hands against » dark background, each making a diferent gesture, such as pointing assertively or opening is palm beseschingly; the hand ae arranged sa tht they donot acres each other each one indifferent to > Suburban 40) the omer, detaches and altogether without background context (Noyes), except fr the sense of > Useinian Village/East ‘meaningless disorder that they compose in heir proximity, Cohen and Opera dwar the other ‘Yage (28) contributors tothe show by dit oftheir abit to reader existential depth visually through iferet > Uptown 2) ‘mens ang concepts. For Cohen, elthouh carnage and ev cannot be redeemed, ie asers elt > West Loop (423) beyond them; for Opera, our exaressive gestures are cutoff fom life when they no longer refer toa cima ree oo particular vital situation or receive no respons. Together, the two photographers give us an affecting iene putipcasons insight Into a broad spectrum ofthe haan condition. (Wchael Weinstein) a Through December 8 atthe DePaul Art Museum, 935 West Fullerton > Wedla & Gences (2,187) > Activist art (24) John Opera & Matt Sheridan Smith Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis John Opera's work combines 2 singular fascination with he vcual properties and beauty of natural and scientific phenomena, and rigorous exploration ofthe achniques and processes by which gholographe are made, Fr his Front Room project atthe ‘Contemporary, he wil present his recent Anthotype series of works related to photography’s experimental beginnings inthe rmig-nineteenth century. Opera uses colored solutions derived from various flower and frit extracts that are ight sensitive enough to ‘reate abstract mages that ae simultaneously plctoral and tactile. The “anthotype" procase ta4e8 upto three wooks of expoaure In Photowraphy, West Loop ‘Add comments RECOMMENDED Bending slightly forward and [Photographed in rofite with her face and half of her torso silhouetted in shadows, John (Opera's nubile rude subject sits in bed with her arm crooked as she raises a glass of water to her lips meditatvely (Opera has shot this dusky color image three times with almost identical poses, inviting lowers to look for the nearly imperceptible differences among them after having taken inthe scone, Enlightenment 's achieved when we look atthe water in the halfflled glass; in one sho, the liquid has rot yet reached the woman's lps; in the next, it has connected and is dappled with spots of light; and ‘nthe last, the lit water has forma a biaek and gray cone, One must stain to dredge oF squeeze ‘meaning out of Opera's scenes that like water are not flavored. What difference does difference make? (ichaet Weinstein) Through January 16 at Andrew Raface Gallery, 835 W. Washington mall Address + Sign up now! Neweity Sites * Best of Chicago Booze Muse Boutiquevite Newclty Design Newetty Film Newetty it Newetty Music Newelty Network Newcity Resto Newetty tage Newcity Summer Categories > art Falrs (58) > Art Schools (17), > artist Profiles (130) > are 50 (6) > Breakout Artists (13) > Galleris profile (7) > Curator Profiles (26) Neweity Art..- Reviews, setae soe ston an Chis EEE Review: John Opera and Amir Zaki/Shane Campbell Gallery 24 > Photography, River West |Add comments RECOMMENDED (Chicago's John Opera and L.A.’s Ami Zak Join forces in a compelling show. The landscape as altered by Perspective fs atthe center ofeach artist's work. Opera's camera 's pointed toward the ethereal calm (of Midwestern lakes and forest, translated into an aray of literal and abstract terms, Formal elements of shape and texture are enhanced to present the spiritual intellectual instances of nature, resulting in the bluring ofthe line separating the animate and the inanimate. Zaki, on the other hand, juxtaposes the two. He satches wildlife from its habitat and plops it down on a manicured lawn. Photos are reminiscent of Holywood head shots where nature isn the spotlight, placed against a neutral background, bathed in balanced ight. Compositions are chock-full of severed limbs and distorted trees ‘manipulated and placed within the urban sprawl of sidewalk, front yards and orange traffic cones. ‘There isan attempt, however failed, at reuniting the two worlds. One photograph depicts a fragment of 1 trunk phystcally hinged to tts detached foundation and another shows such detritus gathered atthe roots of one living tree in hapes of recanvening. (Kerisa Lang) ‘Through Fab 9 at Shane Campbell Gallery, 1494 W. Chicago. ‘Sign up for our free email newaletter Email Adress ¢ Television, nature and the news, mediated Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Il. ‘Subjects: Art exhibits ~ -Various artists ‘Author: Waxman, Lori Date: Aug 21, 2009 Start Page: 16 Section: On The Town Document Text We live in a heavily mediatized world. Twitter keeps a running commentary on everything, e-mail and Skype encompass communication, video games replace physical play, and nature herself is known through TV series like the BEC’s “Planet Earth’ rather than direct observation. Most of this feels obligatory and completely normal by now, not a choice but simply the way we live today, watching while the world is delivered to our screens via pixels. But what if these mediated levels of reality were themselves subject to mediation? What if, Instead of racelving them passively, we could make or re-make them ourselves? "MP3 II: Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacta Yeapanis” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography presents three very different answers to these questions. Art has always been about making and remaking the world through individual human perspectives, and the three emerging local photographers in this exhibition bring that role up to date. Mann takes as his subject matter and base material one of the most ubiquitous documents of our time: the digital photograph. Culled from online auctions, photo-sharing Web sites and estate sales, these images are nevertheless not the stuff of family photo albums, but rather global news: pictures from a refugee camp in Kenya, a checkpoint in Palestine, an unnamed location in Israel, another in Beirut. The sites, identified in the works’ tiles, conjure breaking stories of humanitarian crises, rocket launches, security walls and endless ethnic conflict. Mann works via a subtractive process, removing information from found images until they metamorphose into alternate landscapes replete with new tragedies and strange allegories. He does this in a three-step process, by first applying varnish to the parts of photographs he wishes to retain, then bleaching out the rest, and finally adding a few faint pencil lines. What results are pictures of surreal color fields, strangely isolated people and utter violence ~- burned-out skies, ‘mutilated bodies, blasted buildings. Even the photo paper sustains injury, scraped to the point of rawness, punctured fight through its shiny surface. The effect, when it works, is moving and paradoxical, as if photos of these places can't escape their combination of beauty and suffering, even when half thoir visual data is obliterated. When it occasionally {doesn't bad digital paintings result, and a penchant for abstraction and ambiguity tps the balance from affecting knowledge to wilful ignorance. ‘Yeapanis tackles far more plabian stuff in her ongoing series “Everybody Hurts," in which popular television dramas provide the source material for meticulously embroidered soreen shots of characters like Fox Mulder and Buty ‘Summers. Caught in dramatic close-ups, their familiar faces radiate seriousness, fear and concem. Meanwhile, the translation from pixel grid to cross-stitch sampler goes seamlessly, down to the stitched-on sayings. From David Fisher, the HBO undertaker: "Why Is this happening to me?" From Buffy, the teenage vampire slayer: "They say if you think you're crazy, you're probably not, but I just don't know anymore," The whole provides a kind of home sweet home for today, testifying to a new kind of common ground, as well as to the comfort of television identification and vicarious living, even at the level of painful experiences. Vicarious living occurs at another level entirely in the computer game "The Sims 2," which forms the basis for ‘Yeapanis's multi-part project "My Life as a Sim." But while the possiblities for digital life seem to promise an endless array of fantasies, the extraordinary finds little place in the segment “Life Isn't Bliss. Life Is Just This. It's Living.” ‘Yeapanis's character cleans the toilet, sits on the couch, eats a sandwich, runs on a treadmill and has the occasional breakdown, Chicago Gribune Alas, Yeapanis's life as a Sim proves just as boring as most. Monumentalizing it as art seems more collusion than, Except it isnt ~ or at least, it needn't be. Opera proves as much in his nature photographs of swarming birds, a small waterfall, a frozen stream, an expanse of boulders, a broken trae limb and various stumps. More or less unremarkable, rnone of these organic situations seems to warrant documentation ~ and yet each of them stands up to it, and how. ‘Some do s0 through sublime effect: The birds, counties white specks against a black sky, humble the viewer in their twinkling expanse. A fow ara wondrous: The stumps rise phoenix-lke from snowy forest and hazy pond. Others ara ‘comic: An unattractively open-mouthed young man mars a sea of boulders, but also gives them a sense of scale. Still ‘others are just plain strange: a golden fire burns from within a stereotypically picturesque waterfall. ‘Nowhere, however, is nature represented nonchalantly or plainly. Through sensitive and imaginative observation, Opera finds the extraordinary in the ordinary — or rather, he locates the potential for ito emerge through photographic representation. The birds are printed as a negative, the stump solarized, the fire @ rare geological phenomenon framed by a mundane Kodak moment. Human perception ~ active, curious, bodily ~is everywhere implicated, and the world is the better fori. "MP3 II: Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacia Yeapanis” ‘When: Through Sept. 13 ‘Whore: Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan Ave. Price: Free; 312-663-5554 or ‘ Credit: By Lori Waxman, SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE Mlustration Caption: Photos (color): "MP3 II: Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacia Yeapanis" is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. = ARTFORUM ACK ISSUES CONTACTUS SUBSCRIBE v8 fy Co coon 500 WORDS PREVIEWS BOOKFORUM ARE PRR NEWS: VIDEO FILM PASSAGES SLANT ‘All material in the Artforum Archive is protected by copyright. Permission to reprint any article from the forum archive must be obtained from Artforum Magazine. “MP3, Il: Curtis Mann, John Opera, and Stacia Yeapnis” 07.17.09-09.13.09 Muscum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) ‘Chosen for thelr Innovative handling of photo-based media, Curtis Mann, John Opera, and Stacia Yeapnis —three emerging arists selected for volume 2 of the Midwestern Photographers Publication Project series—are featured in solo shows at the Muscum of Contemporary Photography. The "MP3" exhibitions are ‘an extension of the project, which promotes established and emerging artists and aims “to give greater recognition to photographers on the verge of national and international prominence.” Remarkably divergent in thelr technical and conceptual strategles, the pictures featured here allow the museum to smartly evade the politics of regionalism and career categories that justify and drive these types of award shows wt showcasing three germane bodies of work. John Opere's images appear brazen on st glance, shifting prosumptucusly between hard-edge abstraction ‘and romantic representation. Yet his juxtapostions of enraptured pictures of nature with geometric design place the arte eecurely in step with trends in contemporary photography. Simple symmetrical compositions such as Purple Diamond, 2007, face of with Baraboo, 2007, a landscape that depicts a small figure amid an Imposing slope of craggy rocks. While Opera's work brings o mind thet of Karl Haendel, Garth Welser, and Anthony Pearson, it remains out of reach of the perceptually curious practices of James Welling and Barbara Kasten, whose decades of abstract and representational pictures avold analytic language games and esthetic riddles. Stacla Yeepanis's embroidered images of televislon screens with images of Fex Mulder or Tory Soprano also extol the pleasures of paradaxes, but in her works its the tension between identity ‘construction, media fluency, and the polities of erat that is at play ‘The jarring pictures illustrating Curtis Mann's output are remarkable In their similarity to watercolor painting Wiping away large areas of information from photographic images gathered from the Intemet, Mann distorts ‘our ability to read his work and to understand the images’ original purpose. For example, Man Pointing (Olive Harvest, Palestine), 2007, Is a poetically charged plece that evokes not a seasonal routine but an emotionally pitched Image of distress. The Indeterminate white area thet Mann Introduces Into found photographs offers, undetectable threats and existential voids that make them more like watercolors of Samuel Beckett plays than products of photojoumalism. 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