The June Bateman Fine Art is pleased to present a group exhibition by ten of the gallery’s artists entitled “Objects of Desire.“ The exhibition opens Thursday, January 22, 2004, and will run through Saturday, March 6, 2004. The public is invited to attend an artist’s reception on Thursday, January 22 between 6 and 8 P.M. The gallery is located at 560 Broadway, Suite 309, and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Whatever its other qualities and uses, photography has always functioned as a collector’s medium that allowed artists and others to take vicarious possession of desired objects and hold them steady against the ravages of time. The photographers included in “Objects of Desire“ explore both their own desires or those of their photographic subjects, allowing themselves and the viewer to ponder the nature of desire, of what is desirable, and what it means to take photographic possession of objects of desire, ordinary and rare, even when the actual object cannot be possessed. The desires on exhibit and the approaches to the exploration of desire are varied but all of the work in the exhibition is concerned with the deep connection existing between humans and objects and the role photography can play in portraying and exploring this connection.
Both Amy Arbus and Sylvia Plachy document the desires that inform the lives of their subjects. On assignment for the Village Voice, each has explored the desires of people found on the streets of New York and elsewhere, depicting both the desired object and the act of desiring. In photographs from Arbus’ “On the Street“ series, the objects of desire seem also to be bound up in their own desires as in “Legs in Air“. Sylvia Plachy also presents her subjects and their desires, including poet James Purdy’s desire for a flower and playwright Charles Ludlam’s admiration for his ideal.
The Barbie Doll has been a major American object and symbol of desire for a half century and Millie Falcaro’s large-scale photogram of Fuchsia Barbie provides the opportunity to participate and / or contemplate our relationship to this idealized form as it is directly touched by light. Seashells, on the other hand, have been desired for their beauty and mystery for millennia and this beauty is illuminated through the simple, yet expressive, natural light used to make Seamus Ryan’s large Polaroid photographs. For most of us, hand tools are at most utilitarian objects, but Richard Kagan’s background as a craftsman allows him to appreciate and display the wear and patina antique tools acquire over time. The care and photographic craftsmanship, which he expends on making his large prints of these objects, transforms them from mundane articles of use to exquisitely beautiful objects of contemplation.
Sometimes what is desired is too large or remote to actually be possessed and both Denny Moers and David Stark Wilson express their deep involvement with architectural structures by lovingly depicting them in their photographs. In the case of Denny Moers’ unique, technically innovative and visually stunning monoprints subjects range from medieval wall frescoes to the architecture of New England, and there is a nostalgic classicism to the desire. David Stark Wilson, on the other hand, focuses graphically on the American vernacular highway landscape, so deeply imbued with the culture’s desire for freedom, in work taken from his recent book, Structures of Utility.
One most usually associates depiction's of objects with still lives of the inanimate, yet there is a paradoxical sense that Sheila Rock’s extraordinarily beautiful toned prints of horses slow down their movement and our perception, allowing them to make them objects of quiet and deep contemplation.
Rocky Schenck’s photographs of shop windows, taken from his recent book, Photographs, document displays that are designed to elicit commercial desire but do so in a subjective manner, stylistically harkening back to nineteenth-century photographic pictorialism and early twentieth century German Expressionist silent cinema, that more deeply expresses his own conscious and subconscious dreams, emotions, and longings.
Such longings - fulfilled, unfulfilled, or magically fulfilled through images - are an important of all of our lives and “Objects of Desire“ provides extraordinary glimpses into the private and public desires of the photographers and their subjects.
Objects of Desire
January 22 - March 6, 2004
Artist's Reception: Thursday, January 22, 2004 6 - 8 PM