by Erica Varlese
But that’s a different story… is just that: one after another, three very different photographic narratives wrapped up together in one convenient, collaborative exhibit. The opening reception took place during the New York Photo Festival on April 28th in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn at the A.I.R Gallery. The show is a collaboration by artists Daria Dorosh, Sheila Ross, and Jeanette May which began when May proposed finding a way for the feminist, cooperative art gallery to participate in the Photo Festival. While each artist’s style and content is strikingly different, the disparities between the pieces speak to the diversity of women’s work in contemporary photography.
Dorosh, who is a founding member of the A.I.R. Gallery, used images from her LOOP series, consisting of double-sided photographs, cut and manipulated to create a sculpted feel with the prints twisting and looping into space. Dorosh’s background in fashion and textile-design is apparent as the pieces incorporate patterns that fall like draped fabric. The piece Dissolve consists of blue-hued images of ceramic items, where the print is sliced and the strips are then interwoven and bent like stiff fabric pushing outwards toward the viewer. A single strip of paper hangs down from the piece, making it seem like the image is dripping down into nothing—dissolving.
Ross’ Cloud-series was created especially for this show and consists of various photographs of clouds taken mid-flight from New York to her country of origin, England. The prints were mounted simply, with no glass or frames to impede the celestial landscapes. Some of the images were inverted, using Photoshop, giving pieces like Plant and Cloud Forest an extraterrestrial feel that looked more like lunar landscapes than photographs of clouds. The colors alternated between an orange, sunset hue and bright blue and the photos were hung to emphasize this contrast. Photographs such as Heaven have an almost new-age feel that emphasizes a sense of otherworldliness. Cloud conveys to the viewer questions about the universal and the almost alien-like aspects of the natural world; mysteries that we cannot understand.
Bachelor, the series of commercial style photographs from Jeanette May, incorporates images of men in their bachelor pads. May’s work often focuses on turning the male gaze in on itself, placing men in vulnerable positions that mimic the fashion shoots and advertisements gracing the pages of women’s magazines today. These bachelors do not have names, but instead go by game show titles such as Bachelor #1, and so on. The men do not make eye contact with the camera, but lounge in subtly seductive poses as they allow the voyeuristic gaze to capture their home-life. The quality and colors of these photographs are stunning and stand out with a unique, editorial voice against the rest of the work.
As disparate as these three collections of work are, the fact that they have evolved from photographic material ties them together neatly. For some, color and pattern is the medium by which the artist speaks, using contrasting tones to indicate emotion and thought-provoking elements. The difficulty in making this show appear cohesive is in the placement of the installation. Each artist had a wall to install her work. This separated the various series but allowed them to interact with each other from across the room. Although having one of Dorosh’s pieces on the opposite side of the room felt somewhat disjointed when mixed in with one of Ross’ prints, the overall gist of the show was a nuanced overview of contemporary themes in photographic art.
But that’s a different story…, highlights the work of women artists who incorporate photography into their work. In this show, three diverse and unique visions push the boundaries of what photography is. Dorosh’s prints incorporate sculpture, whereas May’s fine art prints mimic corporate advertisements with a political twist. A.I.R. Gallery’s background as the first women-run cooperative art gallery in North America provides a distinctly feminist lens through which we can view the work of these talented and forward-thinking artists. A.I.R. Gallery continues to provide a breath of fresh air.
But that’s a different story… is on view through May 27th, 2011 at A.I.R. Gallery, located at 111 Front Street, #228. For more information, go to www.airgallery.org.