© Joni Sternbach

Joni Sternbach: Abandoned: 4.8.17, #8, 2004
Ambrotype, 8 x 10 inches

Permutations on the Picturesque

Adam Bartos
, Denis Dailleux, Tim Maul, Richard Misrach, John Pfahl, Jem Southam, Joni Sternbach

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to announce "Permutations on the Picturesque", a selection of work by seven photographers with differing approaches to the subject of landscape.

The title of the show is derived from a body of work completed in 1997 by John Pfahl. Influenced by the writings of the 18th Century's Picturesque Movement, specifically, Malcolm Andrews and William Gilpin, Pfahl photographed sites "hallowed by photographic worship", such as England's Lake District, the Wye Valley in Wales, Lake Como, and Venice.

Each image was scanned and manipulated to remove "distracting" elements, and modified to resemble Picturesque period watercolors. By leaving enlarged pixels that span the length of the image, Pfahl disqualifies the images from becoming a late 20th C. realization of the Picturesque ideal.

Richard Misrach has spent most of his career photographing the intersection between man and nature. His prodigious "Golden Gate" series, photographed from the same viewpoint at different times of day, captures every variation of light and weather. Not unlike grand views of 18th and 19th C. landscape painting, Misrach's Golden Gate photographs represent a cultural and political landmark in all its splendor. British photographer, Jem Southam, like Misrach, is also interested in landscape in a continual state of flux. He returns repeatedly to the same carefully selected sites, painstakingly creating a record of the patterns of environmental change. His large-scale images fuse the formal composition of traditional landscape representation with the social conscience of modern documentary projects.

Joni Sternbach turns to 19th C. photographic processes - specifically, ambrotypes printed on glass or tin - to impart the notion of the picturesque to scenes of desolate coastlines and abandoned structures. Past and present, beauty and decay are conflated in her diminutive images.

In the photographs of Denis Dailleux, a Paris-based photographer who has worked in the Middle East for over a decade, the picturesque is represented by the exoticism of non-Western culture, specifically, the landscape and inhabitants of Cairo. Following a tradition of 19th C. colonial travel narrative, Dailleux's photographs bring into question the role of the artist as barometer of cultural difference.

Tim Maul also explores the conventions of "tourism", photographing frequently in Ireland where this series of panoramas was taken. In a sequence of four related images suggesting postcards, the notion of "picture perfect" is disrupted by factors-environmental and technical - beyond the artist's control.

The photographs of Adam Bartos, by virtue of his perfectly elaborated compositions and brilliant color sense, elevate the commonplace to the picturesque. Slices of urban architecture-in this case, the somewhat provisional structures found in the backstreets of Venice, CA, are transformed by Bartos' lens into layered and poetic landscapes.

Exhibition: November 4, 2004 - January 8, 2005
Gallery hours: Wed-Fri 10 am - 6 pm, Sat 11 am - 6 pm
Tuesdays by appointment

Senior & Shopmaker Gallery
21 East 26th Street
USA-New York, NY 10010
Telephone +1 212 213-6767
Fax +1 212 213-4801
Email gallery@seniorandshopmaker.com