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June 08, 2004

Alt Process Bonanza at one NYC Gallery, Plus Other Artists (and Collages) of Note


The Ricco Maresca gallery in New York City is wrapping up an interesting exhibition featuring two contemporary photographers, Jayne Hinds Bidaut and Mark Kessell, utilizing alternative processes. Apart from the fine work that these two photographers have on display at the gallery, there are other artists worth checking out at the gallery as well. (Here's an interesting interview from Aperture with Bill Hunt, a co-director of the gallery along with Sarah Hasted Mann...it's refreshing to hear from someone who doesn't necessarily go with the pack of others who think gigantic C-prints are the way to go for contemporary artists)

* Jayne Hinds Bidaut has gained increasing renown in the art world for her well-crafted tintypes of nudes and still lifes from nature...tintypes are amazing to look at in person for the way they glow and illuminate detail, so as one might expect, the web can barely approximate their impact, and admittedly Bidaut's early still lifes of certain subjects (like her insects) tend to look quite samey and pro forma online. But her latest work, Nature Morte, featuring more massive tintypes and impressionistic color images, provides good impact even in an online glimpse with their size, and the experiments with color and vegetation play well off the traditional tintypes to underline her chosen themes of life vs death, detail vs fantasy. More images from Bidaut can be seen here and here, and she also has a book out. (Here's a brief review of past work).

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Jayne Hinds Bidaut color image

* Mark Kessel's latest exhibit at Ricco Maresca is FlorileGum, a series of large (11x14) daguerreotypes featuring close-up, impressionistic presentations of surgical instruments (which, as the description points out, look more like nature still lifes given the intriguing treatment). Kessell's work with the daguerreotype is very distinctive, given the range of subjects he applies the process to, and his own web page is a good showcase for his work -- I'm actually very fond of the portraits, and the images in general with people in them. Other galleries on his site worth checking out are Stranger Inside I, Stranger Inside II, and It Was, But It Wasn't Her.

Kessell is one of the stronger and more eloquent advocates for the expressive power of the daguerreotype process on his web site, and he's also featured on another Daguerrotype resource website along with other artists worth taking a look at.

"The daguerreotype is in the midst of another flowering. A small but increasing number of new devotees are acquiring the skills to make interesting images and to push the medium in directions its original practitioners could not have contemplated. The aesthetic of the 19th century remains relevant as historical context for an art form marginalized almost to extinction. But, for most modern viewers, the stylized portraits of that time, while quaint and curious, rarely transport the viewer beyond the rigid immobility of a bewhiskered man or a whaleboned woman.

As a conveyor of beauty, memory, even mystery, the daguerreotype remains an excellent medium. But as a means of portraying one of the defining characteristics of our species - an awareness and simultaneous uncertainty of our own idenitity - this medium, in my view, is not only without rival but has immense untapped potential.

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Looking Glass II, Mark Kessel image

* Gwen Akin and Alan Ludwig use the platinum palladium process to give beauty and mystery to subjects that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to look at. This is most evident with their submissions (along with many others) in the Mutter Museum exhibition of two years ago, an exhibit of images from the collection of the Mutter medical museum in Philadelphia which featured images of skulls, casts, and various disfigured specimens. Akin and Ludwig also have large Diana landscapes in their Ricco Marresca portfolio. Other work from Akin and Ludwig from older exhibitions can be seen here.

* Michael Flomen uses light in unusual and evocative ways to create images of considerable interest, including the light of fireflies in his latest series, and in a past series of ethereal landscapes, the light from vast fields of snow. A little more on Flomen can be found here.

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"Contact" Michael Flomen image

* Finally, the collages just keep on coming, and here are a couple of cool practitioners: Joseph Heidecker , who mucks around with old found 19th century portraits and uses other found objects to create sometimes lighthearted, sometimes nonsensical work that's delightful. Meanwhile, Darryl Baird's Aqueous Humor collages are pure Photoshop, and though some have the usual digital cheese factor, the best ones actually use the cheese to advantage...the technique and sense of humor work more often than they don't. Check them out at his web site, and at his photo-eye gallery.

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Darryl Baird collage, from Aqueous Humor series

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Alt Process Bonanza at one NYC Gallery, Plus Other Artists (and Collages) of Note:

» Bill Hunt on Collecting Photographs from gallery hopper
Via Coincidences, Aperture has posted an excellent, short interview with Bill Hunt, Director of Photography at Ricco/Maresca Gallery. He talks about how he drifted into collecting photos and current trends in the art photography. "PR: What advice would... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2004 11:55:10 AM

» Bill Hunt on Collecting Photographs from gallery hopper
Via Coincidences, Aperture has posted an excellent, short interview with Bill Hunt, Director of Photography at Ricco/Maresca Gallery. He talks about how he drifted into collecting photos and current trends in the art photography. "Aperture : What advic... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2004 2:15:16 PM

» Bill Hunt on Collecting Photographs from Gallery Hopper
Via Coincidences, Aperture has posted an excellent, short interview with Bill Hunt, Director of Photography at Ricco/Maresca Gallery. He talks about how he drifted into collecting photos and current trends in the art photography. "Aperture : What advic... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 8, 2005 8:31:44 AM

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