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June 15, 2004

Stylish, Affordable and Retro Art, and Polaroid Maniacs Revisited

I've talked about a number of photographic artists that share similar approaches or sensibilities, whether it be in the area of photojournalism, postmodern staged photography, or alternative processes, and it's interesting to find corresponding galleries that not only orient themselves toward certain genres or approaches, but strive to maintain a distinct identity, beyond collecting prints from a few of the biggest names and the "hot" artists of the moment.

Ricco Marresca is a NYC based gallery I talked about last week that has a number of emerging photographers using alternative processes in more modern (or postmodern) ways, and Robin Rice Gallery is another very interesting gallery devoted to emerging artists. The sensibility behind the stable of artists at Robin Rice is a little trickier to pin down, and the owner of the gallery says that the artists don't belong to any single genre:

" 'In 1990 I opened the Robin Rice Gallery. While artists I show are, by choice, new, emerging or established, they belong to no one particular group or school.'... 'More simply, I endeavor to acquire and exhibit work that I would choose for my own personal collection, with a sympathetic approach to the artist' "

Indeed, there's an interesting mix of photographers with expansive commercial portfolios as well as photographers who seem more fine arts oriented...but it appears that most photographers have a very distinctive visual approach...heavy use of toned black and white, selective focus, a more classic, "retro" look applied to modern subjects...and for artists that use color, the color tends toward pastels and a painterly look, but there's a slightly unusual and contemporary edge to the color, compositions, and subject matter that keeps the images looking interesting. (Distortion and holga and pinhole type visions are also in evidence with a few of the artists).

* When I saw Todd Burris' work, for example, without looking at the captions, I thought I was looking at the work of an unknown fashion photographer from the '50s...but it's actually smart and very retro looking '90s fashion and editorial work. Bill Phelps' work at the same gallery mines a similar vein, as does the work of Christine Cody. In heavy doses, this approach can get stale and predictable, but there's no question that these photographers have some very nice looking work in their galleries.


Todd Burris image

* On the color front, you have the enigmatic work of Patricia Heal (more images from past exhibitions here and here), whose painterly color prints (especially in the area of fashion) remind me of a more subdued Sarah Moon. There's also Kim Reierson's more saturated, close-up photographs of vintage automobiles in various states of motion and distortion, from her recent exhibition, Devotion.


"Mayra" Patricia Heal image


"Cream Jete", 2004 Kim Reierson image

There are several other worthwhile artists and galleries at the Robin Rice gallery website, though less than half of the artists have images online, and a few (such as the talented and prolific RJ Muna) are better represented by other work or by their own sites. Best of all, the art at Robin Rice appears to be generally affordable (according to New York Magazine's Best of 2004 blurb), and the devotion to emerging artists extends to rotating shows fairly regularly.

* I liked the glimpse of Polaroid obsessive Mike Slack when I saw it featured in Idanda a couple of months ago, and it looks like his recently released book, OK OK OK, continues to get favorable exposure. Here's a recent extensive interview with Slack in webesteem magazine (link courtesy of paperbrigade.com), and an even larger and more generous gallery of those excellent Polaroid color compositions.

(If you like this type of Polaroid work, it's also worth checking out, in a very similar vein, the fine Polaroids of JP Zorn and Joerg Colberg).


Mike Slack Polaroid

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Thanks for mentioning my work!

Posted by: Joerg at Jun 15, 2004 10:26:28 AM

15 photographers from germany. great work.

Posted by: torsten at Jul 17, 2004 6:31:15 PM

Of all the great retro fashion designers of out time it is my humble opinion that Tommy Hilfiger is one of the greatest and most successful we have ever seen. He exudes success and his product range is of the highest quality and made from the best raw materials.

Posted by: Tommy Hilfiger Store at Jun 28, 2008 5:44:26 AM