Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Very Short Analysis of "Aperture Remix: A Sixtieth Anniversary Celebration"

The Aperture Remix exhibition is currently on display at the Ball State Art Museum. I was awarded the prize for "most use" the other day when I admitted, in front of a large audience, to visiting it three times with all my classes. I plan on returning before it closes to peruse the small library thoroughly (sounds like a Saturday afternoon well spent).

The premise of the exhibition explores contemporary photographers looking through the archives of Aperture magazine and responding to their influences. Several of my favorites, both young and old, are represented.

Penelope Umbrico, Moving Mountains (photograph courtesy of Ball State University)

Umbrico was paired with the Masters of Photography series. I was less interested in the original mountain images because I had viewed many of them while working at the Center for Creative Photography in graduate school. Umbrico's work was an unexpected homage to the original yet the presentation still maintained her signature style using low technology as an art form.

Someday I hope to see Sunsets (from Flickr) installed in a gallery space. After looking up this link, I am reminded how very few sunsets I see in one year and how that needs to change.

Stephen Shore and Doug Rickard (image courtesy of Ball State University)

I am thrilled every time I get to see a Stephen Shore print in person, let alone his original Amarillo postcards (below). They were just as mundane and dated as anticipated (hard to believe the world looked like that the year I was born).

Stephen Shore, Tall in Texas, 1972 (image via)

Doug Rickard, Mallard Cove Resort, Lake Sutherland, Port Angeles, Washington, August 27, 1973 (image via)

Doug Rickard's internet search results to find photographs that responded well to Shore's  reminded me of scenes straight out of Mad Men. Of particular interest was the above photograph with two compelling formal combinations: interiors and exteriors and warm and cool colors (particularly blue and yellow).

Images of Alec Soth's video, Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree, in response to Robert Adams's Summer Nights (above two images courtesy of Ball State University)

Unfortunately, the most disappointing part of the exhibition centered around two of my most loved photographers. Maybe there weren't enough of Adams's prints in the exhibition or perhaps it was Soth's casual statement:

"Making night pictures, twenty years later, was a struggle. I just couldn't get the blood pumping through my veins. The world I was looking at didn't feel new. It felt like Robert Adams's world. I had a new camera with a video option that I'd never used. I didn't really know what I was doing technically, but that was an asset. It felt good to be a bit lost."

I should review the video away from the space and in the comfort of the living room because I would like to change my mind.

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