Configuration : George Woodman, Janieta Eyre, Owen O'Meara, Eric Schwartz
Sep 11 – Oct 30, 2004
Configuration deals with current approaches toward the figure in photography. Exhibited are the esoteric, narrative portraits of Eric Schwartz and George Woodman, the eccentric pairs of Janieta Eyre, and the sensitive, modern lens of Owen O'Meara. Select and alternative in its view, Configuration offers four distinctly different dialogues on one of photography's most familiar subjects.
George Woodman was primarily a painter from the 1950s until 1987, when he turned to photography full-time. For nearly 40 years he has divided his time between the U.S. and Italy. His photographic images are highly constructed, with elements often double exposed or reversed, and layered over other images of objects, people or nature. Woodman's photographs are themselves baroque in their profusion and complex imagery of loss and regeneration.
Selected collections: Denver Art Museum; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Toronto-native Janieta Eyre has gained attention in the contemporary art world with her surreal portraits of herself as twins through the use of double exposure. The submission of figure to ground, the stiff, hieratic frontality, and the doppelganger devices all create a sense of the erasure of individuality. The artist explains "Identity is something which belongs to everyone else. I think of each of my images as a kind of burial." The images pull at the viewer with awkward, resistant stances and carefully calculated and equally unexplained narratives. Eyre's costumes, props, titles, and her imaginative wit suggest not so much identity lost as identity hidden.
Selected collections: Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; Musee D'Art Contemporain, Montreal; The National Gallery of Art, Reykjavik, Iceland
Denver-based artist Owen O'Meara creates figure studies inspired by the work of Edward Weston, Eikoh Hosoe, and Helmut Newton. Finding the human figure without limit with regard to interpretation, the space of O'Meara's photographs is one of profound intimacy. His friendship with sculptor John DeAndrea precipitated the study Model with Statue I, juxtaposing a live model with one of DeAndrea's hyperrealistic female nude sculptures.
The large format inkjet images by Denver-based artist Eric Schwartz raise issues of devotion and doubt, reality and fiction. The viewer is compelled to enter his spare but weighted spaces with responses that may range from the judgmental to an unquestioned reverence, as the conversation evolves further into the personal. Schwartz' subjects inhabit both their spiritual garments and private histories as they redirect the viewer toward shared ground. The artist states, "Although we believe that we make our major life decisions through rational behavior we, in fact, decide based on abstract concepts, projection, and emotion. I chose the images of a priest and a nun because of their uniforms. These garments signal the profound sacrifice the religious believe they must make in order to serve their God, the most abstract concept of all. Inherent in these images is an ambiguity and conflict which I believe we all face as observers and participants."