Fan Mail

Fan Mail: Laura Stevens

Laura Stevens is a photographer whose work blends the elegance of the cinematic with the erudition of the documentary. She shoots her subjects—most often a number of single female figures—in series that detail an engaging range of emotional and psychological states. The action in these images takes place in similarly evocative and highly staged domestic settings: an antique and ornately wallpapered hotel room, a subject’s bedroom, kitchen, or living room.

Laura Stevens. Sofia from the series Another November, 2014; archival giclée pigment print; 60 x 90 cm. Courtesy of the Artist.

Laura Stevens. Sofia, from the series Another November, 2014; archival giclée pigment print; 60 x 90 cm. Courtesy of the Artist.

In her series Another November (2014), Stevens poses lone female figures in intimate, vulnerable, yet commanding positions in domestic spaces. This emotionally powerful series is meant to evoke the stages that the artist—and many others—go through after the end of a significant relationship. Stevens describes the impetus behind Another November: “Whilst adjusting to being a single woman, I started to create a photographic narrative based on the experience of losing love; directing other women to portray the gradual emotional and circumstantial stages, along the well-trodden track of the broken-hearted.” For this body of work, Stevens essentially created a vicarious and fundamentally empathic photographic depiction of grieving for lost relationships, a universal—yet impossibly individual—experience.

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New York

Randal Barnett: JEF+KEV//SIM at United Solo Theatre Festival

On September 21, Randal Barnett’s JEF+KEV//SIM infiltrated the ranks of this year’s United Solo Theatre Festival and inoculated its lineup of “straight” theater with the virus of queer performance art. Solo performance and performance art share a symbiotic genesis, solo performance being fundamentally based in storytelling that often features the absence of a “fourth wall” and performance art seeking to eradicate this distinction entirely, its vital action grafted to an everyday ontology. Thrust forth from this lineage, JEF+KEV//SIM is inescapably live. It is a performative testament to such everyday experience, specifically the gritty, hopeless mundanity of bearing the load of queer cultural trauma.

Randal Barnett. JEF+KEV//SIM, 2014 (still); performance; TRT 40:00, Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Joelle Ballam-Schwan.

Randal Barnett. JEF+KEV//SIM, 2014 (still); performance; 40:00. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Joelle Ballam-Schwan.

In JEF+KEV//SIM, Barnett conjures three personas: Jeff, a saltwater aquarium enthusiast (who may also be Jeffrey Dahmer); Simon, a meth-addict soothsayer wired into the cybernetic subconscious; and Kevin, an overgrown child of privilege leeching a living in the empty mansion of his dead family. Kevin is also the only victim that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer let go free. Barnett’s Kevin is actually based on the true story of one of Dahmer’s first abductions, and it evokes the oft-hushed queer aspects of the Dahmer narrative. The horror of Kevin’s near miss plays on cultural fears about the dangers of cruising, and Barnett’s Kevin lives under the thumb of this trauma, laughing it off even as it seeps into the texture of his other sexual encounters, festering like the described rotting fruit on the kitchen counter of his dead parents’ mansion.

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(detail) at Transition Gallery

The premise seems simple: A painter’s painter curates an exhibition comprising one work each from 118 painters. The breadth of the offering covers the full gamut of the medium and, as a result, creates a beautiful crisis for the genre of painting—and that’s because there isn’t a lick of paint in the most painterly concerned of painting shows.

(detail), 2014; installation view, Transiton Gallery, London. Courtesy of Andrew Bracey and Transiton Gallery. Photo: Andrew Bracey

(detail), 2014; installation view, Transition Gallery, London. Courtesy of Andrew Bracey and Transiton Gallery. Photo: Andrew Bracey

For (detail), artist–curator Andrew Bracey asked each of the artists to contribute a detail of one of their works, to be enlarged and exhibited in a montage of photographic detail. The show could be seen as a virtual offering that feels familiar, in which images occur one after the other with a curatorial rhythm. Visually, it’s perfectly realized—the images play off of each other without any one image dominating, because to emphasize individual moments that pop or come together would work against what’s actually being presented. The irony of this situation is that it’s exactly the kind of show that has been painfully needed for a long time, but now that it’s arrived, it’s hard to know what to do with it.

For Transition Gallery, the show presents a modernist exhibition with each of the works offered as a 68.5-centimeter (27-inch) square, scaled to neatly fit the white-cube gallery.[1] Usually, a detail will offer insight or a clearer understanding of its subject. This show offers no such aid. By design, the individual pieces cannot provide any real insight into their respective source work, as they are detached from the very subject they purport to examine. This is strictly detail about detail. Conceptually, it pushes well beyond Peter Halley’s argument of a thing being so hyper-modern that it becomes postmodern. One is left to wonder: Is this a meta-painting show—a show so much about painting that it no longer can be about painting?

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New Orleans

AnnieLaurie Erickson: Data Shadows at Carroll Gallery

Photographer AnnieLaurie Erickson has spent a lot of time lately being watched by law enforcement. In her recent trip this year to Oklahoma, she stood on public property, taking photographs while security guards, local officers, and state police looked on. One might ask, what has she been photographing that requires so much surveillance? The answer is: big data centers throughout the Southern United States, the subject of her smart exhibition Data Shadows at Tulane University’s Carroll Gallery. Erickson’s fourteen photos and one interactive installation explore what happens to the everyday internet data we create.

Google Data Center, Surveillance Cameras, Mayes County, OK, 2014; Archival pigment print;  40 in. x 56 in. Courtesy of AnnieLaurie Erickson and Tulane University. Photo: AnnieLaurie Erickson.

AnnieLaurie Erickson. Google Data Center, Surveillance Cameras, Mayes County, OK, 2014; archival pigment print; 40 x 56 in. Courtesy of AnnieLaurie Erickson and Tulane University. Photo: AnnieLaurie Erickson.

Only last year, Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been monitoring communications including email, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social-networking information. While the Arab Spring exemplified how social media could diffuse power, Snowden demonstrated that collecting huge swaths of data permits the government to monitor—and potentially control—social movements. Erickson’s photographs reveal the sites where that information is stored. Pigment print Google Data Center, Surveillance Cameras, Mayes County, OK (2014) depicts a massive white complex behind a chain-link fence. One lone light shines high above the industrial buildings. Throughout Erickson’s Data Center series, fences interrupt the onlooker’s view, a reminder that the majority of us are outside the periphery of control over our information.

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From the Archives

From the Archives – Help Desk: Padding the Resume

Today from our archives we bring you a Help Desk column that never goes out of style. To submit your question anonymously, follow this link. All submissions become the property of Daily Serving. 

Artists are routinely asked to donate work toward the benefit of an organization. I have reached the point where I am just not sure how my participation ranks along with my overall exhibition history. Also, benefit shows vary greatly in scope and prestige. With some, artists are carefully selected, and others—well, we simply add to the giant pot in order to be able to help out in what little way we can. So what (if any) is a suitable way to list auctions, charitable donations, or benefit shows on one’s CV? Do they go in the “Select Group Exhibitions” category? Do they need an asterisk of some kind? Do they get their own section? Or do they stay out altogether? Furthermore, when panels or curators view résumés, do they view these things as positive qualities or simply as résumé padding?

The short answer is that there is not only one answer. There’s a bit of confusion about CVs and résumés, since the two terms are often interchangeably used. However, you might want to think about your CV as an all-encompassing master document that lists every show, residency, award—and yes, charity auction—that you’ve ever participated in. After all, CV is short for curriculum vitae, or “the course of one’s life,” and it’s a good idea to keep such a document for your future biographers so that they get the facts straight when they’re writing about your early years.

Oscar Tuazon. Sensory Spaces, 2013; installation view, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Studio Hans Wilschut.

Oscar Tuazon. Sensory Spaces, 2013; installation view, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Studio Hans Wilschut.

Your résumé, on the other hand, is a document that usually has a prescribed length (“no more than two pages”) and should be tailored to the position for which you are applying. I checked in with Bert Green of Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago, and he also expressed this opinion:

“An artist’s exhibition résumé is intended to give as complete a picture as possible of how widely and well the artist’s work is exhibited and to demonstrate an involvement in and commitment to the art world. Some artists maintain two exhibition résumés, a comprehensive version with every single exhibition they have ever participated in and a shorter version that is used publicly, to save space and emphasize quality. Generally the comprehensive version is not shared, but it is a good idea to maintain one as a document for posterity.”

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Shotgun Reviews

Issei Suda: Life in Flower 1971–1977 at Miyako Yoshinaga

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Bansie Vasvani reviews Issei Suda: Life in Flower 1971–1977 at Miyako Yoshinaga in New York City.

Oume 1977

Issei Suda. Oume, 1977, 1977; gelatin silver print; 8.8 x 8.8 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, New York.

Using a medium-format camera, Issei Suda’s square-shaped black-and-white portraits capture the liminal moments between posed and candid situations to elevate otherwise mundane moments of daily life in 1970s Tokyo. The exhibition Issei Suda: Life in Flower 1971–1977 at the Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, New York, includes stylized images from two series: Fushi Kaden (“The Flowering Spirit,” 1978) and Waga Tokyo 100 (“My Tokyo 100,” 1979). More than thirty years since each series was taken, Suda’s photographs produce a sense of nostalgia, and are a reminder of Japan’s rapidly changing cultural landscape.

In Oume, 1977 (1977) and Yokohama Sankei-en, Umematsuri, 1977 (1977), Suda gestures toward an adoration of youth and purity conveyed by the innocence and charm of two young girls. In Oume, 1977,a girl stands beneath a cherry-blossom tree weighed down by its flowering branches. The tree forms a large, delicate white halo around her head, beatifying her presence. Meanwhile, the photograph Yokohama Sankei-en, Umematsuri, February 13, 1977 (1977) depicts an unsuspecting child with large, bow-shaped white ribbons in her hair and a black-and-white, polka-dotted kimono. Caught mid-blink, the child remains in a perpetual state of girlhood within the photograph. The emotional tonality and profundity of Suda’s work emerges from the very indeterminacy between the attentive and unmindful.

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San Francisco

Cynthia Ona Innis: Shift at Traywick Contemporary

Our partners at Art Practical are celebrating their sixth annual Shotgun! issue, so today we bring you Maria Porges’ review of Cynthia Ona Innis: Shift at Traywick Contemporary in Berkeley, California. This article was originally published on September 25, 2014.

Cynthia Ona Innis.
 Shift, 2014; acrylic and satin on canvas; 
45 x 50 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Traywick Contemporary, Berkeley.

Cynthia Ona Innis.
 Shift, 2014; acrylic and satin on canvas; 
45 x 50 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Traywick Contemporary.

Rather than being representations of place, Cynthia Ona Innis’ paintings are evocations of the experience of landscape. Innis favors locations where change is visible and constant—like Iceland, where she visited a year ago; the fault-ridden ground of the Bay Area; or the dramatic scenery of the Eastern Sierras: Mono Lake, desert playa, and high mountain peaks.

In the paintings and works on paper included in her exhibition Shift at Traywick Contemporary, cascades of fluid, transparent color invoke geysers and waterfalls. They also suggest the effects of light, ranging from dense fog to blinding reflections on water, or the striation of sandstone in shades of warm tan and brown. But these biomorphic blots and splashes are rarely left to simply pour down the surface of Innis’ paintings. A variety of fabrics that include satin, silk, and velvet are first stained and then cut into strips. Innis manipulates them horizontally, arranging them on wood panels, canvas, or paper. A final layer of varnish fixes the collaged materials in place, though their raised edges remain visible.

Read the full article here.