View Find: Emerging and Mid-Career Artists
Artist Proof is pleased to announce View Find: an exhibition of Photograph works by emerging and mid-career artists; Philippe Bréson, Annabell Blank, Fred Maroon, and Conor Spriggs. A curated selection of photographs will be on view from Saturday, November 10th - Sunday, December 23, 2018. These artists, at varying stages of their artistic careers, use the viewfinder tool located on the top of the camera. Whether it be digital or film cameras, the device allows one's eye to capture their world and the origin of one's creativity.
Philippe Bréson (b. 1960, Paris, France) began practicing photography and the historical process of Silver Gelatin printing at a very young age. Initially attracted to photography’s immense power to record and interpret the world, Bréson explains that as he furthered his exploration of fine art photography, he continues to be attracted to searching for a singularity in the gaze and the depth of photographic writing. Philippe Bréson claims a surgical and manipulative approach to his photographic process. Preferring to use the gelatin silver technique, which allows him to intervene physically on the image, Bréson uses the negative, the patina and the strips. Unafraid of the irreversible damage, the risk, and transgression that this method involves, the manual process delivers original proofs on which the hand of the artist is overtly present. Each photograph is unique, and its preservation offers much more guarantees than that of its modern equivalents. Bréson prefers the ancient photographic process, the use of gum bichromate, cyanotype or shooting camera obscura for their versatility and the dialogue that they maintain with the history of photography. For Bréson it’s impossible to disassociate the image captured from the post-production work. The laboratory phase is where everything happens; it is the place of experimentation and where the accidents are inseparable from his photographic practice. It is in the darkroom that an image captured is freed and can truly express itself. Furthermore, this photographer makes his tools which to him is imperative to his photographic approach.
Annabell Blank's (b. 2000, Guangzhou, China) photography takes more of a documentarian approach similar to that the New York school of photography, a loosely defined group of photographers between the late 1930s and the early 1960s that redefined street photography. These photographers had careers untainted by modern influences such as social media which Blank explains, "can serve as distractions to an artist." Those photographers were driven by a genuine interest to document the world, and in a way, Annabell Blank's photography is a testimony to this ascetic. "I never have a focused intent when I decide to take my camera out to shoot. When I see something that might be interesting I take a photo," explains Blank of her photography style. Inspired by Saul Leiter and his modest philosophies that shaped his work and life, Blank seeks to mirror these qualities in her approach to photography. Capturing the random choreography of New York's sidewalk, there is a sense of the fleeting and candid, yet rejects the anecdotal descriptiveness of most photojournalism.
Fred J. Maroon (American, 1924-2001) was a photographer of international renown. His career spanned more than half a century and touched on topics ranging from fashion to food and architecture to politics. In addition to the numerous awards garnered during his career, Maroon’s works are featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Library of Congress. During 1950-1951, Maroon was awarded a scholarship to do graduate architectural studies at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. At the same time, Life Magazine in New York offered Maroon a ‘stringer’ position in their Paris bureau for the year. Maroon was able to travel extensively through post-war Europe He went to 19 different countries capturing the history, devastation, and rebirth he found on the continent – the people and places were seen through the eyes of a young American war veteran, fresh out of university, curious yet unsophisticated, as he intuitively reacted to the scenes he witnessed. The Europe Fred Maroon saw and documented with his camera was still recovering from the ravages of World War Two and in the process of rebuilding, but with a very few exceptions, his camera did not focus on the still ubiquitous physical reminders of the war, but rather on the ordinary people he encountered as they went about their daily lives.
In contrast to traditional photography, Conor Spriggs (b. 1999, Pasadena, CA) doesn't just capture moments but combines the dream realm and reality with the help of his camera and imagination. The goal is to make it look as realistic as possible even if the scene itself contains impossible elements. Inspired by Surrealist photography movement, an intellectual and artistic movement that started in the early 1920s in France, Spriggs is pushing the boundaries of what is achievable with a photograph. With the emergence of Photoshop, there has been a more advanced movement of surrealism in photography. Spriggs sites Erik Johansson as the first introduction to the contemporary surrealistic revolution in Photography. Working with a Canon T6i camera, Spriggs sources inspiration from the world around him and continues to builds upon that in his studio. Highly sensitive to the world around him, Spriggs explains "I often find myself getting stressed out over these things that I have no control over. These series of photographs represent my feelings towards these problems." From illustrating the stresses of school to the fear of death, there are no computer generated, illustrated or stock photos in Spriggs' work. An intricate composition of his original photographs, with the intent that each image and part has its purpose. "I constantly find myself in this never-ending day-dream where I try to find new ways of making my world more interesting. By letting my imagination control the artwork that I produce, I find myself creating these worlds of surrealism more often than not. This idea of escaping reality and finding a different approach to ordinary life is very prominent in my work." - Conor Spriggs