The oldest of the works on view are photographs by iconic German portrait photographer August Sander. Sander documented the lives of a variety of people during the Weimar Republic, the democratic state that rose in Germany after World War I. Police Officer (1925) shows a middle-aged man with a long, wiry moustache. Small details catch the eye—his wedding band, his dusty uniform, the knotted strap holding his blade—developing an almost anthropological feel to the works. Handlanger (1928) shows a young man carrying a stack of bricks on his shoulders using a rudimentary hod; strong and firm in stature, the man evokes an image of Atlas.
Srur, an Argentine photographer, also documents people, and mines the contemporary world they inhabit for inspiration. Suburbios, Ciudad del Este (2008) shows silhouettes of men precariously assembling the frame of a billboard, set before a stunning pink and blue sky; Terminal de ómnibus, Ciudad del Este (2008) shows a young woman surveying a bus station, bags in hand, sternly gazing off beyond the picture plane. Srur captures mundane aspects of life from a unique perspective, prompting viewers to reconsider everyday scenes and offering insights into the lives of his subjects—from emotional state to socioeconomic status. Through their use of color and depictions of architecture, portraiture, and landscape, two photographs of a traffic jam from his 2008 “Ciudad del Este” series show how striking even the most frustrating and commonplace events in life can be.
In his photography, such as 5¢—Demopolis, Alabama and Kudzu with Red Soil Bank—Near Akron, Alabama (both 1978), Christenberry documents the landscape of his native home of Alabama. His more recent works are drawings, executed in spindly, suggestive ink lines and forms, such as Southern Tree I (1999) and Southern Tree (2008). Although much of his drawing is representational, Untitled (2004) approaches abstraction, through a rich composition of hash marks and biomorphic forms.
When viewing the works by all three artists together, one recognizes that the impulse to document everyday life has been, and will continue to be, one of art’s great driving forces.
Visit FEROZ Galerie at SP-Arte 2015, Booth SC17, Apr. 9–12, 2015.