SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Crown Point Press announces our second photogravure project with San Francisco-based photographer John Chiara. On view April 7 to June 3, "John Chiara: New Cityscapes" features four new prints alongside working proofs and photographic contact prints that Chiara used to develop the images. The exhibition reveals the complex stages required to make a photogravure, a hands-on process that dates to the invention of photography in the 19th century. The completed prints, three in color and one in black and white, are a new body of work that reflects the changing landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. There will be a reception with the artist on Saturday, April 22, from 4-7pm.
In the Crown Point studio last fall, John Chiara developed his new photogravures from positive and negative films taken at four cross-streets in San Francisco and Oakland. Courtney Sennish, lead printer on the project, has said that Chiara was interested in exploring color and form in a way that he cannot do in his photography. In "Federal at Oak," for example, he combined visual elements that did not occur at the same time in nature. He did this by layering images and creating a subtle red-orange gradation, a use of color that was particular to the project and developed independently from his photography.
"John Chiara: New Cityscapes" presents, in addition to "Federal at Oak," two images of urban development in downtown San Francisco and one of a single-family home peeking through the city’s natural foliage in "Quintara at 14th." A selection of "Quintara at 14th" working proofs on display demonstrates the artist’s process of creating color for each aspect of the image. Also on view are earlier Chiara photogravures: six prints from his first project with Crown Point Press in 2006.
John Chiara is a landscape photographer whose art is grounded in the physical process of the medium. “The subject of my work is photography itself,” said Chiara. “Its manifestation through its means.” His means are a 7 x 10 x 12-foot camera, essentially a camera obscura or pinhole camera, that he built in 2003-04. The camera’s very large size and 18th century technology force part of his process beyond his control. Chiara uses careful observation, intuition, and chance to capture landscapes that evoke a personal narrative or visual memory of place. He has worked mainly in San Francisco, but also has had residencies or exhibition projects in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Clarksdale (MS), and New York.
John Chiara was born in San Francisco in 1971. He received a B.F.A. from the University of Utah in 1995 and a M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts in 2004. His work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pilara Foundation, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. His work is the subject of a forthcoming monograph to be published by Aperture. Chiara is represented by Haines Gallery in San Francisco and Yossi Milo Gallery in New York.
"John Chiara: New Cityscapes" is on display in the Crown Point Gallery at 20 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, April 7 to June 3, 2017. The gallery hours are Monday 10-5 and Tuesday through Saturday 10-6.