What is the difference between land and landscape?
I am not trying to dash altogether the idea that landscape can offer an alternative space of otherness, rest or separation- particularly from a digitized image world- but rather, I am questioning where exactly we might find the hope or difference in landscape. Or more specifically, I’m interested in why you are turning to landscape, in the way that you are currently, using analog photography as a means of recording your confrontation or facing-toward landscape.
Are you finding that the main difference you experience with landscape is about being in that space as a photographer, or about the space itself as separate from you, or about the remainder of that space as it is secured in the photographic image? I’m asking because I feel like all three of those modes of relating to landscape could be quite different. Since I wasn’t there in the snow with you that day, I find that I am for the most part clutching the final document, the remainder of your time, the photograph itself, in my search for signs of a sense of space and difference in the landscape as it is rendered frozen, two-dimensional and black and white in your shots.
One of the things that I find relieving about these two images that you sent is that they are comparably more free of coded signs than most other images I deal with during my day, such as reproductions of works of art, news images, photographs of faces coded with signifying expressions. The landscape is not attempting to communicate with me in the photograph, although I suppose it could be communicating in some manner with something (not me).
But for you, you were there in the space with your binary vision of two eyes, and your mono-perspective of the camera lens, and the snowy escarpment itself. Was the landscape most real in your lens or in your eyes, or was there no difference? I feel like this question probably sounds unclear. What I mean is, how did you see the landscape and what was it like for you?
-Dr. Abigail Susik in a letter to Jordan Tate, 2.6.18, 12:38 P.M. PST
Denny Dimin Gallery is pleased to announce Polemics of the Landscape, a solo exhibition by Jordan Tate, on view from July 11th to August 16th, 2019. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.
Polemics of a Landscape is a new, ongoing body of work by Jordan Tate exploring the experience of viewing land and making landscape photographs. It is a marked departure from the work for which he is best known, a conceptual digital photography practice. In early 2018, Tate embarked on a series of written correspondence with art historian Abigail Susik in which they create a framework for how to talk about this work, investigating philosophy and art criticism alongside of their everyday experiences of travel, teaching, and familial obligations. A publication of their letters and Tate’s photographs will be part of the exhibition. The publication is titled Picturesque Snot, an alternate title for the series which explores a typo of “snow” Tate made early in their exchanges. Susik writes, “It’s like as soon as you captured the photographic image, the coolness of the place, its difference of land, was suddenly transmuted into gooey snot as ‘picturesque’ enframed picture-landscape.”
Jordan Tate (born 1981 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Indiana University. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 2008-2009. Tate’s work is currently held in collections nationwide, including Rhizome at the New Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Fred and Laura Bidwell Collection, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Tate has exhibited at the Transformer Station (Cleveland, OH), Denny Gallery (NYC), Galerie Christophe Gaillard (Paris, France), Higher Pictures (NYC), The Photographers Gallery (London, UK), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland.