EXHIBITION TALK: Saturday, July 21 | 5:30 PM
Stephen Berens in conversation with Curator of Photography at LACMA, Rebecca Morse, and 18th Street Arts Center’s Artistic Director, Anuradha Vikram.
“The past is not dead; it is not even past.” -- William Faulkner
Edward Cella Art & Architecture presents a new body of panoramic landscape photographs by Stephen Berens in an exhibition entitled From There to Here. Informed by the parallels between the 1860s and 1960s, Berens layers and overlaps photographs of specific Civil War battleground sites with Counter Culture gathering sites in America. He does this by physically running the paper through the printer from two to ten times, each layer of ink being set upon a previous layer. Bringing the physicality of these places to materialization, Berens will present a series of new cast bronze sculptures of Civil War cannonballs and 60’s era frisbees.
Observing the deeply embedded nature of the American Civil War in our national identity and its legacy in modern politics, culture, and civil rights alongside the transformation of American culture in the 1960s, Berens confronts the viewer with landscapes, which like history, are both visible and invisible. Absent of the people and their revolutionary actions; the landscapes speak, on one hand, to a tradition of American Landscape painting. In revealing the disjointed nature of the image, a sequence of intersecting ideas and questions emerge.
Over several years, Berens has travelled America photographing sites of historical significance including: Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia; Battle of Stones River, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Total Loss Farm, Guilford, Vermont; and Magic Mountain Music Festival, Marin County, California among others. These journeys were undertaken because at each location something significant, possibly profound, had been experienced by a generation; be it spiritual rebirth, horrific mutilation, euphoric transformation, pain, love, ecstasy, death. Yet, today almost all physical evidence of these transformative experiences has disappeared.
Stephen Berens creates photographs, drawings, paintings, video, sculpture, and site-specific installations that revolve around generative systems. Each work is enveloped in a structure within which the artist seeks unpredictable results. Berens works in series, looking for a particular language that he observes and seeing where it takes him.
Berens has exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, Sheldon Memorial Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, among others. He was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. His work is held in public institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Research Institute, the International Museum of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and others. Grants include a 2014 Center for Cultural Innovation grant, 2013-14 COLA Individual Artist Fellowship, 2012-13 California Community Foundation Getty Fellowship, among others.
Berens is the co-founder of critically acclaimed arts journal X-TRA magazine.