HOUSTON (JULY 1, 2019) — Foto Relevance presents 1000+1, a summer group show featuring selections from Kalee Appleton, Joana P. Cardozo, Mark Chen, Paul-André Larocque, Noelle Mason, Karen Navarro, and Krista Svalbonas. The exhibition will be on view from July 12th through September 6th, 2019, with an opening reception on July 12th at Foto Relevance from 6 to 8 pm.
When thinking about photography, an old adage often comes to mind: a picture is worth a thousand words. To say this is to recognize photography as an inherently communicative and narrative practice, to acknowledge the ways in which a singular image can convey meaning when language falls short. The medium’s unique ability to tell stories and evoke sentiment through visual means is precisely why it remains necessary and essential to our daily lives.
Photography does not exist in a vacuum, however. Years of photojournalism, for example, have long shown how images can be bolstered with writing. Keeping this in mind, a number of questions arise — i.e. what more can be said when photography is combined with other mediums, text or otherwise? What happens when photographs are given a presence beyond two-dimensional prints on paper?
Engaging in this conversation, 1000+1 highlights seven contemporary artists who expand our expectations of photography through the use of photo-based techniques in conjunction with alternative art forms. The exhibition showcases the versatility and malleability of photography, suggesting that one future narrative for the medium lies in its intrinsic ability to accommodate and engage seamlessly with other methods of expression.
Selections include Mark Chen’s cross-generational and cross-cultural works that join his mother’s traditional Chinese watercolor paintings with his own digital photography, as well as Paul-André Larocque’s photo collages, textured with swirling brush strokes of acrylic paint. Works by Joana P. Cardozo and Kalee Appleton both seem to offer reinterpretations of classical art tropes: Cardozo's photo-based floral sculptures — concerned with preserving flowers in light of an ephemeral and ever-changing world — are reminiscent of still life imagery, while Appleton’s unusually-shaped, wood-framed landscapes reinterpret conventional photographic backdrops, pushing the utopian depictions of nature within to be regarded as subjects in their own right.
Karen Navarro’s portraits, composed with an Instagram-themed color palette and embossed with the platform’s top trending hashtags, explore the nature of our constructed identities on social media. Krista Svalbonas’ prints, featuring layers of laser-cut text based on archival letters penned by Baltic refugees uprooted in the aftermath of World War II, give life to historical trauma in the wake of political turmoil. Works by Noelle Mason, in turn, land not too far from this sentiment of displaced bodies: the artist’s hand-woven textiles and cyanotypes translate imagery from surveillance technologies used to seek out undocumented immigrants into tactile forms.
Since 2016, Foto Relevance cofounders Geoffrey C. Koslov and Bryn Larsen have focused on the exhibition and acquisition of museum-quality, contemporary fine art photography and photography-based work. Foto Relevance is dedicated to providing a platform for an innovative selection of American and international photographic artists pushing the boundaries of photography. In addition to promoting the work of artists, Foto Relevance provides guidance, educating individual collectors and corporations in the acquisition and sale of art. Foto Relevance is a member of the Houston Art Gallery Association (HAGA). The gallery is located in the historic Audubon District of Montrose in Houston, Texas.