HOUSTON (APRIL 22, 2019) Foto Relevance presents Glass Relics, a solo exhibition by Robert Calafiore featuring selections spanning ten years’ worth of the artist’s “Oggetti di Vetro” (Objects of Glass) works. In honor of Pride Month, the gallery will also carry a number of Calafiore’s figurative works. The artist’s unique pinhole camera photographs will be on view from May 17th to June 28th, 2019, with an opening on May 17th from 6 to 8 pm.
Calafiore’s “Oggetti di Vetro” images illuminate elaborate constructions of glassware through processes reminiscent of older photographic traditions. Using self-constructed pinhole cameras, the artist creates large, one-of-a-kind chromogenic prints (‘c-prints') that portray his experimentation with vivid color, light, and shadow through purely analog means.
The method behind the works, as described by Calafiore, involves “[l]ive dodging and burning,” as well as the insertion and removal of glass artifacts, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces “to create layers and depth as well as add texture [and] a sense of movement.” The resulting image is a richly-hued negative of how we see color and light; in essence, a reversal of our typical sensory input.
In this manner, the artist takes a collection of glassware—one procured by his immigrant parents during their early days in the United States—and transforms its components from “utilitarian and decorative items” into a still life series elevating the ordinary and the nostalgic “to a magical and otherworldly place.” This is the artistry in what Calafiore has done without digital manipulation.
Calafiore’s figurative photographs—created using the same processes as his glass works—reinterpret a subject matter that bears a classical art history legacy: the male nude. Framed by elaborate sets, the human forms within the artist’s images luminously visualize notions of masculinity, vulnerability, and intimacy.
Robert Calafiore was born in New Britain, Connecticut to Italian immigrants. Raised in a traditional Roman Catholic home and part of a large extended family, religious influences and strong ties to traditions and work ethic have contributed in molding the way he relates to the world. Calafiore received his MFA in Photography from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his BFA in Photography from Hartford Art School. He was recently awarded the Connecticut Artist Fellowship Grant for 2018 and was also named the Second Sight Award artist speaker for Medium Festival of Photography in October 2018. His work has appeared in Photograph Magazine, Diffusion Annual IX, Lenscratch and Collector Daily. Calafiore currently serves as Assistant Dean and Professor of Photography at the University of Hartford.
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.
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