KM Fine Arts is pleased to present ACHROMATIC, a solo exhibition of new work by LA based photographer Randall Slavin at KM FINE ARTS | Los Angeles from April 14th – May 17th, 2016. A public opening reception with the artist will be held on Thursday April14th, from 7-9PM.
ACHROMATIC will feature18 large-scale photographs from Slavin’s newest series of work focusing on the female nude from an innovative perspective. While his extensive experience as a celebrity portrait photographer has enabled him to cultivate a group of subjects including models and actresses (Emily Ratajkowski, Stephanie Corneliussen, Masha Rudenko, and Genevieve Morton are a few included in this project), this newest body of work aims to shift the focus off of the relative celebrity of the subjects and onto the composition, process, and aesthetics of the work.
Slavin’s ability to sway between traditional portraiture and provocative nude photography is not new to the art world. Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton may be the best examples we have of a photographer’s ability to mediate between these two extremes. For example, Mapplethorpe’s most famous imagery may be intensely erotic, but his subdued celebrity portraiture played a critical role in the development of his oeuvre.
Art history’s fascination with the female nude has not gone undocumented; from the first fully nude depictions of Aphrodite in ancient Greece to Willem de Kooning’s obsession with his semi-abstracted Women, the Western world has no shortage of the subject. For this exhibition, Slavin makes no attempt reconfigure or deconstruct the iconic theme, but rather offer a new way to experience it.
Influenced by Lucien Clergue’s mastery of lighting and composition and Allison Van Pelt’s paintings of prize fighters, Slavin developed a technique that reduces the clarity of the photographs; he has stepped away from the voyeuristic nature of nude photography and into a realm of suggested imagery. He explains:
“I have always been inspired by the idea of the things we think we see... how we as humans fill in the blanks with our own imagination. How in 1960 moviegoers were certain they had seen the goriest murder ever filmed in Hitchcock’s classic PSYCHO when in reality they had seen nothing. They felt it. They imagined it. I liked this idea when it comes to photography. How we spectators fill the image with our own life story.”
The resulting image is akin to looking through a fogged window. The bodies of his enlisted models and actresses are obscured just enough to exist within the margin between eroticism and modesty. The boundaries of an elbow, breast, or forehead dissolve flawlessly with the white on white backgrounds of the work. They are sensuously contorted and even appear to be in motion, yet they retain a degree of quiet elegance.
About the Artist
Randall Slavin is a prestigious celebrity portrait photographer born and raised in Hollywood, CA. His photography debuted in New York Times Magazine, and has since been seen in every major title from GQ and Esquire to Rolling Stone. He has exhibited in Paris, and has participated in a solo show at Annenburg Space for Photography. In 2011, he received the Hollywood Style Award for Photographer of the Year and currently splits his time in LA and New York.