NextLevel is thrilled to present John Chiara’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and for the first time in Europe.
San Francisco-based artist John Chiara (born in 1971) pushes the boundaries of the photographic medium through his choice of process and the mastery of its possibilities. His approach is distinguished by its incredible physicality and recalls the early days of the medium when artists dealt with heavy, awkward equipment and endured long exposure and development times. Chiara’s giant cameras, which he designed and built himself, are transported to locations on a flatbed trailer to produce one-of-a-kind large-scale prints. The design of the cameras, which is much like daguerreotype box cameras, allows the artist to simultaneously shoot and perform his darkroom work while images are recorded directly onto oversized photosensitive paper (not film). This process, which Chiara first discovered as a student in 1999, invites anomalies in his final prints and adds to the mystery and lyricism of his pictures.
John Chiara received his B.F.A. in Photography from the University of Utah in 1995, and his M.F.A. in Photography from the California College of the Arts in 2004. Chiara was an Artist in Residence at Crown Point Press, San Francisco (2006), Gallery Four, Baltimore (2010) and the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts (2010). In 2011 Chiara’s Bridge Project was commissioned by the Pilara Foundation in San Francisco and was included in the Pier 24 Photography group exhibition, HERE. In 2012 Chiara was one of 13 international artists’ whose work was included in the exhibition Crown Point Press at Fifty at the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He also curated the duel-exhibition In Conversation - June Schwarcz and John Chiara, at the Richmond Art Center. The Pilara Foundation again commissioned Chiara in 2013, for the group exhibition A Sense of Place at Pier 24 Photography. Concurrently, Chiara’s work is included in TWISTED SISTERS: Reimagining Urban Portraiture, Museum Bärengasse, Zurich, Switzerland and Staking Claim: A California Invitational, a triennial exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Art. In 2015, John Chiara’s works were exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum for the group show Light, Paper, Process, Reinventing Photography.
The artist’s work is in the permanent public and private collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Pilara Foundation, San Francisco; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Milwaukee; Yale Gallery of Art, Cambridge; Flat Files Collection, Pierogi 2000, Williamsburg, NY; Crown Point Press Archive, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Crown Point Press Archive, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Harry Ransom Center, Austin; Freese Family Collection; Kerstin Morehead Collection; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego among others.
In 2015, works by John Chiara were included in the exhibition “Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography“ curated by Virginia Heckert at the J. Paul Getty Museum.