Rational Formal was a collaborative curatorial project developed by Matthew C. Lange, Michelle Leftheris, Adam Ryder and Phoebe Streblow. Ideas for this exhibition emerged through sustained conversations amongst all participants, regarding the subjects, intents, aesthetics, and strategies in each other’s approach to photography.
At a passing glance, divergences in the artists’ field of action appear significant. While Matthew C. Lange repurposes mid-century information devices to theorize a cosmological social system referred to as The Plummet Machine, Michelle Leftheris interweaves photography, sculpture, and video to delineate or transverse corporeal and psychical spaces. Closer to Lange’s interest in generative systems, Adam Ryder’s work focuses on the creation of narratives combining authored and found images referencing the parafictional Renovatio Imperii organization. Phoebe Streblow uses photographs and collage to examine personal and collective unconscious through sibylline astrological perspectives.
Differences notwithstanding, the conditions and means by which all artists employ photographic media converge around common values and a willingness to open artistic creation to public or interpersonal discourse. Using the perceived objectivity of image-making, presentation and reproduction devices to convey abstract notions or liminal states, Rational Formal consistently references informational or museological display. This mode of presentation combines artworks, sketches, inspiration boards, diagrams, props, related ephemera, and texts, offering them to collective re-evaluation while demanding that their conceptual underpinnings remain central.