Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Betwixt and Between, an exhibition of photographs by Chicago-based artist Laura Letinsky. The exhibition will include works from multiple series: Hardly More than Ever, Ill Form and Void Full, and Time’s Assignation. The opening reception will also include a book signing for the artist’s sixth monograph, Time’s Assignation (Radius Books), on Friday, September 29th, 6-8 p.m.
Letinsky’s explorations in still life photography, both perfectly lit and meticulously composed, are rooted in a 17th Century Dutch-Flemish vanitas tradition. Foregrounded is the notion of time and the relationship between ripeness and decay; but vitally her work questions the notions of photographic authenticity, and the medium's capacity to illustrate temporality, material, and narrative.
In her earlier series, Hardly More than Ever, her images depict decaying food on empty tables in vacant rooms, exploring themes of indulgence and abandonment, while also alluding to the tensions and disappointments of domestic life. The artist states, “Through my choice of objects and the formal aspects of my pictures, I have tried to strip away the narrative or symbolic inferences to determine what’s left for pictures.”
In her subsequent series, Ill Form and Void Full, Letinsky further explores the still life genre which has occupied her for nearly 20 years. With these works she reflects on the temporality of the still life itself by using both her own
photographs, photographs from magazines, and actual objects, eliminating the distinction between what is real and what is mediated, what is flat and what is dimensional. She alters the viewers sense of perspective and space further by moving past the familiar tabletop, instead using white as a color, the edges of the paper as lines, shadows as planes, and two dimensional objects presented as sculptural objects.
Time’s Assignation, a group of one of a kind black and white Polaroids, served as sketches leading to her large scale color works in Hardly More Than Ever. These works explore focus, composition, exposure, and most importantly, light itself, and were made in the studio from 1997 until 2008, when Type 55 film was discontinued. Small, slow, and raw, these pictures reveal a process of asking. In their subject and materiality, these images bespeak of time’s rapid and unrelenting progression.
Born in Canada in 1962, Laura Letinsky received her MFA from Yale University in 1991, and was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship in 2000. Letinsky’s work is held in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Amon Carter Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Stuttgart Museum, Germany, and the first half of her series Ill Form and Void Full was presented as a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2012. Her work has been the subject of five previous monographs: Venus Inferred (University of Chicago Press), Hardly More Than Ever (Renaissance Society), Now Again (Galerie Kusseneers), After All (Grafiche Damiani), and Ill Form and Void Full (Radius Books).