The DART Board: 04.03.2019

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday April 3, 2019

Feature | Richard Learoyd: Curious

The work of British photographer Richard Learoyd first became known here through a 2009 exhibition at McKee Gallery. His unique Cibachrome prints, mainly portraits, nudes and still lifes, made with a room-size camera obscura fitted with an antique landscape lens, designed to be focused on infinite distance, tested the limits of photography to describe surface detail. When used in a studio setting, the shallow depth of field amounted to roughly 5/8 inch. The result, in Learoyd’s hands, is a body of work whose clarity, content and style can be said to be a portrait of the artist himself.

Now, in a solo exhibition that occupies two floors, Pace MacGill Gallery and Pace Gallery present Learoyd’s newest work. On the second floor are a group of black-and-white photographs of crashed and burned automobiles, along with a seven-image series of a rearing white horse—these printed on sensitized watercolor paper using an enlarger custom-built to handle the massive size of the paper.

The burned automobile carcasses, he says, are a result of ruminating on the small catastrophes that shape our lives, the universal conundrums of life and death, beauty and decay—and perhaps are retrospective of a crash the artist experienced in his youth.  For this viewer, the images immediately conjured up the slow motion deadly car crash that opens the 1970 film, Les Choses de la Vie [The Things of Life]. Additionally, Learoyd’s continuing exploration of portraits and still lifes is represented in a small gallery to the side.

Upstairs on the ninth floor are six mammoth-size landscapes Learoyd made last year in Yosemite (above) and Big Sur. Using a tent camera of his own design, he evokes the grand tradition of the Western landscape as defined by Carlton Watkins (who used one of the first mammoth-plate field cameras); William Henry Jackson; and Ansel Adams, among others. His 48” x 77” black-and-white paper negatives, contact printed, render finite details of these vistas down to cracks in the granite, or sand on the beach. Of these images he says, “I was looking for an interpretation of this place through a process. . . I was driven to those large views because I thought they were actually the most relevant. I figured all I could do was match myself and my process against some of the things that went before and see whether something new could come from my interpretation of the subject.” 

Seeing the four bodies of work adjacently offers insights on the extent to which a single device—the camera obscure, in this case—can be pushed beyond its limitations. As evidenced here, Learoyd shows that the finite can be rendered infinite. 

Richard Learoyd: Curious continues through June 28 at Pace MacGill Gallery and Pace Gallery, 32 East 57thStreet, NY, NY Info


©Tony Vaccaro, Givenchy and Camera, South of France, 1961. Courtesy of Monroe Gallery of Photography, on view at AIPAD

The Week in Photography

Thursday, April 4-Sunday, April 7

The Photography Show presented by AIPAD. Pier 94, 711 12thAvenue at 55thStreet, NY, NY, with an opening preview today. InfoSee the rundown in DART, here

Audrey Bernstein, David Aimone, Jake Lambroza, Neil O. Lawner, Bob Leonard, 2019 International Portfolio Competition Winners, 6-8 pm. SoHo Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, NY, NY Info.

Ryan McGinley | The Kids: Early Work. Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, 547 West 27thStreet, #636, NY, NY Info

Thursday, April 4

Paul Anthony Smith, 6-8 pm. Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20thStreet, NY, NY Info

Nadav Kander | Dark Line: The Thames Estuary, 6-8 pm. Flowers Gallery, 529 West 20thStreet, NY, NY Info

Von Lintel Gallery presents: Christine Feser, 6-8 pm. Gitterman Gallery, 41 East 57thStreet, NY, NY Info Above: Partition 125, 2019.


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