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AIPAD 2013 at The Armory

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday April 4, 2013

The AIPAD Photography Show opened today at the Park Avenue Armory, and runs through Sunday. Presented by The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), the fair brings together 80 leading fine art photography galleries from around the world, and offers a lineup of stimulating panel discussions on Saturday.

At the preview yesterday, I wanted to focus my viewing on a theme, as there is so much to see, and distractions everywhere. Because this is, after all, a trade fair, with dealers showing work for sale, there are connections to be made with current shows of interest. So this year, you will find more than a few nudes by Bill Brandt, referencing the show currently on view at MoMA; a photograph by William Eggleston from his Graceland series, at PDBN, which points to the shown At War With the Obvious currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and a colossal image by Stephen Wilkes, a roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey that has been unmoored by Hurricane Sandy at the Monroe Gallery of Santa Fe.

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The theme for my visit quickly took shape on seeing Damion Berger’s series, Black Powder, a solo presentation at Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale (above). Berger’s black-and-white images of fireworks celebrations around the world are created in a large-format camera, and printed on large sheets. Their ghostly quality, veering between positive and negative, come from multiple exposures and in-camera manipulations.

The next group of pictures to catch my eye, and which embrace some of Berger’s ideas about image-making, were recent prints by Susan Derges at Danziger Gallery. Derger is known for cameraless images that are often made by exposing photographic paper under moonlight, in stream water. The new series, which combines digital and analog processes, done in the studio, is restrained yet more colorful that her previous work; it refers to images made at the dawn of photography in her home country of Britain, as well as the complexities of image-making today.

Just down the aisle is Hans P. Krauss, Jr. Fine Photographs, where some of these historical images are on view. Among them are a photogenic drawing, or “sun picture,” made by William Henry Fox Talbot around 1839; the original is so rare that a facsimile print is on display. The influence of Fox Talbot resonates strongly today, so I continued to search for pictures that echo his ideas about the merger of art and science, his idea that photography was, in some ways, "magical", and the incredible achievements made during this period of photography.

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Across the aisle, at Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, is a suite of black-and-white photographs of the moon by Vera Lutter (above). The German photographer, who received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in the mid-1990s, is known for massive camera obscura images made using shipping containers as the camera, with exposures lasting up to a few months. In this series, titled Ablescent, however, Lutter has taken up a digital camera to make “short” exposures (not more than one-quarter of a second), and prints approximately 20-by-30 inches, of the moon’s stages, which she shot in seven countries around the world. In this series, Lutter continues an age-old search for meaning in phenomena we cannot see without photography.

On the far side of the Drill Hall, a series titled Shot/Reverse Shot by Bryan Graf are installed at Yancey Richardson Gallery (below). True photograms, these images are made from vertical arrangements of plant materials (sometimes the leaves and branches of a tree, sometimes stuff collected and rearranged by Graf) and exposed at night. The delicate coloration and the positive/negative iterations create a romantic, but not too romantic, view of nature. Graf has taken the most basic, and the most complex ideas in photography—the origin of light and the passage of time—to shape a new view of the landscape.

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I stopped in at Hans P. Kraus, Jr. again to study the photograms by Fox Talbot, Anna Atkins and their contemporaries; also on view were large photogravures of the Moon’s surface, shot from the Paris Observatory in 1895 by Maurice Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux. Then, on my last circuit around the floor, I noticed a piece by Didier Massard at Julie Saul Gallery. Titled Underwater Cathedral, it is yet another nod to the inventors of photography’s time machine. And at Rick Wester Fine Art, a selection from Sharon Harper’s From Above and Below is on view. She will be signing her book there on Friday between 4 and 6 pm.

The AIPAD Photography Show continues at the Park Avenue Armory through Sunday, April 7. Information/hours. The AIPAD Panel Discussions run from 10 am-4 pm on Saturday. Tickets ($10 per session) are available on Saturday starting at 9am at the Park Avenue Armory Ticket Booth; the panels take place at Hunter College, West Building, Room HW615; enter on Lexington Avenue at 68th Street . InformationPhotos: Peggy Roalf

CORRECTION: I apologize for misspelling Jeff. L. Rosenheim's name in yesterday's post; it is corrected in the archive.

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