Friday, June 10, 2011

Photographs of Richard Learoyd & Doug Rickard

Thursday afternoon I visited the Fraenkel Gallery, where Richard Learoyd's life-size prints take up all 3 rooms. These crisp images, mostly of skinny female models, were made with a room-sized camera obscura. Light coming from the subject created the image directly on photographic paper. This means that there is no intervening negative & that the subject & the print were in the same location at the time of creation. The most detailed areas of the pictures have a microscopic clarity. The light required must have been very intense. It has a wintry quality. There is a stark directness about the pictures, though the models seem too distant for these to be portraits. Some of the poses have the classical look of 19th century paintings. I looked at the price list, & every picture but one was sold.

One floor down, I saw Doug Rickard's show of found photography at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery. The photographer selected pictures from Google Street View, photographed them on his computer screen, then blew them up into large prints, up to 5 feet wide. His theme being urban poverty, Mr. Rickard chose scenes of people adrift in blighted urban areas in places such as Fresno, Jersey City, Detroit & New Orleans. Since these are low-res images, close inspection is not rewarded. I saw this same technique of photographing Google Street View images in Michael Wolf's show in the same building a couple of months ago. I mentioned this to one of the gallery staff, & she quickly responded that Mr. Rickard's pictures look completely different. Which is true. In the gallery's back room, I enjoyed discovering Larry Sultan's vaguely decadent portrait of socialite Denise Hale. Her translucent blouse shocked me.

§ Richard Learoyd: Presences
Fraenkel Gallery
Through June 25, 2011

Doug Richard: A New American Picture
Stephen Wirtz Gallery
Through July 2, 2011

2 comments:

sfmike said...

You must be easily shocked, but thanks for that link to rich geriatric softcore porn.

Axel Feldheim said...

I'm glad I could find a link to the Denise's portrait! It's wonderfully unsettling.