Wednesday, April 16, 2014

49 Geary Round-Up

Vivian Maier
Wilmette, Illinois
Girl In Clown Costume

circa 1967-1968
Tuesday lunchtime I peeked into a couple of galleries at 49 Geary. The Scott Nichols Gallery has a selection of photographs by the enigmatic Vivian Maier, a prolific & posthumously discovered street photographer who worked as a nanny in suburban Chicago in the 1950's & 60's while creating an archive of 100,000 negatives. Her work has only been known since 2009, but she is already the subject of news reports, exhibitions, books & 2 documentaries. The whole thing sounds like a post-modern stunt, but the pictures on display have an immediacy that is often arresting. There's a sense that the photographer saw something meaningful each time she snapped a picture. The images would not be out of place next to Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus or Henri Cartier-Bresson.

John Chiara    
155 Somerset
, 2014
Camera Obscura Ilfochrome Photograph, Unique
34 x 28 inches
In the Haines Gallery, I enjoyed the washed-out colors & ghostly atmosphere of pictures of homes in the Excelsior district, taken in series by John Chiara with a camera obscura. There are no negatives, & the images were developed directly on photographic paper about a yard high. Unfortunately the exhibit does not show the camera obscura itself, which must be huge.

David Sokosh
Mike's Arm, Brooklyn

The Robert Tat Gallery is also featuring photography without negatives. David Sokosh's contemporary tintypes are made using 19th century processes & lenses, so each photograph is a unique object. The subjects look like they could have come from the 19th century as well. The dusky images have a potent presence & feel vaguely fetishistic.

§ Vivian Maier
Out Of The Shadows
Scott Nichols Gallery
February 6 – June 14

§ John Chiara
de • tached
Haines Gallery
March 6 - April 26, 2014

§ David Sokosh
American Tintypes
Robert Tat Gallery
March 6, 2014 - May 31, 2014

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