Subscribe to Blog via Email
My favorite thing about abstract art is how freeing it is. The way inspired photographs transport me on imaginative journeys to unanticipated realms is uplifting. In the exhibit Lines, Spheres and Glyphs, Robert Klein Gallery has assembled a selection of works by five such consummate photographers: Franco Fontana, Mario Giacomelli, Ernst Haas, Gyorgy Kepes and Aaron Siskind. On view through Saturday, March 25, 2017 on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay, this show sparkles with diverse visual slants that I found intellectually rewarding and just plain fun.
Abstract art is wild and wooly, it can mean anything you want. But for me, the exciting part is finding patterns, both within the work and in comparison to other artists. For example, try comparing Pissarro’s oil painting Boulevard Montmartre at Night (above) with Ernst Haas’ Lights of New York City (Feature Image). The relationships are numerous and intriguing. The contrast not only heightens appreciation for both works but illustrates just how original an ingenious photograph can be. In the photographs selected for Lines Spheres and Glyphs, I had no end of amusement in drawing associations and in appreciating the inventive originality of each of these five photographers. Here are some others I hope you enjoy.
Franco Fontana possesses a superlative eye for color fields, intense and vibrant. He is so wonderfully imaginative that I find visual associations between Fontana’s photographs and artists as different as Piet Mondrian and Mark Rothko. By contrast, the hyper-contrasty B&W work of Mario Giacomelli accentuates composition, patterning and perspective. In a surprising twist, Giacomelli’s monochromatic photographs resonate beautifully with the dramatic strokes in Van Gogh’s colorful impressionist paintings.
The elegant, camera-less photograms by Gyorgy Kepes are lyrical expositions on form and translucency that leverage the earliest work by Man Ray some sixty years before (he called his works “Rayographs” in the custom favored by many an inventor). Aaron Siskind, considered by many to be the “inventor” of Abstract Expressionism in photography, created B&W close-ups that cut to the essence of his subject matter. His sensual attention to surface texture heightens a sense of intimacy in a way that reminds me of the thrilling sensitivity of Edward Weston’s still-life photographs.
If you’re like me, comparative forays like these will make you cherish the rich history and creativity of photography even more. It’s a lot like cuisine: the greater the variety you’ve tasted, the more you can appreciate and distinguish the flavors in a savory dish. But a great photograph, like delicious food, stands on its own. To feast on these distinctive delicacies for yourself, go to: http://www.robertkleingallery.com/index.php
Feature Image: “Lights of New York city, 1972” (Detail) by Ernst Haas (courtesy of Robert Klein Gallery, Boston).