new directions 2010

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The premise was simple, the call for artists unique and creative. Carol McCusker asked for an expansive vision. Over 200 artists submitted close to one thousand images. Ms. McCusker narrowed the field to forty two artists and forty five images, all of which you see here. 

Her call for artists privileged two points of view: looking down from a high vantage point, and looking out to a vanishing horizon. Art historian, Albert Boime, described the former as a “Magisterial Gaze” that gave early Americans, through painting and printmaking, a view at one with God, hence, Manifest Destiny. The latter may be simply be the romance of the road, or curiosity about what lies just out of sight — an American impulse from early pioneers to Jack Kerouac.  

Numerous painters and photographers have employed these vantage points, subsequently, they run the risk of cliché. When done well, however, each reveals the unexpected. McCusker's ideal view was the opportunity of disorienting perspective of looking down whereby familiar objects become abstract and dizzyingly beautiful, to looking out, with that forward motion promising adventure or escape. 

The title Down & Out might conjure images of ne’er-do-wells (risky, if the public decides not to inquire further). What Ms. McCusker hoped the photographs would provide, however, is pleasure in the variety of ways ‘down’ and ‘out’ can be imaged, and what emotional liberation such points-of-view can have on our often confined and overly responsible psyches.

Ms. McCuskers statement about the show - 

Down and Out actualized itself through those photographs that not only satisfied the call, but caught time, light, and subject matter from unique vantage points. This is certainly true for Andrew Binkley’s Crossings, a time-lapse series that looks down at a ghostly array of people riding mopeds, conversing, and buying and selling vegetables in an Asian street. Against a concrete ground, the figures swirl, interlock, and dance through one another in a loose knot of muted color and graceful form. Other photographs, such as Charles Blackburn’s Detroit dam is disorienting to the same degree that his sunlit baseball field from shaded bleachers is familiar; the combination of the two makes the whole. Adam Jaocno gives a near/far view simultaneously, with the placement of patches of color evocative of Milton Avery. Robbie Acklen’s and Michael Seif’s sensual swimmers, and Charles Mintz’s evaporating highrises hold enough odd beauty in their familiarity, as does Nathan Lunstrum’s minimalist snowscape and Emily Nathan’s surfers, to make us see the extraordinary in common vistas.

Through thoughtful composition, each photographer introduces patterns, foreshortening, a sense of dislocation, and motion from odd perspectives that would make the avant-garde artist, Alexander Rodchenko, proud. His revolutionary call to “make strange” the everyday reinvigorated Russian art. “Leave Rubens behind!” he declared. “Make objects unfamiliar and forms difficult.” The photographers in Down and Out have successfully done so, thereby increasing the “length of perception” Rodchenko championed, and consequently our enjoyment.


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The premise was simple, the call for artists unique and creative. Carol McCusker asked for an expansive vision. Over 200 artists submitted close to one thousand images. Ms. McCusker narrowed the field to forty two artists and forty five images, all of which you see here. 

Her call for artists privileged two points of view: looking down from a high vantage point, and looking out to a vanishing horizon. Art historian, Albert Boime, described the former as a “Magisterial Gaze” that gave early Americans, through painting and printmaking, a view at one with God, hence, Manifest Destiny. The latter may be simply be the romance of the road, or curiosity about what lies just out of sight — an American impulse from early pioneers to Jack Kerouac.  

Numerous painters and photographers have employed these vantage points, subsequently, they run the risk of cliché. When done well, however, each reveals the unexpected. McCusker's ideal view was the opportunity of disorienting perspective of looking down whereby familiar objects become abstract and dizzyingly beautiful, to looking out, with that forward motion promising adventure or escape. 

The title Down & Out might conjure images of ne’er-do-wells (risky, if the public decides not to inquire further). What Ms. McCusker hoped the photographs would provide, however, is pleasure in the variety of ways ‘down’ and ‘out’ can be imaged, and what emotional liberation such points-of-view can have on our often confined and overly responsible psyches.

Ms. McCuskers statement about the show - 

Down and Out actualized itself through those photographs that not only satisfied the call, but caught time, light, and subject matter from unique vantage points. This is certainly true for Andrew Binkley’s Crossings, a time-lapse series that looks down at a ghostly array of people riding mopeds, conversing, and buying and selling vegetables in an Asian street. Against a concrete ground, the figures swirl, interlock, and dance through one another in a loose knot of muted color and graceful form. Other photographs, such as Charles Blackburn’s Detroit dam is disorienting to the same degree that his sunlit baseball field from shaded bleachers is familiar; the combination of the two makes the whole. Adam Jaocno gives a near/far view simultaneously, with the placement of patches of color evocative of Milton Avery. Robbie Acklen’s and Michael Seif’s sensual swimmers, and Charles Mintz’s evaporating highrises hold enough odd beauty in their familiarity, as does Nathan Lunstrum’s minimalist snowscape and Emily Nathan’s surfers, to make us see the extraordinary in common vistas.

Through thoughtful composition, each photographer introduces patterns, foreshortening, a sense of dislocation, and motion from odd perspectives that would make the avant-garde artist, Alexander Rodchenko, proud. His revolutionary call to “make strange” the everyday reinvigorated Russian art. “Leave Rubens behind!” he declared. “Make objects unfamiliar and forms difficult.” The photographers in Down and Out have successfully done so, thereby increasing the “length of perception” Rodchenko championed, and consequently our enjoyment.


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