Paris Photo, Los Angeles 2015
It must be said that Paris Photo, now in its third incarnation at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles is simply the nicest fair I’ve ever attended. Location, Location, Location! Sure there have been decent tents in Miami. The nineteenth Street Armory in NYC had a certain charm. And for whatever reason I hold the leaky roof at Chicago’s Navy Pier fondly in my heart. But art presented on the faux streets of NYC and on the sound stages of Paramount Studios really sets the bar high, maybe impossible, to top as a venue.
The Great Eight of Paris Photo, Los Angeles, 2015
Mona Kuhn at Diane Rosenstein
Mona Kuhn’s work looks better every time I see it. Kuhn’s visual complexity has matured with each body of work she tackles and each book she publishes. Diane Rosenstein has selected three particularly stunning exposures of light, shadow and reflection. It’s also a great installation pitting three on two competing planes.
Cai Dongdong at Klein Sun Gallery
Wit is a powerful conduit for ominous content. Cai Dongdong delivers both. Somewhat pedestrian images in Silver Gelatin are cut and collaged and rolled with great tactile facility. A mirror is placed behind one cut out. A street redacted in another. And my personal favorite, a penis is replaced with a camera lens in a suggestive POV shot. Initially all these act as clever and deft comedy but they also succeed as metaphors for surveillance and privacy. Remarkably intelligent work. At Klein Sun Gallery
James Hyde at Luis de Jesus
Deceptively simple but never simplistic, James Hyde also intervenes on the photographic plane. His chosen image party crasher is paint. Three photographs containing circles painted in different colors trump the selection at Luis de Jesus. A double overlaid circle reminds one of binoculars. Other circles have mathematical precision to their placement. And a hole in the surface of a third, gingerly placed on the edge of a painted black circle turns out to be dead center of the square photo. Strange alchemy at work here.
Richard Coldicott at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
A clean process oriented paradigm. Make cutouts on paper. Use said paper to make a photogram. Frame “paper negative” and resultant Photogram side by side as a diptych. Lather, rinse, repeat! The shapes that Richard Coldicott prefers have a modern beat to them. Their placements are equally jazzy. And there’s a decidedly warm analogue glow to the entire proceeding. While the paper negs that are either red or yellow are striking, the figure/ground reversal of the B/W versions pack the most punch. At Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
William Wegman at Marc Selwyn
Who knows how many generations of Wegman’s Weimaraners have been cast in his photographs! The tribute to him though is that they are as fresh, amusing and resonant as ever! In a new series pairing the deadpan dogs with Eames chairs, Wegman gleefully plays with figure/ground reversal as well. Or should that be dog/ground reversal? Maybe figure/dog reversal? At Marc Selwyn.
Izima Kaoru At Thomas von Lintel
While not as old as Wegman’s puppies, Izima Kaoru’s motionless models are equally resonant. Thomas von Lintel has an excellent example from 2003. The complex colors and composition draw you in. The narrative possibilities make you linger. A dozen years have not faded their impact.
Francois Fontaine at Leica
I will admit to be a dyed in the wool Film Aficionado. So while having a conversation in front of Francois Fontaine‘s salon style installation, faces and body language started catching my eye. Was that Robert deNiro? That’s got to be Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind. North by Northwest! And I bet that’s Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby. By fixing narrative moments and blurring the focus Fontaine has achieved something quite rare with Silenzio ! Mémoires de cinéma: a tribute without being derivative. At Leica.
Paris Photo Los Angeles runs May 1st through 3rd, 2015. Click here for show website and schedules.
-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, May 2015