From the MoMA Press Office:
“ANNUAL NEW PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION SERIES AT MoMA HIGHLIGHTS WORK BY DIVERSE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS
Exhibition Includes Photographers from the United States, Canada, and South Africa
New Photography 2007: Tanyth Berkeley, Scott McFarland, Berni Searle
The Robert and Joyce Menschel Gallery, third floor
September 30, 2007 – January 1, 2008
NEW YORK, August 27, 2007—The Museum of Modern Art presents New Photography 2007: Tanyth Berkeley, Scott McFarland, Berni Searle, the latest installment of its annual fall showcase of significant recent work in contemporary photography. On view from September 30, 2007, to January 1, 2008, in The Robert and Joyce Menschel Gallery on the third floor, the exhibition features 18 photographs and is organized by Eva Respini, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art. The New Photography series is made possible by JGS, Inc.
Twenty-two years after the first New Photography exhibition, the series continues to highlight the Museum’s commitment to the work of less familiar artists and seeks to represent the most interesting accomplishments in contemporary photography. Since its inception in 1985, work by 63 artists from 13 countries has been featured in this forum.
Explains Ms. Respini, “This year’s New Photography exhibition includes work by three artists-from the United States, Canada, and South Africa-working in a variety of techniques and across a range of themes. By focusing on outstanding individual achievements and maintaining a regular annual schedule, the New Photography series aims to suggest the diversity and international scope of contemporary photography.”
The subjects of Tanyth Berkeley’s photographs include street performers, transgender women, strangers, and close friends, all captured in striking portraits that often challenge conceptions of feminine beauty. Featured prominently in this exhibition are nearly life-size portraits of individuals with whom the artist has a deep connection, each of whom possesses an idiosyncratic appeal: Linda Leven, an actress and former dancer; Rick Wilder, a rocker with a dandy fashion sense; Ariel, a porcelain-skinned beauty with a cascading mane; Claire, a regal blonde; and Grace, with an intensely furrowed brow. Grace, a frequent sitter and muse whom the artist met on the subway in 2002, appears in multiple photographs; her luminous hair and extraordinary features take on a painterly quality.
The sometimes mannered poses of Berkeley’s subjects impart a sense of theatricality to the photographs and also make visible the collaboration between photographer and sitter. In addition to using gesture and pose to highlight certain aspects of her subjects, Berkeley’s deft use of color and natural light stresses their uniqueness. With these portraits, the artist offers an alternative to images in consumer culture by celebrating beauty outside the mainstream, favoring the distinctive over the ordinary.
Berkeley was born in 1969 in Hollywood, California, and lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2004 and recently held her second solo exhibition at Bellwether Gallery in New York City (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1/MoMA in Long Island City, New York, and White Out: Lighting into Beauty at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado (2005).
Scott McFarland digitally combines multiple negatives to create exquisitely detailed photographs that subtly record the passage of time. For Orchard View with the Effects of the Seasons (Variation #1) (2003-06), McFarland photographed the same view of an overgrown garden in Vancouver throughout the year as different plants bloomed and faded. He combined elements of these exposures to capture all four seasons within a single picture.
McFarland is interested in environments that are artificially constructed to appear natural. In a series of photographs made at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, a large panorama of the nursery contrasts with photographs of the cultivated areas of the gardens. The inconsistent shadows and impossibly uniform sunlight on some plants give clues to the artist’s digital interventions. Another artificial display is the subject of a photograph McFarland took at the Berlin Zoo, in which a keeper tends to porcupines as a young family looks on.
The work involved in creating and maintaining such displays is mirrored in McFarland’s artmaking. While his photographs maintain a sense of realism, they are composed through artificial means. By manipulating time and space to create a multilayered representation of the world, McFarland reconsiders the conventional notion that a photograph is a depiction of one moment frozen in time.
Scott McFarland was born in 1975 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and lives in Vancouver. He studied at the University of British Columbia, completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1997. Recent exhibitions include The Constructed Image: Photographic Culture, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto (2007); Acting the Part: Photography as Theatre, Vancouver Art Gallery (2007); and Clickdoubleclick: The Documentary Factor, Haus der Kunst in Munich (2006).
Berni Searle draws on her personal experiences and memories to realize her visually sumptuous photographs, videos, and installations. For the series About to Forget, Searle began with a handful of her family snapshots, spanning three generations, and cut crepe-paper silhouettes of family groupings. When she submerged the cutouts in warm water and photographed them, the resulting forms lost definition as the red pigment bled into the water, creating an abstract evocation of the uncertainty of memory and the gradual fading of family ties.
Similarly, Approach describes an action that takes place over time. This work was made on mounds of discarded grape skins during the harvest on a vineyard in South Africa. The mounds, with their rich reds, purples, and browns, are made by machinery that crushes the grapes and ejects the skins from an overhead funnel. In the waning sunlight, the artist photographed herself barefoot, ascending and descending the peaks and valleys of this seemingly endless mountain range. Her grape-stained smock indicates the physical exertion of negotiating the rotting skins, which contrasts with the beauty of the landscape. Searle’s journey recalls the traditional and laborious winemaking process of crushing grapes with one’s feet, while alluding to the winemaking culture established by Dutch and French colonial settlers in South Africa in the 17th century. Her nuanced images reflect on her country’s tumultuous history, but they ultimately address ideas that connect to broader human experience.
Searle was born in 1964 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. She studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, and completed her MFA in 1995. Searle recently had a solo exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (2006-07). Other recent group exhibitions include Global Feminisms at The Brooklyn Museum in New York (2007), and the 49th and 51st Venice Bienniales (2001 and 2005).
The New Photography series is made possible by JGS, Inc,” A Not For Profit Photography Organization.
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