Monday, June 10, 2013

Katherine Wolkoff "Deer Beds" @ Sasha Wolf

I recently got to hear Wolkoff talk about her work, and I hate to admit it, but it made me reevaluate how I felt about her photographs. She talked about actively trying to make pictures that had as little as possible in them but still held a narrative or content. This was fascinating, and it had never really occurred to me about her work. For instance, Shannon Ebner has been vocal about trying to kill photography, and her often-minimal, contrasty images seemed about right for work that has a certain anger and aggression directed at its own medium. But Wolkoff has always maintained a level of attractiveness in her work that softens some of the images’ apparent if latent aggressiveness. I can certainly see how making silhouette photograph after silhouette photograph would be anti-photographic work, or at least work that pushed the boundaries of how minimal a picture could be before it lost all meaning. I never really loved the silhouettes. They always fell on the other side of that boundary, where the picture lost all content and became nothing more than a formal exploration.

However, I have always loved Wolkoff’s pictures of nature, and it’s great to see Sasha Wolf running with her Deer Bed work, which has been my favorite project of Wolkoff’s for some time. The work is still pretty minimal, in that the pictures are all interchangeable, the terrain and light is all the same and the deer apparently don’t put much effort into personalizing their beds. But on a formal level, you are left with a wonderful gradation of color from the seasonal changes in the high grass as it goes from a lush green to burnt yellow. And as repetitive as the beds are and lacking in any clear information about deer, you do get a little bit of something to chew on, like Wolkoff’s creating interesting nature pictures which provide no real information about nature and you just get to think about deer sleeping, which is downright adorable.

Through Jun. 30th


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