Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brea Souders @ Bruce Silverstein

I know the I Heart Photography blog doesn’t exist anymore, but man, would Laurel Ptak love this show. Lots of what look like shards of pictures, maybe some negatives, caught in midair in front of a white seamless. I think that’s what it is, but they are so still, maybe there is something more digital happening? Also some images that look like image shards lying flat on a piece of glass, maybe? and some straight collages. These are all combined with some slightly more traditional pictures of the world (kind of). There is a death mask (?) fading away into a pink-white haze and a poloroaid of a light in the darkness over a floral print material or a woman with a pink sunburned back in front of powder blue surface. Now, the pictures have a refined palate that hinges on whites and some spring-like pastels, and they certainly push alternate-process work in a very refined direction. But like most photographic abstraction, which dominates the show, they tend to assimilate, the more traditional photographs into an abstract installation. I am just not sure what the work is about. It feels well crafted and attractive, but I wish there was something more substantial to grab onto. The PR talks about the work as experiments and investigations, which could just be lazy PR writing, but the work feels exploratory, little glimpses of ideas that would make for a great tumblr, but images that haven’t resolved those investigation into any overarching content. And that’s what I would hope would be the goal, especially when you’re at the point of your career when you’re in a ground floor Chelsea gallery. But that being said the work unquestionably feels contemporary, and it is good to see that a couple of times a year Silverstein breaks down and does a contemporary photography show.

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