Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Matthew Brandt, River and Sky @ Yossi Milo Gallery

Making large format prints in lakes isn’t nearly as impressive as making alternative processes artistically relevant again. I am not exactly sure the return of an alt process can be put at Brandt’s feet, but he is certainly at the forefront, as seen in the colorful pictures of a brutalist fountain in his current show. The fountain seems like it only exists in a black and white reality as photographed by Michael Schmidt, making it into a very satisfying trippy batch of colors that look like sheets of baking sheets of hard candies. And for those who find photographic process an interesting feature in art, the pieces are being processed in public water sources, which is fun and crazy or as fun and crazy as alternative processes can be.

But the better question is, since when is this kind of thing artistically relevant? I guess there is always going to be a market for large abstract colorful things, and as photography goes, alt processes gives people selling photographs something easy to talk about and adds an inherent value to the photograph, i.e., the ability to make things in an interesting and unusual way. Or is it that the proliferation of photography programs employing teachers who never gave up the ghost on alt process and, no matter how out of fashion the genre, continue to subject unknowing generations of photographers to such clap trap, that you eventually create a market and produce artists interested in doing it?

Either way these are nice enough to look at, except for the pictures of skies in the back, which are terrible. There’s something about circular pictures of night skies that makes them feel like art that you might buy off the street in SoHo to furnish an apartment on the Upper West Side. Oh, apparently, the night sky pictures are actually cocaine on black velvet. I guess that’s something, but I still think as finished objects they’re not that interesting to look at.


Through. Jan. 21st


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