Bloodied teeth, tape, and either plastic or glass rest on satin red fabric. The flash from a camera creates shimmers in the fabric and the front few teeth.

Madison Queen: The Gallery of Metamorphics

Madison Queen’s thesis exhibition The Gallery of Metamorphics pictures the underlying fearful, sexual, and absurd desires embedded in commercial beauty and fetish products that (re)form our conceptions of selfhood through photography.

Born on Ft. Lewis, Washington in 1992, Madison Queen is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Olympia, WA. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and is studying for her Masters in Fine Arts Degree in Visual Studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Queen has exhibited paintings in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Los Angeles, CA. Her current focus is on film photography and experimental darkroom processes.

This exhibition is part of PNCA’s Low-Residency in Visual Studies summer exhibition series, some rites from a spring reckoning. See the full series details.

A collage piece appears first to be a photograph of a houseplant sitting in a pot with a fabric backdrop, some of its leaves taped to that backdrop. Instead, some portions are replaced with drawings on portions of paper, painting, sketches, a work finished and unfinished.

Nature Inside

Influenced by online representation of the cultivation of life in a year of lockdown, Kelda Van Patten’s new series of photographs, Nature Inside, playfully disorientates the exhibition of houseplants within domestic and digital spaces. Kelda cuts, reassembles and collages her photographs to confuse depth and flatness, highlight imperfection, and transform plants into hyperreal objects. She uses whimsy and humor to reference loss, isolation, containment, and representation.

Opening: August 7th, 2021, 5pm-8pm
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-5pm

A photograph of a metal bed frame with a straw pillow, situated before an open temple door, is distorted by countless, missing sections removed from it, like missing puzzle pieces or an image half-loaded.

Dinh Q. Lê – Monuments and Memorials

Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Monuments and Memorials, a new series of large-scale photo weavings by Dinh Q. Lê that reflect on collective memory and architectural commemoration. Lê’s evocative photographic artworks combine interior and exterior pictures of Cambodian sites and pair the seemingly unresolvable, competing narratives of a country’s past and present.

A cartoonish house, with a stone chimney and imbricated pink tiles, squats, blubbery and soft against a similarly cartoonish backdrop of rolling, grey hills.

Catherine Wagner: Clues to Civilization

Jessica Silverman is pleased to announce Catherine Wagner: Clues to Civilization, an expansive survey of photographs by the artist created from 1982-2014 that runs from July 9 to August 14, 2021. The exhibition comprises four series of works from Wagner’s career: American Classroom, Realism and Illusion, Reparations and Rome Works. Spanning over three decades, each of the series are fortified by a rigorous examination of knowledge creation and transference, reckoning with collective historical foundations and the concept of the body politic. Working as a conceptual artist through the medium of photography, Wagner places the enduring crisis of the human knowledge order front and center, using the inanimate to reconfigure dominant narratives and systems of thought. This is her first solo exhibition with Jessica Silverman.

Beginning in the early 1980s and first exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the American Classroom series includes black-and-white photographs of American schools and learning environments. The works are evacuated of human subjects and depict empty classrooms, written text left on chalkboards, or a poignant creative writing story displayed on an early computer; objects are personified and haunt the image-plane, showing residues of human activity. Realism and Illusion from 1995 is a subversive analysis of Disney theme parks in Tokyo, Orlando, Paris and Anaheim. Works in this series such as Gendered House and Southern California Landscapeclosely examine the illusory nature of built environments and the coercive, constricting nature of archetypes, particularly when they originate from a singular gaze driven by American culture.

Two works included in the exhibition from Wagner’s Reparations series traverse the history of the prosthetic splint, responding directly to the circulation of images of war and violence that condition the contemporary present. Moving away from essentializing images of human pain, the artist instead photographs splints and prosthetics from throughout history to show the body as both a resilient and political instrument. The most recent series in the exhibition from 2014, Rome Works, are photographs of galleries and sculptures being conserved and restored at historical institutions such as the Musei Capitolini and Palazzo Altemps. Works such as Artemis/Diana re-contextualize Classical sculpture to puncture conventional narratives of icons. In the photo, a sculpture of the Greek goddess Artemis’ torso is suspended in an electric blue strap, complicating the God of the hunt’s mythological legacy as a woman who could not be tied down.

As a conceptual photographer, Wagner operates in the shared legacy of Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gordon Matta-Clark, Liz Deschenes, Sharon Lockhart and Doris Salcedo, whose works amalgamate varying disciplines and take shape in the photographic form. The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; de Young Museum, San Francisco; The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London.

Catherine Wagner (b. 1953, San Francisco, CA) is the recipient of the Artadia Award, Dorothea Lange Award and Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, among many other accolades. Her visual arts fellowships include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Aaron Siskind Foundation, and Weizmann Institute, Israel. Wagner’s work is in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Library of Congress, Washington DC; Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Tate Modern, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Bibliothèque National de Paris; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; LACMA, Los Angeles; SFMOMA and De Young Museum, San Francisco. Wagner’s work is commemorated in monographs, including American Classroom, Home and Other Stories, Art & Science: Investigating Matter, Cross Sections, In Situ: Traces of Morandi, and Place, History and the Archive.
Square, grid image containing four images within it. The text "Inaugural Exhibition" is overlaid, and the names Bob Kolbrener, Jane Olin, Anna Rotty, and Wilton Wong are printed around the border.

Opening Reception: Inaugural Exhibition at Collectors’ Photography Gallery

Open to the public!
Live music by Dan Turkos and Gail Hernandez Rosa of Beneath a Tree.
Gourmet snacks and beverages will be provided by San Rafael’s Delicious Catering.

Featuring the works of bay area contemporary photographers:
Bob Kolbrener
Jane Olin
Anna Rotty
Wilton Wong

And historic works by:
Berenice Abbott
Ruth Bernhard
Margaret Bourke-White
Edward S. Curtis
Alfred Eisenstaedt
Lewis W. Hine
Yousuf Karsh
Fred McDarrah
Ralph Steiner

Visit us at:
105 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, CA 94925

Borner lines take on shape and form and softness, as light and shadow dance across this delicate, pink canvas. Memories of crisply folded sand dunes, aurora light through morning windows, and soft, careful brushstrokes come immediately to mind.

Rachelle Bussières: sipping air

Melanie Flood Projects is proud to present sipping air, a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Rachelle Bussières and is on view June 5-July 3, 2021. A text by Rel Robinson was commissioned to accompany the exhibition. Join us for an artist reception from 1-3pm on Saturday June 5.

In the darkroom, photographers are trained to filter the world into a codified spectrum of greys. Light is allocated with precision, and deviating from this code means untethering an image from its place in a more common reality.

In the interplay of time and light that is the production of a photographic print, one might ask where if not when does the image happen? While an instance of light may be captured within the four edges of a print and the authority of a frame, light is infinite by nature. Sight is simply a negotiation between shadow and reflection. Light rebounds through matter. It is never still, it doesn’t age. We, in contrast, are finite and the photograph offers a remedy for our deeply human susceptibility to time. But light is fickle, the camera is just an instrument, and seeing is just our best guess.

Rachelle Bussières makes photographs without a camera or a negative, exposing silver gelatin paper directly to light; revealing a surprisingly pastel palette. The images in these lumen prints are colored by unfettered access to the sky, the wattage of an incandescent bulb, the brightness of the day, and the clouds in the sky outside her New York City studio.  Each print is a record of its most essential truth, a unique impression of its own place in time and space, of the light outside. From dusky tones to the color of the sun seen from behind closed eyes, her images present hues the way a magnolia tree blooms, all at once—making evident the withheld promise hidden in plain sight.

This body of work is more akin to memory than artifact, something flickering in the periphery of vision, or as a specter of a place without a name.

Rachelle Bussières (Quebec City, Canada) received her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2015. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Addressing the impact of light on our psyche, environment and social structure, Rachelle Bussières’ work is at the intersection of photography and sculpture, moving through a collision of materials and documents through the lumen photographic process. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Penumbra Foundation (NYC, USA), Johansson Projects (Oakland, USA) and Robert Koch Gallery (San Francisco, USA). Awards include the Penumbra Foundation Workspace Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts, an honorable mention for the Snider Prize from MoCP, and being a Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize. Some recent group shows include Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn), Soil Gallery (Seattle, WA), the General French Consulate (San Francisco, CA), the Wing (San Francisco, CA), the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA), Galerie l’Inlassable (Paris, FR), Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA) and Present Company (Brooklyn, NY). Her work is present in various public, corporate and private collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel, SFMOMA Library and Archives, Facebook (commission mural) in Sunnyvale, Instagram Inc. in San Francisco and Penumbra Foundation in New York City. She is preparing a solo exhibition at Melanie Flood Projects (Portland, OR) in June 2021.

rel robinson. b.1995, Los Angeles is a research-based artist and critic whose work utilizes photography, textiles,  and language to examine the space between absence and belonging. Through material-oriented methodologies her current work explores sense of place, subjective and collective memory, and the mechanisms of knowledge production through a superimposition of personal history.  She is a contributing writer at KQED, and has been published in journals such as THE SEEN, Fourteen Hills, As of Late, and The Eye. Her work has been exhibited at Delaplane (2020), Diego Rivera Gallery (2018), Still Lights Gallery (2018), Bass and Reiner (2017), The Red Victorian (2015). In 2016 she founded conventional projects, an alternative exhibition platform and artist-editions publication.  She holds a BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently based in San Francisco, California.

A self portrait hanging on a white wall of a person with medium-length, wavy brown hair, a 5-o'clock shadow and a black shirt stand upright and look through the canvas at the viewer.

Thomas McDonell: Me

Thomas McDonell: Me
June 5 – July 10, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 5 | 4 – 8 PM

(Los Angeles, CA) de boer gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition and limited edition publication of new work by Thomas McDonell. Los Angeles-based McDonell presents a suite of assemblage paintings and prints surrounding notions of the self. The title of the exhibition, Me, immediately presents the core of the work, a probe into the idea of private versus public, and the ownership of images and ideas.

The source material for the work is pulled from interaction with Heather Dollheart, an illustrator in Perm, Russia who created a digital painting of McDonell. Dollheart found a picture of McDonell on the internet that McDonell had taken of himself in the studio. She ‘painted’ it in high resolution, making adjustments, additions, and subtractions. Dollheart described to McDonell that she liked his face, and enjoyed the characters that he had played in movies and on TV. In the original image, McDonell had a shaved head. Dollheart improvised, adding long flowing hair. The overall effect is not so dramatic that McDonell is unrecognizable — just different, uncanny, slightly off, and idealized.

From this starting point, McDonell prints Dollhearts digital portrait on clear vinyl. McDonell then paints on the reverse side of the vinyl. Gradients and colors begin to frame the painting and they meld into an indistinguishable mix in this collaborative process that reverses the normal order of painting, background first and foreground after. The finalized painting is contextualized by the presentation of each painting on highly finished custom-made hardwood shipping crates.

These simple, yet effective formal devices reference neo-geometric conceptualism of the late 80s, and the plastics and airbrush-forward sculpture and painting of California’s ‘cool school’ before that. Manifested in real life, the extreme detail of the original digital painting — the skin and hairs of the figure, layer upon layer rendered on a Wacom tablet, and cured here with ultraviolet light —- reference a long history of portraiture with roots in 15th-century High Renaissance Venetian painting like that of Giovanni Bellini.

Jarring text-based prints further contextualize McDonell’s conceptual process by erratically translating Dollhearts’s own words; scrambled, redacted, and in both English and Cyrillic, the prints approximately read:

When you study a person’s face, repeat all his lines, features, draw skin, moles, all these cilia, pores, hairs…. You seem to touch a person’s face, to him, to his soul. When I finish someone’s portrait, I, to some extent, seem to take the person’s appearance for myself, but at the same time, I seem to give the person part of myself. And with every stroke of the “brush” our souls, like paint from a palette, mix, as if they complement each other. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but the face on the canvas no longer belongs to its owner, nor does it belong to me – now it is like a part of something larger, the result of the merging of our souls.

The broader context — outside of McDonell and Dollheart making these specific objects — is, of course, vast. Digital narcissism, fake news, social media, mechanization, commercialism, framing, and literal objectification.

Thomas McDonell has exhibited his work internationally and has curated several exhibitions including a tunnel exhibit at the historic Southwest Museum site in Los Angeles, California, a video art show at a Best Buy in New York, and a monochrome painting exhibition at the ArcLight Hollywood movie theater complex. McDonell’s practice often recontextualizes the visual language of contemporary film production. As a professional actor, as well as a visual artist, he often incorporates found objects from film sets into paintings, sculptures, and installations. McDonell’s work has been exhibited at venues such as Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, Bellevue Arts Museum, Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York, Edward Cella Gallery, Los Angeles, and Field Contemporary in Vancouver.

Simone Fischer: a sermon for crows

Unearthing personal history through landscape, photography, found objects and sculpture, a sermon for crows orbits the shame of lost origins, resilience, mourning and place. As a woman who grew up on the hard edge of southeast Portland, Simone Fischer expresses her experience of landscape through the materiality of steel, which she views as an elemental relative connecting the poetic nature of iron in blood, bodies and metal. Surface treatment of steel rendered through rust and oxidation speaks to the emotional gravity of a complex, generational experience in Portland, resulting in a non-linear reckoning of history, archival research, lived experience and place. Simone works with metal as homage to her elders, welding blue-collar technical skill as a source of power and world-building. Through sculpture, gleaned objects and photography, Simone creates work about liminal spaces, ephemera and ghosts who helped create the social fabric of the landscape we see today.

a sermon for crows will be exploring Simone’s wayward archive of southeast 82nd Ave, pulling from multigenerational family wisdom, her personal experience of this place, EBT cards, death metal, the Johnson Creek watershed, the New Copper Penny and I-205. She weaves unusual, but specific details like a melted shopping cart pulled from her landscape to comment on the emotional links between consumption, labor, violence and exploitation. The global Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the most vulnerable communities and thrust Portland into national spotlight for historic protests addressing racial injustice sparked the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Marked as an “anarchist jurisdiction”, the city has undergone a brutal, but long overdue reckoning with its own marred history and origin story. Simone translates the psychogeography of the landscape to confront the past, present and future through the subversion of documentary (printed on large four-by-five- foot steel sheets) to the point of illegibility. The dissolving, rusted images reject nostalgia bringing viewers to the present through physical overwhelm and bodily confrontation with various materials. Image distortion opens up the meaning to those who might not have deep ties to Portland but can still feel the evocative nature of the work.

A month before the exhibition opening, Simone tragically lost one of her good friends to an overdose and created steel immemorial to honor loved ones lost during the covid-19 pandemic. During a time of mass grief, steel immemorial gives viewers space to process, mourn and find peace in a world struggling to recover. a sermon for crows manifests as ritual documentary with a deeply-rooted experience of place with hopes of reconnection. Simone elevates mundane objects from her neighborhood within a gallery setting to reassert value and visually point to the conversations we ignore, the feelings we try to hide and the landscapes that hold us. Simone reveals her personal challenges of living in a working-class town, growing up with incarcerated family, addiction and through material as resilience and support.

Simone Fischer (b.1991, Portland, OR) is a multidisciplinary visual artist who specializes in photography, archives, installation, sculpture, writing and performance. She earned a BA in gender studies & philosophy at Portland State University in 2013, and an MFA in visual studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2020. Simone sculpts and photographs as a source of power, reclamation and world building. Her work asks aesthetic questions about class, possession and allocation of power in America, and is specifically concerned with the power dynamics of late-stage capitalism in relation to urban decay and memory. Simone is a born-and-raised Oregonian who photographs wayward landmarks using the visual language of documentary to express narratives of humor, urban decay and defiance within her images. Conceptually, Simone uses photography, acid and steel to coalesce internalized ideas about identity, class, eastside visual codes and social disorder. Attempting to reconcile lost bloodlines in the desolate capitalist landscape, Simone works with steel and the poetics of iron, blood and the body, to speak to her West Coast, working-class upbringing in Portland. Using steel, photography and other ubiquitous materials of industry, Simone coalesces ideas about class, identity/belonging, hyper-consumption and social disorder through embedded research and archival ritual. Simone was the recipient of The Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Make|Learn|Build grant in 2021. Her work has been shown in multiple venues around Portland, including the Lodge Gallery (2018), 511 Gallery at PNCA (2020) and her first solo show “213” at the Glass Gallery at PNCA (2020). She has exhibited internationally at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany (2020). In October 2019, Simone attended the Caldera Arts Artist in Residence program in Sisters, OR. Simone was the 2021 artist-in-residence at After/Time Gallery where she produced her first publication ANTITOURS 1.

Black and white photograph of a young man seated in a park smiling gently at the viewer.

Diane Arbus: Curated by Carrie Mae Weems

The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way. —Diane Arbus

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of 45 photographs by Diane Arbus, curated by acclaimed contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems. A long-time admirer of Arbus’s work, Weems has selected images spanning Arbus’s fifteen-year career, from 1956 until her death in 1971. The exhibition will be on view at 49 Geary Street from June 3 to August 13, 2021, and will be followed by an exhibition devoted to Weems’s own work in September.

Weems has cited Arbus, along with David Hammons, as artists of paramount importance to her. To inaugurate Fraenkel Gallery’s recently announced representation of Weems, the artist was invited to curate an exhibition of Arbus’s photographs, the sole directive being to focus on works that speak powerfully and directly to her.

Weems’s selection begins with a single preliminary image from 1945, in which Arbus stands before a mirror, pregnant with her first child. It then leaps to 1956 when, at age 33, Arbus consciously began her career as an artist. The exhibition features three photographs from 1956, including Carroll Baker on screen in “Baby Doll” (with silhouette), N.Y.C. 1956 and Kiss from “Baby Doll,” N.Y.C. 1956, among several photographs in the show set in darkened movie theaters.

While the exhibition includes well-known images such as Two boys smoking in Central Park, N.Y.C.1963 and A young waitress at a nudist camp, N.J. 1963, Weems’s selection focuses primarily on lesser-known works. Among them are Woman making a kissy face, Sammy’s Bowery Follies, N.Y.C. 1958, one of the earliest of Arbus’s photographs in which she places her camera strikingly close to her subject’s face, and Kenneth Hall, the new Mr. New York City, at a physique contest, N.Y.C. 1959, about whom Arbus noted, “he can wiggle his chest muscles separately and has developed a muscle on the back of his thighs which no one else has ever developed.” The photographs Weems has selected trace the evolution of Arbus’s technique and encompass a broad cross-section of her interests. The subjects depicted include couples, children, transvestites and female impersonators, nudists, families, and celebrities, often photographed in parks, bedrooms, and dance halls, in New York City and elsewhere.

Diane Arbus (1923–1971) is one of the most original and influential photographers of the twentieth century. In 1963 and 1966 she was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships and was one of three photographers whose work was the focus of New Documents, John Szarkowski’s landmark exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. A year after her death, her work was selected for inclusion in the Venice Biennale, and from 1972 to 1975, the Museum of Modern Art hosted a major traveling retrospective. Her photographs are in the collections of numerous institutions around the world, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate Gallery, London, among many others. In 2022, Fraenkel Gallery and David Zwirner will co-publish Diane Arbus Documents, a compendium of reviews, articles, and other relevant commentary tracing the ways in which the understanding of Arbus’s work has evolved over five decades.

Carrie Mae Weems (born 1953) is a renowned artist whose work has been featured at museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville, Spain. She has won numerous awards, grants, and fellowships, including a MacArthur “Genius” grant, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. Recent projects include directing The Baptism, a film commissioned by Lincoln Center; and Resist COVID/Take 6!, a public art campaign responding to the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Gallery, London, among many others.

This blurred photograph softens the edges of the flowers in the foreground, blending the scene into an ambivalent background, creating a simultaneously frenzied and meditative space for motion, direction, and contemplation.

Deb Achak: My Eyes Need Beauty

“In my newest series, I use my camera to create lush, large-scale floral depictions. Influenced by my contemplative practices, ​My Eyes Need Beauty was born during the time of COVID and in the weeks when the West was blanketed with forest fire smoke. Homebound and restless, I found strength and optimism through the healing power of flowers, vivid color, and meditative movement. I merge the masculine elements of my camera, with the feminine sensibility of motion and blur, to create images that push the boundary between reality and abstraction, elevating common flowers to lush, impressionistic compositions. Although born out of concern for the modern world, this work is intended to bring us all back to the extraordinary strength of nature and the revolutionary act of creating beauty out of pain.” – Deb Achak

Achak‘s photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Her work is also included in the collection of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in New Mexico. Her work has been featured in many publications, including Fraction Magazine, Luxe Interiors and Design Magazine, Elle Decor, Domino, Apartment Therapy, and Lenscratch.  Achak lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and two sons.