A boy walks up a dirt path between two buildings. He's wearing grey sweatpants and no shirt, his left arm is reaching behind his back to touch his right shoulder blade. To the boy's left, a large piece of ruched red fabric hangs off a long wooden stick and wire. The sky is blue with white clouds. The building on the left is painted yellow with a green door and shutters.

Geralyn Shukwit: O Tempo Não Para

For the past nine years, Brooklyn-based photographer Geralyn Shukwit has traveled the backroads of Bahia, Brazil, returning to communities year after year forming relationships with the families who reside there. O Tempo Não Para, Portuguese for “time does not stop,” is a personal documentation of those interactions and observations of Bahian life. Set in the extraordinarily colorful landscape that contains a palette of bright, cool, and warm colors, each photograph leaves traces of a culture steeped in the rituals and traditions that bind them.

Geralyn Shukwit is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2002, she has traveled to South America and the Caribbean where she intimately photographs daily life, straddling the line between documentary and fine art photography. Shukwit’s photographs have been exhibited in the United States, Spain and Ethiopia, and published in National Geographic, Progresso Fotografico Italy, BIG Magazine, New York Daily News, and Post. She is a winner of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, AI/AP Latin American Fotografîa, APA/NY and International Photography Awards (IPA), and was nominated for the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2019.

A grey, hazy sky looms over a silvery ocean. In the foreground, large chunks of ice are surrounded by waters stained red with blood.

Kiliii Yuyan: Rumors of Arctic Belonging

“Towering icebergs, doomed expeditions in tall ships, desolate landscapes with naught but howling wind–this was the vast Arctic from the paintings of European explorers in the 19th century. That romance carries on in the 21st century, even as the ice vanishes and increasing numbers of people experience the North in person.

When the future has its way with the North, it will leave a radically altered land. The sea ice and its denizens will have vanished. Contemporary Inuit will be living vastly different lifestyles than that of their ancestors. Future generations will look back to remember a land little understood by outsiders. Will the imaginations of foreigners paint the sole history of an Arctic with ice and snow? What are the memories of the 3 million Greenlandic Kalallit, Alaskan Iñupiat, and European Samí who call the Arctic their home?

Despite my ancestry as a Native Siberian, I experience the Arctic both as an insider and an outsider. My years there have left me with a vision of a multi-chromatic Far North. This is a land blued with ancient ice, deepened by blood, and radiant under the northern lights. My Arctic nostalgia is not for sailing ships, but for skinboats. My strongest memories are intimate ones—the smell of fermented seal oil, the sting of ice crystals on snowmobile rides, and the background din of howling Greenlandic huskies.

A future North awaits—not cold and unchanging, but living, dying and being reborn. Everyday memories of the Arctic will pass forward as they always have, kept by its Indigenous peoples and hidden in plain sight.” —Kiliii Yuyan

Kiliii Yuyan is a photographer based out of Seattle, but he can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year. Informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (Siberian Native) and Chinese-American, he explores the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives. Yuyan is a 2020 NiaTero Storytelling fellow, Pulitzer Center grantee, and one of PDN‘s 30 Emerging Photographers (2019), as well as an award-winning contributor to National Geographic Magazine and other major publications. Yuyan’s public talks inspire others about photography, Indigenous perspectives and wilderness around the globe. He also builds traditional kayaks and contributes to the revitalization of northern Indigenous culture.

A self portrait rendered in Cassius Obsidian clay. The object is a craggy triangular shape, and shows a three-quarter view of the artist's face, her eyes gaze out at the viewer, and curly hair frames her face.

Erica Deeman: Familiar Stranger

From the gallery press release:

Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by San Francisco-based artist Erica Deeman. In her second solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Familiar Stranger, Deeman turns the camera on herself for the first time, sharing 15 intimate self-portraits rendered in Cassius Obsidian clay. In this new series, Deeman continues her reflections on diasporic and transnational movements, Black permanence and the nuance of cultural identity.

“The works of Familiar Stranger begin as black-and-white photographic self-portraits which Deeman then prints as molds via a 3D printer. Cassius Obsidian clay is then pressed into the molds, left to dry for a week, and then fired twice. In the first firing the clay shrinks, cracks, becomes at once volatile and delicate. It is only in the second firing that the pieces take on their ebony veneer. It is significant that though of the earth, Deeman has chosen a human-made clay, mixed in her adopted home of California, a material suited to the artist’s exploration of the roots and routes of her own diasporic identity.”— Leigh Raiford, Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley

“The camera may not always render you in the manner that you see yourself, and that’s okay; it can only allude to the complexity of existence and being.”— Erica Deeman in conversation with Essence Harden, independent curator, arts writer, and PhD. Candidate, University of California at Berkeley

A photograph depicted with intentionally low resolution: the image shows a woman wearing a strapless blue gown and long white gloves. She is standing with her arms raised in front of a staircase that descends to a beach, with the dusky sky over the ocean behind her.

Chris Komater: Family Album

Photographer Chris Komater presents a new series of large-scale, low-resolution images, “Family Album”. For sixty years, Komater’s father meticulously documented events in his family’s life with slides. Following the recent passing of both parents, Komater has chosen a few of these images and produced low-resolution enlargements: his parents kissing in the back of a car; young Chris embracing a teddy bear. Ranging in resolution from easily- to barely-recognizable, the images mirror the process of our loved ones disappearing from our lives.

A photograph by Eddie Herena, made while he was incarcerated at San Quentin Prison. The picture shows a group of incarcerated men, two sitting on a platform holding microphones, the rest standing around them. Everyone is looking to the right, some are wearing all white, others are wearing all blue, or blue and white, the colors perfectly match the clear blue sky above them. There is a chain link fence with barbed wire on its top edge on the left side of the photo.

Cell Signals: Reframing and Resisting Mass Incarceration

SF Camerawork presents the online exhibition Cell Signals, curated by Pete Brook and featuring the work of Adam Chin, Jodi Darby, Robert Gumpert, Eddie Herena, Wray Herbert-King, Brandon Tauszik, Pendarvis Harshaw, and the Free Mind Collective. Through its groupings of rehashed archives, call & response, video-visitation hacks, cinemagraphs, homebrew-AI, and prison newspaper coverage, Cell Signals peers upon the networked image-technologies that shape prisons and the U.S. homeland culture.

A black and white image of two people sitting on a tile floor next to a sliding glass door, with only their legs in view. One person pulls on the toe of a white sock worn by the other person. Bright light shines through the glass door creating dramatic shadows.

New Photography from the Pacific Northwest

Melanie Flood Projects in collaboration with curator Yaelle Amir, is pleased to present seven solo online exhibitions of photographers based in the Pacific Northwest from July 31 to August 14, 2020. A new artist will take center stage every two days with all exhibitions archived on the website for ongoing inquiry and access.

Rydel Cerezo  July 31
Cristal Tappan August 2
Mikai Arion  August 4
Emma Ray-Wong August 6
Stefan Gonzales August 8
M Prull August 10
Ricardo Nagaoka August 12

This exhibition stemmed from our mutual curiosity about emerging photography made in the Pacific Northwest. Our research began in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and concluded at the start of a major social upheaval in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality. These historical realities informed many of the conversations we had with the artists during our studio visits, ultimately becoming an inextricable part of our final selections. These deeply intimate bodies of work include reflections on personal identity, the complex experience of sheltering in place, negotiating family dynamics, shifting access to work, and the reality of being an emerging artist in a post-pandemic world. —Yaelle Amir and Melanie Flood, Exhibition curators

Yaelle S. Amir is a curator and researcher with a primary focus on artists whose practices supplement the initiatives of existing social movements, rendering themes within those struggles in ways that both interrogate these issues and promote them to a wider audience. Yaelle’s programming has appeared in art institutions throughout the United States including Artists Space (NY), CUE Art Foundation (NY), The Elizabeth Foundation (NY), Franklin Street Works (CT), Holding Contemporary (OR), and Marginal Utility (PA) among many others. She has held curatorial and research positions at major institutions including MoMA NY, the International Center of Photography, and New York University. In Portland, she was curator of exhibitions and public programs at Newspace Center for Photography and recently curated the Portland2019 Biennial. For more information about her work visit www.yaelleamir.com.

A photograph of a person in a red fluffy sweater trimming another persons short, deep blue hair. The person receiving the haircut is wearing a blue t-shirt. Both people are Black.

Offline

A group exhibition examining social dissolution through still life. A pause in dependency, a surrender of instantaneous access. A stagnant heatwave hangs over the city.

Offline presents photographs from the 1970s-current as an examination of social dissolution over the passage of time, creating an exhibition as a homage to city life. Featuring historical and contemporary selections, Offline examines the city from a psychic space, a reimagining of the city as a studio, a place of resistance, a place of collective memory.

Artists:
Jim Goldberg
Todd Hido
Whitney Hubbs
Jim Jocoy
Steve Kahn
Sean McFarland
Raymond Meeks
Momo Okabe
Chanell Stone
Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel
Hiroshi Takizawa
Daisuke Yokota

A black and white image of an arid, rocky mountain range split between three tall, vertical, black frames. There are white lines and marks layered over the image, seeming to describe the topography.

Trevor Paglen: Territory

Altman Siegel is pleased to present a body of new work by artist Trevor Paglen. This will be his fifth exhibition at the gallery. Trevor Paglen’s new photographs position the origins of computer vision, facial recognition, and artificial intelligence in the tradition of landscape photography of the American West. Examining histories of seeing in relation to technological advancements, Paglen reveals underlying structures of power and the changing role of the image.

Capturing dramatic vistas shot around Yosemite, Black Canyon, the California Coast, and other iconic landscapes, Paglen refers to classic works by Muybridge, O’Sullivan, Watkins, Hillers, and other 19th century “frontier” photographers. While we often encounter these historical referents in a museum setting today, many of these seminal images were originally produced for the US Department of War on military “reconnaissance” surveys and are embedded with the colonial narratives of Western Expansion. What would a contemporary iteration of frontier photography reveal about our current structures of power?

With the advent of computer vision and artificial intelligence, the role of images and photographs has changed dramatically. From industrial fabrication and self-driving cars to facial recognition and biometric surveillance, computer vision algorithms are working invisibly in our daily lives. Paglen investigates the formal and conceptual logics of computer vision and AI by using modified machine vision software to produce images revealing the internal mechanisms of the algorithms. Returning to the western landscapes captured by his predecessors, Paglen translates his 8×10 negatives into digital files that can be read by AI. He then overlays lines, circles and strokes that signify how computer vision algorithms attempt to “see” by creating mathematical abstractions from images.

For many of the photographs, Paglen employs printing methods of the 19th century. Each edition is processed by hand using sunlight per traditional albumen and carbon printing techniques. The resulting photographs resemble their historical precedents, while revealing the changing face of image culture as it is increasingly interpreted by machine vision.

Where the landscapes refer to the history of western photography as an aspect of territorial control, so we find another form of extraction and coercion embedded in a new series of portraits. Photographs in the series They Took the Faces from the Accused and the Dead are based on National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Special Database 18, a collection of 3248 mug shots that constitute a standard database for the promotion of research into facial recognition. To create facial-recognition software, computer scientists and software engineers need large collections of faces as “training images.” Before the advent of social media, a common source of faces for this research came from these mug shots of accused criminals. In a very real sense, facial-recognition software is built upon the faces of prisoners.

Paglen mines the history of photography, both for its physical production and its subject matter, to construct questions around seeing. Concerns about surveillance and privacy, freedom and servitude continue to resonate as the two series of works, western landscapes and mug shots create a contemporary questioning and retelling of the archetypal story of the ‘Old West.’

I think that for me what unites the works in this exhibition it’s something to do with the relationship between photography, computer vision, and extraction. If we look at real-life forms of computer vision, let’s ask what they’re designed to do. We might say “oh they’re for navigating cars, or for doing quality control for manufacturing, or for recognizing objects or whatever” – I think to that I’d say: no, these forms of “seeing” are mostly about doing one of two things, often in tandem. First, making money. Second, increasing the efficiency of centralized forms of power, for example the police or the military. And that this has a long history – that the 19th Century photos I reference in this body of work were part of efforts led by the Department of War to map the west and to figure out how to mine it and settle it. The photographs of prisoners were meant to make policing more effective and more powerful. This body of work for me is about trying to see how photography and power were coupled together in the past, and to think about how those couplings might be taking place now in the age of computer vision and AI. —Trevor Paglen

Three large square photographs hanging on a dark gray wall, each photograph is a single solid color: red, yellow, and blue, respectively

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Opticks

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Hiroshi Sugimoto: Opticks, an exhibition of new large-scale photographs on view for the first time in the U.S. The images depict the color of light Sugimoto observed through a prism in his Tokyo studio. Using Polaroid film, he recorded sections of the rainbow spectrum projected into a darkened chamber, paying particular attention to the spaces and gaps between hues. The resulting works, each measuring approximately 5’ framed, are vivid, near-sculptural renderings of pure light. The exhibition will be on view from March 26 to August 15, 2020, and can be viewed through our Online Viewing Room.

Sugimoto describes his process, which began before sunrise and depended on the clarity of the winter light: “First thing, I would check for hints of light dawning above the eastern horizon. If the day promised fair weather, next I would sight the ‘morning star’ shining to the upper right of the nascent dawn. Depending on how bright Venus appeared, I could judge the clarity of the air that day—Tokyo is clear almost every day in winter thanks to the prevailing seasonal west-high east-low pressure patterns. Only then did I ready my old Polaroid camera and start warming up a film pack from the long winter night chill,” he writes. In his studio, he used a mirror outfitted with a special micro-adjusting tilting mechanism, and projected light from the prism onto the mirror. By adjusting the mirror’s angle, he could separate individual colors of light. “I could split red into an infinity of reds,” he explains.

In his work, Hiroshi Sugimoto has explored the ways photography can be used to record traces of invisible but elemental forces. His philosophical approach asks questions about the human experience of these phenomena. Inspired by the writings and research of Sir Isaac Newton and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on the science and experience of light, the works in Opticks examine the infinite nature and dual status of color as a physical phenomena and an emotional force. Sugimoto titled Opticks after Newton’s 1704 book of the same name, which presented his groundbreaking experiments with prisms and light. More than 100 years later, in 1810, Goethe published Zur Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors), a study of the physical basis of colors and human responses to them, which found Newton’s “impersonal scientific exposition wanting on artistic grounds,” Sugimoto writes.

Looking at light through his own prism, he notes:

I too had my doubts about Newton’s seven-colour spectrum: yes, I could see his red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet schema, but I could just as easily discern many more different colours in-between, nameless hues of red-to-orange and yellow-to-green. Why must science always cut up the whole into little pieces when it identifies specific attributes? The world is filled with countless colours, so why did natural science insist on just seven? I seem to get a truer sense of the world from those disregarded intracolours. Does not art serve to retrieve what falls through the cracks, now that scientific knowledge no longer needs a God?

The exhibition will also include a sculptural rendering of a mathematical model from Sugimoto’s series of conceptual forms, along with work from other series.

A person in a dark purple leather jacket holds up a flat mask over their face. The mask is an extremely pixelated face with two small eye slits. Dark curly hair peeks out the sides of the maks. Behind the person, there is a row of art historical sculptures on white plinths, backlit by large windows.

We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles

About the Exhibition / We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles brings attention to the dynamic voices in our diverse metropolis that extend viewers’ knowledge and understanding of the Asia Pacific region. The exhibition highlights seven female contemporary artists of diverse Asian Pacific heritages living and working in Los Angeles. These artists engage with and draw from their lives and family histories to create compelling works of art that invite visitors to think about their own experiences and heritage. Interwoven in their works are personal and universal narratives that give voice to the plural community we call home. This show seeks to inspire visitors to discover connections across boundaries and see that Asian art is expansive and complicated.

Exhibited Artworks / We Are Here: Contemporary Art and Asian Voices in Los Angeles places the art and voices of the exhibited artists as the central themes leading the visitor through the galleries. Organization of the exhibition will be by artist, with their words accompanying their images. A variety of media will be represented in the exhibition, including painting, photography, and video. Artists’ videos will be projected onto walls in the gallery space. Throughout the galleries, small screens will present short mini documentaries about each artist and will be produced by the USC Pacific Asia Museum.