Don’t Look Back: The CCNY Staff Show

Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in Sara Macel | No Comments
Photo courtesy of CCNY

Photo courtesy of CCNY

Last week, I attended the opening reception of the CCNY staff group show titled Don’t Look Back that was co-curated by I-Hsuen Chen and Alexander Perrelli. The show is up through this Saturday, July 27th.

It is always interesting to me with group shows where each artist is only showing 1-2 pieces to see how curators weave a story out of the show’s theme. In this case, Chen and Perrelli open their show with three images that instantly set a melancholic tone and place the viewer in limbo. First, we see Car Pelleteri’s Heather & I, Brighton Beach 16×20 print of an old snapshot of the photographer and her friend in bikinis with their backs to the camera looking over their shoulder at us. The time code on the snapshot says “91 6 28”. The next piece by John Stanley of his In a Hidden Place series shows a clearing in a wooded area with ropes or ties between tree branches. It is clear someone was here, but there is an ominous ambiguity about what we are looking at that is only amplified by the snapshot as evidence we just saw. With the third image, we meet our witness. In Michael J. Dalton II’s Untitled #13 a teenage girl lounges on a tree branch looking us in the eye with a bored expression like she knows what we’re thinking. We can have the past, because all she cares about is the future.

Photo by Car Pelleteri

Photo by John Stanley

Photo by Michael J. Dalton II

As the show progresses, Chen and Perrelli play with their title Don’t Look Back in a variety of interpretations that feels fun and ambitious. Ryan Foerster’s Hurricane is listed as a “unique chromogenic print with debris” – essentially a photo damaged by a storm, if we are to believe the title, creating a one-of-a-kind piece. Chen’s contribution to the show was also my personal favorite. His artist book In Between challenges the viewer in its placement of photos in the book where the central point of our attention is lost in the gutter creating a sense of frustration on the viewer’s part. It feels like Chen wants to share these moments with us, but is holding back hiding the best parts to keep for himself. Don’t Look Back also takes itself literally where we see our subjects from behind, including in Perrelli’s own work, or looking back as in Christina Thurston’s Untitled image of a young girl posing for the camera, trying to be present in the moment, but can’t help herself from turning back to see what’s been left behind.

Photo by Christina Thurston

 

 

Posted by on Mar 30, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

black white breast

Blue Boobs, c print colorgram, 2012

A Conversation with Pia Howell

 

Using traditionally photographic materials to create vividly colored abstractions in the darkroom, Pia Howell sidesteps the need to photograph something real. In doing so she perhaps makes photographs that are more direct, translating her good-humored presence onto type-c paper in a fanciful yet cannily culturally conscious language of mark and gesture.

tumblr_lx6yncJhJb1qbstk6o1_1280

 

Wild! Berry, c print colorgram, 2011

MATTE: When did you decide to start painting with the darkroom? Was there a time when you made “straight photographs”? If so, what prompted the transition?

PH: I got the idea to start painting in the darkroom a couple of years ago after thinking a lot about the “painted” frosting designs on pop tarts. I wanted to recreate the wild berry pop tart design as a c print, and the best way to do that was to paint it onto a large transparency. From that experience it became clear that there was a lot to work with from painting transparencies.

Yes I learned traditional printing from negatives in both black and white and color, and there was a brief time when I was making “straight” photographs. The urge to experiment came largely from a frustration with having to find subjects and content to photograph (as opposed to creating it), as well as an interest in facing the materiality of photography rather than keeping it latent. I’ve always been most driven to work in photography but I might actually be more of a painter or sculptor at heart?

black_smiley_web2

Black Smiley, c print colorgram, 2012

tumblr_m5x4encIIb1qbstk6o1_1280

Sad Confusion, c print, 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Witch Work, unique c print, 2012

MATTE: Can/do you edition your pieces, or are they one-off?

PH: Editioning my work is probably closer to printmaking than photography. Though the printmakers I’ve met seem to be hardcore perfectionists about editions. Personally I feel like each print I make is technically unique since I am moving all the components (transparencies and set up) between making each print, but for exhibition purposes it makes a lot of sense to create editions. My idea of an edition can get pretty loose. But as long as 2 prints look almost exactly the same and are going for the same effect, I think they are an edition even if they are registered slightly differently.

tumblr_l8srcwSXd31qbstk6o1_1280

Red Marks, c print colorgram, 2009

tumblr_liijxc8PlQ1qbstk6o1_500

Abstract Olympics, collage, 2011

tumblr_kzuwvgb9nJ1qbstk6o1_r2_500

Red Marlboro, unique c print colorgram, 2009

MATTE: How do you come up with the color of palette for a specific work?

PH: I’ve always made a lot of little abstract paper collages, and through that have been very interested in strange color combinations. I have palettes in my mind that I’m working towards…In the darkroom it can be difficult to achieve a specific subtle color, say a pastel for example, and at the same time adding another color adds considerable complexity to a print, so often the palettes of c prints I make are more limited than I’d like them to be eventually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MATTE: How do you begin to compose an image?

PH: Yeah that’s hard because my images transition between so many materials. I usually just have to jump in and start painting something, which often works when I want something to look chaotic or careless. Sometimes I make a composition I like immediately; other times I have to rework a composition by combining elements from different paintings, scanning, enlarging, copying, tracing, photocopying etc.

tumblr_lsd2xoD68J1qbstk6o1_1280

Flag, c print colorgram, 2011

MATTE: Why are you a member of CCNY?

PH: I love CCNY- it’s such a unique resource. I became an intern towards the end of college, and stayed on so that I could keep working in the darkroom after I was out of school. Analog darkrooms, especially color darkrooms, are so rare these days- I hear all the time about art institutions disassembling their color darkrooms. This may sound crazy but I think it’s premature; there is still a lot of potential for interesting work to be made through analog printing.

-MATTE Magazine for CCNY

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | One Comment

IMG_3010

photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

 

Deanna Havas

1989 New York, NY

I officially consider Deanna Havas to be my muse. She has a certain “I don’t give a fuck” that combined with very real knowledge and a staggeringly evolved and cohesive personal aesthetic frequently leads to good art.  She is constantly at work, and the things she makes are things you’d like to have around because they exude the same kind of shameless and pokingly subversive wit. A notable entity on the internet, Havas offers her very real self as a mirror of pixels and tweets. Working with the world wide web she injects the usually cold arteries through which our digital lives flow with uniquely human insight and warmth.

Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 5.45.53 AM

This month New Museum affiliated non-profit Rhizome presents a new piece by Havas entitled “Affiliate Program” as part of their “The Download” series. The program allows you to earn back the membership fee you pay to Rhizome by directing traffic to her website.

“The Download as a curatorial program makes it so you can only download the monthly projects if you join, and the profits are essentially split between the artists at the end of the program,” Havas explains. “This stood out to me as a pretty unique feature of this curatorial project so I was interested in engaging with that aspect. Alternative economies are often proposed as a solutions for commodifying net based works which continues to be an ongoing theme, and affiliate marketing occurred to me, not only because its kinda sketchy, but because its unique in the sense that its an economic system indigenous to the internet.”

Abstract-Render3-Thumb

Found Abstract Render, 2012

IMG_0911

Iphone/Ipad composition, 2012

IMG_1052-768x1024

 Iphone/Ipad composition, 2012

Havas sometimes culls things from the internet, sometimes creates things in exhaustively painstaking detail from scratch, and often mixes both. Everything she creates is unified by very informed engagement with culture in general alongside very specific subcultures. In her recent piece “Mecha Composition”  Havas summons a digital golem of cyber detritus to champion the obsessions of nerds everywhere.

Mecha_Multi5

Mecha_Lightning_online

Mecha12

Mecha Composition, 2013

 “Mecha Composition also fits in with this otaku/loner/ ‘content creation as escapism’ them that I’m interested in lately. Otaku is a somewhat pejorative loanwoard from Japanese basically describing basement dwellers who are obsessed with anime, video games , etc. In Japan the existence of this subculture incited a moral panic (due to a serial killer who was allegedly otaku), which seems somewhat absurd- the idea that someone who is afraid to leave their home possess a threat to society. Hikkomori is the Japanese word describing a ‘phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or young adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement.’ The causes of this phenomenon have been attributed to mental/developmental disorders such as autism, peer bullying and  the demands of the education system in Japan. They encompass a larger group of ‘freeters’ (expression for people between the ages of 15 and 34 who lack full-time employment or are unemployed, excluding housewives and students) that grew out of economic conditions in post-war japan- a highly competitive and unstable job market. I believe that the socio-economic climate that allowed for this sub-culture to grow is somewhat analogous to the socio-economic conditions we experience in (post-Bush administration) America today. Mecha is a sci-fi genere of robots and mechanical objects, its pretty common in anime/magna, Gundam is a popular example. It has a strong conceptual/ aesthetic link with otaku culture (/m/ on 4chan is a mecha forum). I downloaded various mecha 3d models from the internet and designed my own shaders for them, in an attempt to engage with this ‘collective aesthetic’. I like the idea of these robots, not only in the escapist/hobbyist sense, but also as a representation of power in a meek culture.”

Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 5.47.36 AM

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 1.21.00 PM

Havas’ latest project is called “Abject Aesthetics”. It is a Pinterest board she curates focusing on several different “fandoms” each adoring a different type of tragedy. She finds the images manually by combing specific hashtags across various social media. This work presents an undeniable link between contemporary fashion and the idolization of suffering.

“I was interested in exploring the nuances of Pinterest as a curatorial platform, and how social networks as a context contribute to the overall meaning of the work (blah blah blah Lol). Some of the fandoms, particularly the eating disorder and self harm ones predate pinterest and tumblr (I was aware of them as a tween online in the late 90s). It’s actually such an integral part of tumblr culture now that there are links to eating disorder/self-harm/mental illness/ suicide prevention resources in the website’s static footer. Tumblr has even taken the initiative to ban hastags related to those fandoms. There are some newer fandoms, #columbiners, for example, that fetishize the plight of the columbine killers. There are fandoms for virtually every school shooting  (or really any serious crime perpetrated by a teen) that has happened between now and the late 20th century. The irony is that the more traditionally attractive the school shooter, the bigger the fandom is going to be, despite the fact that the ‘social stigma/ bullying victimization’ aspects are one of the main elements being romanticized. Columbiners are so prevalent, not only because of the degree of the tragedy, but also because of the effect that mediation has on the images- news footage from the period now feels dated/retro, the killers themselves appear, on the surface level, as vintage 90s teen idols.”

As vehemently as she may feign nonchalance, Deanna Havas is keeping an eye out for all of us. Through deceptively generous works she exposes the weird beauty of culture coming together on the internet. As she recently tweeted:

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 12.47.08 PM

-MATTE Magazine for CCNY

TITLES_MATTE_CCNY

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

IMG_3632

photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

signepiercehyperlogo

Signe Pierce is the star of her own reality. Collected here are recent works in photography, video, music and .gif format.

tumblr_m6hr7fHHAD1rvb7slo1_500

tumblr_ly8eucln3Y1qadixu

tumblr_inline_mi6b0nIEWv1qz4rgp

in collaboration with Alli Coates, 2013

tumblr_m6hr6lNR6j1rvb7slo1_500

tumblr_mb1g2pdk3v1qadixu


credit coates pierce

in collaboration with Alli Coates, 2012

 

tumblr_mkasy2EnDW1rvb7slo1_500

-MATTE Magazine for CCNY

TITLES_MATTE_CCNY

Posted by on Mar 24, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

IMG_3389

 photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

 

Lauren Poor

1992 Washington, DC

Lauren Poor is making her entire life into a garbagey Gesamtkunstwerk by exhaustively applying her vision to her surroundings.  She lives a mystical neon dream where life and art intermix fluidly. Through obsessive appreciation of imperfection and oddity Poor is able to grow her vision organically and allow it to spread like moss over any given subject. Increasingly she works in a way that prevents the viewer from being able to tell where the photograph begins or ends. A studied confusion of foreground and background allows her art to bleed past its borders and into its surroundings. There is a fantastical quality to these works, like windows on a world where you would rather be.

tumblr_meuia3QZF81r9b1obo2_1280

tumblr_meuia3QZF81r9b1obo6_1280

tumblr_meuia3QZF81r9b1obo5_1280

tumblr_meuia3QZF81r9b1obo3_1280

tumblr_meuia3QZF81r9b1obo7_1280

Trash Palace 2013

Poor’s recent series “Trash Palace” takes this mixing of real (photographic) information with fantasy (painted) content to the next level. The series is comprised of photos of the artist’s apartment accompanied by small houselike constructions and still lives. The physical subject of each photograph has been heavily altered by the artist’s hand if not completely fabricated by her hand. Then the photograph is printed, and the print is worked back into by the same hand. Through these repeated interventions of self Poor’s hand combines with the photograph, and they seamlessly become unintelligible.

“I wanted to use my apartment as a test space for experimenting with ideas of visual culture,” said Poor in a recent conversation with MATTE. “I paid attention to why everything in my apartment looks the way it does and how it all might affect my lifestyle and mentality. Everything started off white and boxy as apartments usually do and after studying ways different cultures create their visual worlds and how their choices relate to and affect their beliefs and lifestyles I decided to try to create my own and see what would happen. I began to create my own wallpaper and images that I thought would better reflect my own values and world I want to live in. Some of the images show my value for objects like plastic bottles that American society deems disposable and worthless compared to the values it shows through it’s own images and advertisements. I wanted to make a non oppressive space that people would feel free in and open to possibilities of existing and creating, so I left out ideal human forms and opted for abstract doodles and a wide range of colors. When I felt I’d changed the space enough that it fulfilled some of what I hoped to represent I photographed it and emphasized some of it’s qualities by painting on the prints, then experienced living in it.”

tumblr_mah2cySTrr1r9b1obo4_1280

tumblr_mgn0rvp4ld1r9b1obo2_1280

tumblr_mah2cySTrr1r9b1obo3_1280

 Masks 2012

The cohesiveness of Poor’s aesthetic is the only constant in her work, and it is malleable enough to allow for wild experimentation. “I think I have a way of doing things as anyone does. The way I imagine and create is affected by things I’ve seen and experienced and held dear or significant in my life so far. This includes a lot of ideas and visions related to dressing up and playing make believe as a kid, building fairy houses, hopping through suburban backyards, being in an acting group when I was younger and performing Shakespeare plays, being in an organization called City At Peace and many other things.”

tumblr_mk4ulfENLK1r9b1obo1_r3_1280

Times Square 2013

Poor’s most recent endeavor is applying her magical world to all our lives. Choosing Times Square as her subject, she takes the hyperreal crossroads of the universe one step further. “I’m able to photograph using a machine what I’m seeing and then paint using my body what is in my mind, invisible to everyone else,” Poor writes. The logical progression of this thought takes her vision into the physical world, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Drawing inspiration from large public initiatives such as Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg project in Detroit and Isaiah Zagar’s Philadelphia mosaic works, Poor is building a city.  With help from her father and a few friends she is in the very early stages of building a “visionary environment” in her parents’ back yard in Maryland. Over spring break from School of Visual Arts this year Poor began work on this small house, and this is a direction she has been dreaming of for a long time.

tumblr_mjfm9qpY7I1r9b1obo1_1280

The Chicken Coop 2013

lp3

Untitled 2011

“I’m excited to continue building. During this time I was happy to work to create something large and functional and I kept dreaming of building cities and empires and communities and neighborhoods someday. I hope my future will look more like this- building and fueling communities, creating spaces for good.”

Lauren Poor’s generous and unique sprit shines through everything she touches, and for this reason she will surely succeed in making the world a more beautiful place.

-MATTE Magazine for CCNY

TITLES_MATTE_CCNY

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

 

Bridget Collins

1990 Minneapolis, MN

Bridget Collins feels for you. Her photographs are earnest, generous, and easy to relate to. Above all they are empathetic. Delicately observed notes on the nature of beauty, human relationships and the physical world these pictures hint at the humanity of their author and let you know she understands.

“I feel like all of my work is empathetic, its about connection,” Collins recently told MATTE. “My process is all about giving small things due attention, being present and trying to connect myself with my environment.  The photos themselves show lots of contact between disparate things touching or holding each other. I like the middle ground, seeing things from both sides.  I think this is apparent even in my choice of palette, my colors aren’t very vibrant, everything sort of blurs into a greenish-grey, lost in a fog of missed connections and deja vu.”

 

Collins’ latest project, a self-published zine entitled “Excerpts From A Palm Reading” (available here), mines incidental snapshots she has taken in the last year. These photos are combined with edited down text from the 2013 Yahoo.com Gemini Horoscope, creating a collection of extractions from Collins’ past with advice for her future interspersed. The ambiguity of Collins’ eye makes these very personal snapshots universally relatable, creating a sequence of somehow familiar moments to which the viewer can bring personal history and make connections. As Collins puts it, “I like clichés, I like pop songs ya know?”

Bridget Collins cover for Packet Biweekly issue 2/17/2013

Bridget Collins “Soho Forestry Guide” for Packet Biweekly issue 01/21/13, photo courtesy Chris Nosenzo

Bridget Collins cover for Packet Biweekly issue 2/17/2013

Collins is also a regular contributor to the new journal “Packet Biweekly”, a collated and stapled publication founded late in 2012 by artist and graphic designer for Bloomberg Business Week Chris Nosenzo, who is her friend and fellow alumni of Pratt Institute. “Along with many other of our friends at Pratt, Bridget’s work helped define what kind of content Packet should have, as opposed to Packet having a distinct vision that this kind of work just happened to fit into. In other words I saw what Bridget and our friends were creating and felt like it needed a form; so Packet was born for the work that we create,” says Nosenzo. Collins uses Packet as a platform for experimentation, taking advantage of the relatively low overhead afforded by its zine format. “Packet is literally a packet of ideas.  It’s cheap and disposable and comes out every two weeks.  It’s an awesome thing to work on, filled with tangents, half-finished projects, and late-night bursts of inspiration,” comments Collins.

Through Collins’ eyes the audience is privy to a world of subtlety and wonder. Moments of transcendence are presented as a trail of breadcrumbs left behind as Collins moves through life. These are small offerings, solutions to the daily preoccupations of human existence. In this way they are very hopeful. “When I was young, I was very much an escapist,” says Collins.  “I didn’t think anything beautiful existed in real life, only in movies and television.  My work now is sort of a protest against that, a way of trying to remain present and come to terms with my surroundings.”

-MATTE Magazine for CCNY

 

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

Photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

Nir Arieli

Born 1986 Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Nir Arieli’s photographs are beautiful. Picturing male dancers in glowing natural light Arieli steals the physical beauty of his subjects, elegantly transferring it into still images. A frenetic unrest scratches at the surface throughout his series, presenting signs of a struggle beneath the placid picture plane. Tension exists between perfection and imperfection. Tension exists in the very muscles of his sitters. Tension even extends to the viewer in the act of looking at men in this way. Movement is suggested or even depicted explicitly, but the final images are very still. Arieli’s photos preserve moments of balance and grace, leading to the polished contrapposto that gives his pictures gravity.

Arieli only photographs men. Choosing subjects primarily from The Julliard School’s dance program, Arieli slowly sculpts the photograph through communication. “We worked in front of a white wall and he told me certain things he wanted within the composition including muscular tension and contortion with a relaxed focus in the eyes,” says Austin Goodwin, an undergraduate dancer at Julliard and repeated subject of Arieli’s photographs. “He asked me to move extremely slowly through different positions with my upper body. Throughout this he would stop me and we would explore whatever was working best. Occasionally I would try something different to see if it was cohesive with his idea and from there the collaboration continued between me inserting movement suggestions and Nir giving direction as to focal specifics and body angles. It was a very organic process.”

 

Arieli’s video work is made the way a photographer should make video, the camera at a fixed point, the frame unwavering. The only thing moving in the picture is the subject himself, performing for the viewer. “Dancers are performers, the process of creating a still image gives them a similar satisfaction to the one they get when the lights come up on stage,” says Arieli to MATTE, “The camera functions as the audience. They are eager to actively contribute to the success of the work. I’m often working with them in a very abstract way of directing, and they are able to translate my words into physical states.”

Beginning his career as a military photographer for the Israeli magazine Bamachane, Arieli now focuses with reticence on beauty. “Beauty is an essential part of every body of work I make. I’m in love with it but I also know I can’t be married to it in the most traditional sense,” says Arieli. His new series entitled “Inframen” looks beneath the skin of his subjects. Exposing flaws in the sitter’s physicality through an infrared process, Arieli freezes these artists at what he considers to be a pivotal time in their lives. “I’d like the viewer to disconnect from the glorious immortal dancer’s image they know from the stage, and notice the fragility of these people, the contrast of their gentle souls against their strong bodies. The ridiculous situation in which the dancer’s whole existence is dependent on his body, and that youth is gone in such a young age. In that sense this project is a lullaby for this beautiful stage in a dancer’s life, when they’re at their best physical shape,” says Arieli. “From now on the body will betray them slowly.” -MATTE Magazine for CCNY

 

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

 

Aneta Bartos, photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

Boys

Photographs by Aneta Bartos, curated by Jon Feinstein

At the Carlton Arms Hotel, 160 E 25th Street NYC, rooms 1A and 4A

31 January — 21 February 2013

 

The Carlton Arms Hotel is entered by pressing a buzzer and then walking up a flight of stairs littered with hand-lettered warning signs not to let the cats escape. The current installation of Aneta Bartos’ series “Boys” curated by Jon Feinstein can be viewed by requesting the keys to rooms 1A and 4A at the front desk, where a checklist of images and curatorial statement are also available. After adjusting to the dim light in the room, some normal fixtures of a hotel become apparent- a charmingly shabby desk, a bed. On the warm gray walls hang murky photographs of young men masturbating in thick cream-colored mattes.

Feinstein and Bartos met as a result of the 2012 exhibition “31 Women in Art Photography” (read my article on this show for Time Magazine’s Lightbox), a large group show which Jon Feinstein curated with Natalia Sacasa for the nonprofit organization he cofounded, Humble Arts Foundation. “The work we included in that exhibition was not part of “Boys” but was equally compelling,” said Feinstein to MATTE, “Aneta approached me shortly after that to work with her on this show. I found her work to be challenging, provocative and beautiful, and much different than other photographers I’ve worked with over the past few years.”

Bartos balances the provocative subject matter of these photographs with a pictorialist treatment. She favors Polaroid media to produce this painterly sfumato, resulting in mottled texture and a warm palette.  As Bartos puts it, “I love its quality of a distilled mood.” This approach sweeps the pictures firmly out of the realm of pornography and places them in conversation with painting. The images add to the historical dialogue photography has had with painting. They also comment on the ways in which photography is commonly used in the porn industry. These are erotic images of men made by a woman. “I wanted to challenge what is visually and expressively excepted as beauty in male condition when sexuality is owned by a female perspective,” says Bartos. Feinstein also sees the work as a challenge to current societal norms. “I think now is especially important as we’ve become so accustomed to seeing overly sexualized images of women in the media, in fashion, art etc, but somehow there’s a turn of the head to images of male nudity.”

All of the photographs in the exhibition were shot in rooms at The Carlton Arms. “I first discovered the hotel in 2006,” says Bartos, “I loved it’s crazy-eclectic surreally seedy and gloomy vibe.” Exhibiting these photographs in the same space they were made in completely alters the footing of the viewer. Instead of the separation the audience is usually afforded by a traditional gallery space from the actual scene being depicted in a photograph, this installation plants the viewer at the scene of the crime. “I think the dim, old New York atmosphere of the hotel gives a completely different, and much more intimate read than seeing them in a Chelsea white-space gallery,” adds Feinstein.

Feinstein and Bartos at The Carlton Arms Hotel, photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

When asked if the experience of making these pictures is sexual to her, Bartos answers, “Of course it is.” Her subjects are not freelance exhibitionists culled from the internet. Instead Bartos chooses to photograph close friends and people she has known for a long time. By setting the exhibition at The Carlton Arms the viewer is invited into these relationships. Initmacy between subject and photographer is shared with the audience, disturbing the sense of voyeurism typically inherent in viewing pornographic images.

These pictures today represent a very subversive take on beauty. By looking at them we indulge in Bartos’ curiosity, and we gladly become her partner in crime.  -MATTE Magazine for CCNY

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

Photograph by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

Elizabeth Renstrom

Born 1990 Hartford, CT

www.elizabethrenstrom.com

 

Elizabeth Renstrom keeps a diary. Out in public she’s always writing things down or sketching in a small black notebook. She fills these books with ideas. Every new photograph or series Renstrom comes up with in her mind she physically maps out every possibility for the work on paper in order to realize her vision. As Renstrom said to MATTE Magazine, “It just helps me work out the notion that maybe I’m not crazy because if it is on paper it most certainly can be created in real life too”.

“Face Time” 2012

elizabeth renstrom

Sketch for “Face Time” 2012

 

Renstrom typically works within one series of photos at a time, constructing environments in-studio to be photographed.  “Much of my work is about an obsessive control over the components I’m building even if it looks like a complete mess. Working in the studio allows me the time and space I need to have ‘sculptures’ or scenarios come to fruition then documented in a formal way,” says Renstrom.

“Mermaid” 2012

“Sticker Book” 2011

“Mermaid” 2012

Set of “Alien Resurrectionz” 2012

“Cursed” 2011

 

Renstrom’s newest series entitled “Waxy Chunks” was recently featured in Vice Magazine’s photography issue. It’s a spooky shamanistic take on 1990s nostalgia complete with instructions for a séance. As Renstrom puts it, “I guess you could say I’m about as nostalgic as anyone my age for those defining years, but mostly I’m interested in the AMOUNT of nostalgia I see on the internet and elsewhere for that time period”. She recognized a thirst on the internet for a specific time period, and used the demand of the audience to shape the process of her art-making. “When I began ‘Waxy Chunks’ my main goal was to make photos that looked very tumble-able. What is appealing on blogs? What images do people continually curate and proliferate online? A huge answer was the ’90s”.

“Death of Slime” 2012

“Spellz” 2012

“SBURNS” 2012

“Annoint” 2012

“Hero Worship” 2012

Renstrom finds our generation’s wistfulness for the ’90s to be premature. “It’s like we didn’t have the decency as a generation to reflect and look back on it in 20 years, we had to commemorate and relive our youth 5 years after it happened”.

“Charismatic Pussy” 2013

In these pictures there is both straightforward appreciation of junior high and the wariness of its regurgitation. Renstrom’s work views the ’90s through the filter of now and indulges our want for then. —MATTE Magazine for CCNY

The Camera Club of New York presents: MATTE Magazine

Posted by on Jan 6, 2013 in Matthew Leifheit | No Comments

Photograph by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY

Matthew Leifheit

Born 1988, Chicago, IL

Photographer, publisher, designer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. I am honored to be the current guest blogger for CCNY. Hello!

Early in 2011 I began producing a journal called MATTE Magazine, which features one artist per issue. It’s called MATTE because my name is Matthew, and because the paper on which it is printed is not very glossy. I studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, and this project became my thesis. I envision the magazine to be a platform for new ideas made for artists by artists. I make a portrait of the featured photographer for the cover and work closely with them on the content. Some issues include interviews, some contain essays or manifestos, and some are purely visual. I primarily focus on emerging photographers, but the magazine also functions as a repository for the lesser seen or early work of more established practitioners.

MATTE Magazine issues 1-10

 Apart from the cover and masthead every issue of the magazine is different, the result of a unique collaboration with the featured artist, the design and format tailored to best showcase their photographs. MATTE is printed in full color, saddle-stitched, and contains no advertisements. I have released ten issues to date, and they are available in these collections. Issues 11-20 are currently in production, and will be released over the coming months.

Selected spreads from MATTE Magazine:

MATTE Magazine is not for profit, and is sold at the cost of printing exclusively at Printed Matter in NYC.

Design by Oona Brangam-Snell for MATTE

I will use my time as guest blogger for CCNY as an extension of my magazine. I will lead each post with a portrait of the featured artist, and follow it with a portfolio of their work accompanied by my words. It is my intention to use this stint guest blogger to create a consistent online space to view exciting new photography and to shed some light on the motivations of each featured artist.

The Camera Club of New York presents: MATTE Magazine

Titles by Sonya Dissin for MATTE