Posts by: Matthew Leifheit

Daniel Gordon Paints Exotic Still Lifes with Internet Debris


Daniel Gordon is the garbagey Matisse of Google Images, painting exotic still lifes and portraits out of cultural detritus. They are lush and overgrown with photographic texture, pattern and color. The photographic element of both the materials being photographed and the final clean surface of his prints cool the images down, cementing them far outside the realm of kitsch. His newest series, The Green Line, is a glimpse into a charmingly slapstick hot glue paradise, and its title is a nod to Matisse’s famed 1905 portrait of his wife.

Delaney Allen’s Bold Photographic Diary Reflects on Themes of Loneliness and the Inability to Connect

Delaney_Allen_PhotographyI stopped to eat lunch at Cousins’ in The Dalles, Oregon. I’d always passed through but had never stopped at this particular establishment. The hostess greeted me and I asked for a table for one. Without hesitation, in a non-joking manner, she asked if I ever get lonely eating alone all the time. I half-laughed as I walked to the table. If she only knew.

From reading the artist’s words which accompany the photos in his recent series Painting a Portrait, you might think Portland-based photographer Delaney Allen is a very poetic sad-sack, or some kind of mopey sentimental. I find that a lot of photographers romanticize the lone-wolf mentality. But then you consider his photos again, after reading the text. They’re heartfelt descriptions of singularity, investigations of monoliths and voids.

Young Photographer Constructs Coming of Age Tale With Her Contemporaries


Elena Montemurro is a graduating senior at Parsons School for Design. Selections from her series Coming of Age are currently on view at MILK Gallery in NYC as part of the Parsons BFA Photography Thesis Exhibition. Montemurro’s work stands out in this group show because the world she captures is vividly colored, and the moments she chooses are all very relatable in one way or another. Constructing precarious scenarios à la David Lynch, these pubescent tableaux leave us hanging, waiting to know what happens next.

A Collection of Visually Flat Photographs Explore the Surface of Your Computer Screen

Photo: Nico Krijno

The major 2010 exhibition Surface Tension at the Metropolitan Museum presented an array of photographers interrogating the surface of their photographs. Including artists the likes of Adam Fuss and Vik Muniz, this show had a lasting impact on the way I look at photography. The “surface” being dealt with in the show was clearly the printed surface of a physical photograph. Currently, in the age of tumblr where photography is consumed voraciously through the web and works are often not seen in person, I have been noticing a different kind of surface tension. Photography dealing with flatness is experiencing a digital resurgence among emerging artists, and instead of addressing the surface of a photographic print they explore the surface of your computer screen.

Still Life Photos of Cosmetics Conjure the Spirit of Surrealist Jean Arp


Brooklyn-based photographer Mike Garten fights the banality of makeup still-lifes by connecting his to art history. It’s a difficult job photographing makeup and making it look graphic and interesting and beautiful, but it’s another level of difficulty making the photos transcend their purpose as commercial devices. His new cosmetic still-lifes do this by summoning the spirit of surrealist Jean Arp. Styled by painter Ashley Zangle and photographed on alternating black and white surfaces, they present a sleekly slapstick echo of the founding DADA member’s curvaceous sculptural works.

Follow Whitney Hubbs Into the Shadows


Whitney Hubbs’ series The Song Itself is Already a Skip was presented in LA-based M+B Gallery’s booth at the New Art Dealers Association (NADA) New York art fair this year. It was presented in combination with Jessica Eaton’s work, and this was the only “straight photography” I saw on view at that fair.

Junk or Junque? Brooklyn Photographer Glamorizes Dollar Store Trash

Antonio Basler

As a frequent shopper at New York bargain and 99 cent stores, I often consider the aesthetics of the merchandise. They stock objects not available at Walmart or any of the big box stores, and wonder if this is because much of their inventory is not commercially viable on a large scale. Most Americans wouldn’t want things of such garish color and cheap construction in their homes, and so these plastic outcasts come here, to Brooklyn dollar stores, to live out the remainder of their sad retail existence.

Jody Rogac Distills Portraits to Their Essence (NSFW)


Brooklyn-based photographer Jody Rogac’s portraits are soft in color and light but strong in emotional connectivity. Her recent exhibition “Pictures” at Ed. Varie in New York was a careful selection of sensitive portraits, each one a straightforward record of the interaction between photographer and subject. The images Rogac included in the show have a beautiful simplicity of form in common, an evenness of light, and a palette of chromatic grays mixed with skin tones. This agreeable grisaille wash is set off by the addition of monochrome images to the edit, which are equally careful of tonality. Rogac explained her elegant approach to us very earnestly, in just a few words- “I think a good portrait is one where the photographer has approached their subject gracefully and with respect.”

Scott Alario Photographs Tender Moments Relating to Fatherhood and Family Life


We are on a search for the spiritually significant, the magic in every day. What will we find that’s worth passing down? What will we conjure?—Scott Alario

Photographer Scott Alario is based in Providence, Rhode Island. His series What We Conjure was made with an 8×10 view camera, and adds to the great lineage of photographers like Emmet Gowin and Nicholas Nixon who have documented those most dear to them. Alario explores his role as a father by making these pictures, occasionally appearing in them himself.

Alario has written a poem that serves as a fitting accompaniment to the images.

I don’t believe that the universe had a beginning, and nor will it have an end.
Both beginnings and ends speak of time, and time is a construct that will fail when our ability to communicate it does.

Still Life Photos Utilize Food and Fabric to Create a Sense of Home


When I saw Winona Barton-Ballentine’s Home Studies prominently displayed in the ICP-Bard MFA group show, currently on view at ICP’s midtown educational center, I immediately felt drawn to their obvious sincerity and consideration. In a climate where combining random objects for no particular reason on a brightly colored background seems de rigueur, Barton-Ballentine’s domestic still-life photographs offer a warmly personal alternative. I recently asked her a couple of questions about the series.

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