Alfred Eisenstaedt, Shadow of "Graf Zeppelin", Brazil, 1933
|KEITH DE LELLIS GALLERY
1045 MADISON AVENUE (between 79th & 80th Streets)
EXPERIMENTS IN ABSTRACTION:
A Group Exhibition of Vintage Photography
Photography's first claim to attention was its ability to faithfully reproduce reality, but over the years photographers of various calibers have used the medium to reproduce reality in distorted ways, or to produce totally fictive realities. The 49 black-and-white prints up at de Lellis were taken between 1916 and 1966, and run the gamut of possible abstractions, from Harold Haliday Costain's "Architectural Fantasy" (c. 1933), which looks down on a spiral staircase so that it resembles the shell of a nautilus, to Herbert Matter's "Light Drawing" (1943), which is closer to the work of abstract expressionists than what we think of as photography.
In Alfred Eisenstaedt's "Shadow of 'Graf Zeppelin,' Brazil" (1933) the ominous shape of the back half of the dirigible is cast upon ruffled waters. The shadow in Arthur Lavine's "Summer" (1953) is his own-cast at evening so that the length of his legs is comically exaggerated. In "Flou" (c. 1958), Vistali Piero photographed two dancers so out of focus they have become abstractions. In "Untitled" (1966), Beuford Smith used such a slow shutter speed to photograph two men walking toward each other on a sidewalk that they, too, have become abstractions. Benn Mitchell photographed himself and three others in a "42nd Street Funhouse Mirror" (c.1955) that pulled their foreheads to enormous proportions. Gjon Mili apparently used a strobe to capture multiple images of "Martha Graham" (1941) executing a dance movement, but the squiggle of light in Edward Quigley's "Quetzalcoatl" (1931) is magic of his own devising.
Mr. Meyers writes about photography for the Wall Street Journal.
Tuesday - Friday: 10:30am to 5:00pm
Saturdays: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Harold Haliday Costain, Architectural Fantasy c.1933