One of the coolest things about living in Palo Alto is Modernbook Gallery. A phenomenal photography gallery started November 1, 1999 and now a fixture now in the Bay Area arts scene, the gallery changes exhibits six times a year and can be scene at art fairs like the upcoming LA Art Show which runs January 20 – 24, 2010, the Affordable Art Fair in New York in May, the San Francisco Art Fair in July, and Red Dot Miami in December.
I came by today as part of my month of taking stock and thinking about photography and printing. Mark Pinsukanjana and Bryan Yedinak have created an inviting space where you can meet the artists at openings, or quietly come by like I did today to view some portfolios. Modernbook represents 30 photographers, both emerging artists and established ones like Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor.
I started with Brigitte Carnochan’s new work titled Floating World. Dreamlike montages using multiple images with calligraphy inspired by classic Japanese poems. The images are printed on Japanese Kozo (mulberry) paper and include the poem on a label on back of the mat.
I then went on to Charles Grogg’s stitched photographs. Mark and Bryan were describing the work. Images individually printed in segmented panels of Gampi paper, then stitched together to create the complete image. The effect is visually attractive. Charles Grogg is one of the two artists in the next exhibition with a reception on February 5.
Sara Friedlander’s Bound and Determined series is on display in the current group show until February. Photographs taken of Chinese women in 1983 inspired her first mixed media efforts in 1999. The women photographed were subjects of foot binding – constraining the size of a woman’s feet to achieve a small foot aesthetic/fetish. Practiced since the T’ang dynasty, it was outlawed by the Nationalists in 1911, and then again by the Communists in 1949. The quiet dignity of the women seem to show a triumph of humanity over mutilation.
Brent Townsend’s work is intriguing. Brent’s large work, Lake Bohinj, work fills one wall – each of the four panels measures 36″ by 48″. The chromogenic work is brilliantly colored – and starkly mounted on aluminum panels. The image is part of his Lookup Up series which stitches together several fish-eye views which is then transformed into a new projection. The images are normally available as large single prints. But the huge four panel piece demands attention and inspection and draws you in to a more immersive experience.
I finished with a return to Maggie Taylor’s Alice in Wonderland portfolio. Using Photoshop to digitally collage scanned elements of vintage photographs and objects, her work is whimsical, dreamy, disturbing and wondrous. I met Maggie at her opening that coincided with her publication of her book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Modernbook. The image of Alice sleeping, surrounded by 52 cards from a vintage playing deck, was created by individually scanning each card and carefully compositing and manipulating the elements to form the fluid and beautiful swirling final image. Featuring all new illustrations by Maggie to the classic text, the book is part of Modernbook Editions – the publishing side of Modernbook.
Modernbook Editions are exquisitely printed in small runs, available as a book alone or in limited editions with a print. Their upcoming book is The Mind’s Eye: Fifty Years of Photographs by Jerry Uelsmann. At an introductory limited to 100 edition release of the book, printed in duotone and accompanied by a silver gelatin print of The Poet’s House. At a pre-sale price of $500.00, it is slightly more affordable compared to the forthcoming 21st Photography retrospective limited edition of Jerry Uelsmann’s work.