Edges of Reality - Janice Mehlman
October 16, 2014 - November 13, 2014 Bogota, Carrera 16 # 86A-31
On Thursday, October 16, Beatriz Esguerra Art will have the pleasure of presenting New York photographer Janice Mehlman’s first solo show in Colombia, “Edges of Reality.” An artist of unique vision, Mehlman has the capacity to transform unlikely subjects into striking statements, finding rare beauty in the most unassuming places. For over thirty years Janice Mehlman’s distinct point of view has played with the effect light and shadow has upon architecture and other various elements. Sheets of paper, metal, and glass are combined to bring forth compositions that would normally go unnoticed before the human eye, revealing a keen interest in architectural form. As soft lines appear and catch light, they create volumetric spaces that satiate her pieces with an emotion most akin to joyfulness.
Mehlman’s photographic interest in architecture was most poignantly represented in photographs of ancient mosques, taken while in Morocco. When seen through her gaze, these images transformed heavy and dense structures into light and airy elements reminiscent of undulating paper. In a playful gesture, she managed to then turn her photographic eye toward paper; ripping, rolling and placing it in a specific manner, which when combined with just the right amount of light and shadow, turned into suggestions of architectural compositions. These images led to her successful New York exhibition, “Architecture as Paper and Paper as Architecture.” In her next project, Mehlman merged both aforementioned techniques to create collages that appear weightless in a setting devoid of gravity. In pieces such as “Multinational Agreement,” she introduces elements of color, which dissolve recognizable fragments of our constructed world in order to form abstractions of a philosophical nature. Personal difficulties were later reflected in her work as she took to photographing shards of broken glass. These photographs revealed Mehlman’s struggle to create order out of confusion, attempting to arrange sharp, rusty and difficult elements into one integrated being. These works, while poignant, finally gave way to an optimistic change, which can be seen in the photograph currently on view, “Disaster Relief,” which was created directly after Hurricane Sandy heavily damaged her studio in New York in 2012. After finding a discarded photograph of a street sign entitled “Hope” on the ground, she decided to transform it, together with a trash bin and other elements, thus marking a turning point in her work.
Mehlman’s current photographs are a manifestation of joy, light and color that radiate an energy that almost jumps off the page, as various objects join together in unison, reminiscent of a symphony. Delicate instances of linear color unite to form volumetric elements that play off of each other in pieces such as “Dripping with Desire” and “Shifting Tides.” Her most recent work was born out of the discarded edges of a friend’s painterly experimentations with larger compositions. As can be seen in these photographs, Mehlman is able to find beauty, strength, and awe in those objects that may appear useless, or are even unnoticeable, to other people.
With 12 photographs of various formats, this exhibition offers the viewer an opportunity to engage with Janice Mehlman’s unique vision. She has been exhibiting her photographs throughout the United States and Europe since the early 1980's, and her work is featured in International Museum and Corporate Collections as well as in major books on The History of Photography. She is a Professor of Photography, in the Art Department at Kingsborough Community College, of the City University of New York, and divides her time between Pietrasanta, Italy and Brooklyn, New York, where she lives and works.
Janice Mehlman's "Edges of Reality" will be part of ARTBO's (Bogota International Art Fair - October 24-27) VIP Program. On Sunday, October 26th, Beatriz Esguerra Art will host a breakfast from 9 to 11 am for all VIP program participants who would like to attend the special gallery tours taking place during the fair. The gallery will walk its guests through the exhibit offering information on the works exhibited.
Additionally, Janice Mehlman will give a talk at photography and visual arts school LaBloom on October 14th at 7 pm. Those interested may submit their portfolio for revision and critique by Mehlman for a cost of $50,000 COP. Entrance to the talk is free. For more information please contact LaBloom.
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