Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Hands

I am too exhausted to recount any of Basel. That will have to wait for later posts.

For now you will have to settle on the show that I am going to see on Friday at Las Manos Gallery at 5220 N Clark Street in Chicago's Andersonville. The tragic site of Las Manos does not due the artists justice, nor does Mark DeBernardi's personal site. Tisk Tisk on poor web management.

Mark's work is an astonishing mix of hand altered photography and collage works. His touch is delicate and deliberate while feeling loose and natural. He (typically) takes negatives from 35mm or from his Holga and prints them traditionally on B&W silver gelatin paper. Then he alters the images by sanding them, stepping on them, drawing on them, flicking inks on them and generally doing everything you are told not to do to a photograph. Then, in the case of his collage work, he carefully composes images meticulously cut from books containing fine etchings and overlays them on the photo. Then, to seal the work, he finishes with an archival varnish, like a damar varnish. The end result is unparalleled; unmatched by any other artist. His works practically don't need his signature, MAD, written in caps in graphite in the lower corner. I am the proud owner of three of Mark's non-collage creations. I can't wait to see more.

{Mark DeBernardi, Love Poem 5}

Also in the show will be Ryan Zohglin, likely with his Heirloom photos. "Perfecting a near century old process utilizing glass printing and a 24k gold powder suspension backing, these one-of-a-kind prints display a rich luminosity and dimensional quality unlike any other photographic technique." This according to Ryan's website. Ryan was recently on 190 North with this work. Check out the YouTube clip. I really like this process, as no one else I know is doing it, and I respect the trials that Ryan had to go through to get this process to work reliably. They are captivating to look at.

I must admit though, I did love Ryan's NIMBY series. NIMBY is an acronym for "Not In My Back Yard." Ryan google-earthed undesirable locations like incinerators, coal refineries, nuclear-power plants, and most notably to his series, airport runways. He then simply set out to those locations and shot those who live next door. He was able to catch planes in flight that looked as if they were sure to destroy the houses that they flew just feet above. They were printed very large and I doubt Las Manos will commit the space for them. I hope he at least adds them to his website soon.

Finally, the show will also include Tricia Rumbolz. I could not find a website for her. One of her drawings can be seen in the background of this Time Out article about Coal Fire Pizza, where I found her work. I am hoping that there are several of these pieces there so that I can see more, but I love what I have already seen. The piece on her business card, "187 Vertical Lines," is just that. Hand drawn lines several feet in length, that at first glance, look like an old photograph of fabric. They are sublime works and I am looking forward to seeing more.

If you see me there, say hi.

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