January 15 — February 28, 2015
Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to announce The Return to Reason, the gallery’s first exhibition devoted solely to photography, curated with Allie Haeusslein, Associate Director, Pier 24 Photography. This group exhibition will feature photographic works by Stephen Gill, Yamini Nayar, Chloe Sells, Lorenzo Vitturi and Hannah Whitaker where the act of layering plays a fundamental role in shaping the final result. These artists adeptly intermingle the abstract and familiar through processes both physical and alchemical ranging from cutting, assembling and rephotographing to manipulations both in the camera and darkroom. A heightened sense of form, color, materiality and texture permeate these works, alongside an underlying tension between the flatness of the photographic plane and the disorienting dimensionality that arises from the various layers and surfaces at play in each picture. Though their works and intentions are distinctive and wide‐ranging, these artists produce innovative photographic forms that playfully reveal and obscure what we have come to expect from an image.
The exhibition takes its title from Man Ray’s first film, Le retour à la raison (The Return to Reason) (1923), a two‐minute short combining enigmatic photograms and spiraling objects with glimpses of decipherable figures and scenes. This experimental, non‐narrative explores the possibilities of the medium through a visual barrage of overlapping and colliding images that teeter between the abstract and recognizable. Man Ray’s unconventional approach to materials and process continues to reverberate with many contemporary artists, including those presented in The Return to Reason.
Between 2009 and 2013, Stephen Gill produced “in‐camera photograms” of his East London neighborhood, placing objects, creatures and other artifacts from the area in his camera before photographing his urban surroundings. Gill’s photographs have been widely exhibited at institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Portrait Gallery, London; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; and Haus der Kunst, Munich. In 2013, his work was the subject of a major retrospective at Foam (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam). Gill is well known for his photobooks – including Talking with Ants (2014), Hackney Flowers (2007), Outside In (2010), Coexistence (2012) and Best Before End (2014) – meticulously produced under his own imprint, Nobody Books.