Art |40|Basel – Art Premiere Liz Deschenes & R. H. Quaytman
Liz Deschenes and R.H. Quaytman share a concern with developing a new formalism that emerges from the well- defined parameters of their respective mediums – photography for Deschenes; painting for Quaytman.
For Art 40 Basel, Deschenes and Quaytman developed a dialogue on the topic of ‘mirroring.’ The two artists have experimented with various methodologies that will be brought into convergence by playing upon themes such as reflection, opticality, picturing and contextualization. Using documentary photographs of Liz Deschenes’ current solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery, R. H. Quaytman will produce a ‘chapter’ of at least ten paintings on wood. Deschenes’ involvement with reflection, neutrality and the negative will be in conversation with Quaytman’s habit of bringing photography materially into painting through contextual/historical reflection. Taken together, both methods expand ideas of the positive and negative of the image as picture, and the image as object. Entitled “Horizontal / Vertical Photographs,” Liz Deschenes’ featured series of works are comprised of silver-toned, photograms that are devoid of imagery or immediately recognizable content. The resulting look and function similarly to mirrors. Their gleaming surfaces remind us of the daguerreotype process by which early photographers produced single positive pictures onto copper plate coated with silver. Daguerreotypes are often referred to as ‘mirrors with a memory.’ Each one of Deschenes’ photograms evokes the uniqueness of daguerreotypes – the silver reflectivity and the mercurial viewing experience. In the moment of reception, the viewer activates the work, and becomes an integral part of a temporal and unrecorded representation. Quaytman’s silk-screened paintings on wood, which are grouped into chapters, often use photographs of particular exhibition spaces in an effort to both document the incident that generated the painting and activate a mirroring experience with the viewer. After a specific exhibition moment has elapsed the resulting painting serves as an archive of a particular exhibition history. The chapters function as pictures of the painting’s container. Quaytman has consistently photographed the work of other artists and has, at times, further manipulated that work to generate paintings. For Art Basel she proposes to bring both these strains together. For Quaytman, Deschenes is a perfect subject: a friend and fellow artist whose work and thought incites parallels and symmetries.
Liz Deschenes’ work is currently on view in the ‘Modern Wing Inaugural Installation of Contemporary Photograph,’ curated by Matthew Witkovski, at The Art Institute of Chicago. She was recently included in ‘Color Chart’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and was featured in the exhibition ‘Photography on Photography: Reflections on the Medium since 1960’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has had a solo exhibition at Sutton Lane, London, and participated in group shows at Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York and Sutton Lane, Paris. She teaches at Bennington College, and is a visiting artist at Columbia University, School of Visual Arts. Her work was recently featured in ‘Blind Spot’#36 and is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the CCS Bard Hessel Museum in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
R. H. Quaytman is a painter living in New York City. Between 2005-2008, she acted as the director of Orchard, a collaborative artist run gallery in New York’s Lower East Side reconciling the divergent narratives of movements such as Institutional Critique, Kontext Kunst, and Latin American vanguard practices of the sixties and seventies. Since 2006, she has been on the faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College MFA Program. She received her BA from Bard College after which she attended postgraduate programs in painting at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques in Paris. She was a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She has had solo exhibitions at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York, Galerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva, and China Art Objects, Los Angeles. In December 2008, she had her first solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery. This coming fall, she will have a one-person show at the ICA – Boston.
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