When Photography Meets Sculpture (Jan. 29 – Mar. 1)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks with Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky about the “Picture/Thing” exhibition, which opens in the Main Gallery of Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Admission to the gallery is free.

Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky and Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff have teamed up to bring us Picture/Thing, an exhibition in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery that explores the relationship between photography and sculpture through the work of ten groundbreaking artists: Kendall Baker, Isidro Blasco, Rachel Harrison ’89, Leslie Hewitt, Jon Kessler, Anouk Kruithof, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Erin Shirreff, and Letha Wilson.

These ten artists create hybrid objects that challenge and expand traditional definitions of photography and sculpture. The objects in the exhibition take myriad forms, as each artist has a unique approach to material, technology, and presentation.

Upon entering the gallery, one is greeted by the work of Erin Shirreff. “Hers are digital prints that have been placed in somewhat traditional frames,” says co-curator Ms. Rudensky. “But when you look closer you discover this whole other reality. For one thing the paper is not flat. It’s three dimensional, and what she’s capturing are sculptures, or forms that are very reminiscent of mid-century sculpture, so she’s playing with this lateral movement back and forth between photography and sculpture.”

Anouk Kruithof, “Façade,” 2014, inkjet prints, plexiglass, polystyrene, cellophane foil, bricks, 55.5 x 43.3 x 39.4 inches, courtesy of the artist and Boetzelaer | Nispen.

Turning around one sees a free-standing “picture/thing” by Anouk Kruithof. Its styrofoam blocks and iridescent glass glisten. “It’s a very mysterious piece,” says Ms. Rudensky. “In part because as you walk around it, the view and the content change dramatically. Because of the play of light that happens with the reflectedness of the materials she’s using, there’s this revelatory experience that continues as you circumnavigate the piece.”

Venturing further into the gallery, one encounters the work of Mariah Robertson. “She’s someone who works with traditional photographic processes,” says Ms. Rudensky. “She makes darkroom prints in a time when very few people are making darkroom prints, but then does these wild things with them by making 164 foot photographs that are suspended in space.”

Picture/Thing transforms the gallery into a world of rare objects. Each artist’s work is stunningly different from the next.

While most of the artists hail from Brooklyn and Harlem, their work speaks to a far-reaching trend in contemporary art.

“The idea for the exhibition came together rather quickly, in part because the phenomenon is very much there and present,” says Ms. Rudensky. “Artists are looking for new ways of dealing with traditional media.”

Picture/Thing will be on display in the Main Gallery of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, March 1, 2015.

Interested to hear Ms. Rudensky speak in more detail about the exhibition? She and co-curator Jeffrey Schiff will give a talk at 5:30pm this Thursday, January 29 as part of the exhibition’s opening reception.