Jackson Fine Art is excited to kick off the fall season with two exemplary solo exhibitions by Dutch artist Ruud van Empel and Atlanta native Carolyn Carr. In addition, we will have an intimate installation by the New York-based collaborative artist team of Kahn and Selesnick on display in the viewing room. As we participate in Atlanta Celebrates Photography during the month of October, we’re pleased to present these four artists with disparate origins and processes, but who share the distinction of creating innovative and original work. All three exhibitions comment on the photograph’s shifting narrative potential in the new world of contemporary art.
Ruud van Empel’s surreal digital collage and Carr’s new series of sculptural clay vessels and landscape photography tell very different stories, but both reflect on the role of images in constructing identity and organizing nature. Kahn and Selesnick’s Truppe Fledermaus will be displayed in the viewing room, further actualizing the exhibition’s incisive glimpse of worlds real and imagined. The show opens Friday, September 19th with a reception from 6-8 pm, and a reception with Kahn and Selesnick will be held the morning of October 16th at 11 am. On Saturday, October 18th, at 1:30 pm, Carolyn Carr will give an artist talk to complement Vestibule.
Renowned Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel’s work reveals to us the possibilities of fusing art and technology. Trained as a graphic designer, van Empel creates rich digital photographs that are manipulations of people and places as seen in his imagination. He invents these images by shooting a variety of models in his studio and combing through his native Dutch forests to find the perfect leaves, branches and waters to photograph. He digitally dissects and reconstructs these images to create his fantastical, photo-realistic worlds and portraits. With his most recent work, he continues the exploration of lost innocence in a digital age present in his earlier series. These pieces directly interrogate the dichotomy of appearance and reality, with an eye to the demands of constructed, “online” identity and the disconnection that it engenders.
Ruud van Empel was born in 1958 in Breda, The Netherlands. His work has been exhibited globally at prestigious galleries and institutions including Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden; Groninger Museum, The Netherlands; MoPA, USA, and placed in numerous important permanent collections including The Sir Elton John Collection, The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
In Vestibule, Carolyn Carr places photographs that have been printed and altered through traditional and unconventional methods in context with sculptural objects in situ. Vestibule is the second in Carr’s series of installations to address and embody interior spaces as a ‘still life.’ Carr describes these room-sized installations as “fictitious interiors of quiet contemplation.”
Carr made a pilgrimage to writer Flannery O’Connor’s family farm, Andalusia, in rural Georgia in 2012. Her aim was to observe and photograph the place where O’Conner had created rooms for her characters. She also drew inspiration from a nearby town called Milledgeville, that was once home to an asylum housing women suffering from mental distortions. The institution, now shuttered, was criticized for locking up women who simply questioned and lived beyond the norms of their time. Coincidentally, the clay Carr used to create her initial series of hand-built vessels was sourced from Lizella, Georgia (also near Andalusia). Another critical facet of Carr’s work process involved two self-imposed summer residencies in the North Carolina mountain range. In Appalachia, she learned pottery techniques on the wheel that had been passed down generationally. As a contemporary artist raised in the South, learning traditional craft techniques in this artistically rich area raised new questions for Carr around her own cultural identity. Carr continued photographing the landscape from whence the clay originated, focusing on peripheral angles, rather than typical points of view. The sculptures, once completed, were formally arranged in the studio and photographed. Some images are straight prints; some images were printed as inkjet negatives and taken into the darkroom to be double exposed with the traditional negatives of the landscapes. Other photographic prints were over-painted with drawings of the vessels.
The vessels are surrogates for content. The photographs are an examination of perspective. The arrangement of the work in a pale pink room serves as a document of inquiry, a place of labor, and is a decidedly feminine space. Artist Craig Drennan has described it as “[having] an otherworldly feel, like props for a dystopian film. They seem old and futuristic at the same time.”
Carolyn Carr received her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (with a focus on Photography), she is a native Atlantan known for her compelling abstract paintings of interwoven curvilinear lines derived from captured graffiti signatures. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries including Gavlak (New York, Palm Beach), Artists Space (New York), 10 Chancery Lane (Hong Kong), National Museum of Women (Washington D.C.), the Contemporary, David Heath and Fay Gold (Atlanta). Recently she completed a site-specific Flux.org work entitled Tomorrow is Another Day. In addition to her studio practice Carr is on a number of institutional boards as well as being an activist for local community and political organizations.
Jackson Fine Art is also excited to present a special exhibition of work by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick, featured speakers for Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Kahn & Selesnick are a collaborative artist team who have been working together since they met at art school at Washington University in St. Louis in the early 1980s. Both were born in 1964, in New York City and London, respectively. They work primarily in the fields of photography and installation art, specializing in fictitious histories set in the past or future. These may include: documentary-style panoramic and square photographs that combine absurdist fantasy and bogus anthropology; elaborately crafted artifact, costumes and sculpture, often constructed of unlikely materials such as bread or fur; painting and drawings ranging from large scale works on plaster to pages of conceptual doodling. Their current work features the recreation of the famous Truppe Fledermaus's Memory Theatre of 1932 with its full complement of Batfolk, Greenmen, Rope-Slingers, and Death-Dancers in all their Carnivalesque glory. Kahn & Selesnick have participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide and have work in over 20 collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, they have published 3 books with Aperture Press—Scotlandfuturebog, City of Salt, and Apollo Prophecies.