Be-hold presents two events in June, an auction on June 16th and a gallery show that runs now until July 16.
The show, "Self in Polaroid" exhibits work by Ellen Carey and Judy Coleman. Both deal with self-presentation using characteristics of the Polaroid medium that are far from the instantaneous possibilities that are often thought to be its principal feature.
In her 2001 series, "Stopping Down" Carey takes a straightforward frontal image of her face and passes it through diminishing exposures in Polaroid. As the images are exposed through successively smaller apertures, her features disappear into the darkness. She has made several series following the same sequence of apertures, some in black and white, some in the additive and subtractive primary colors.
This series has the formal elegance that characterizes much of Carey s work. The face has nothing of the expressive self-revelation that is often the goal of self-portraiture. But Carey is well aware of the implications of each exposure, each color. The series is a reflection on photography as a medium, its dependence on light and time, its technical possibilities and its history. It is also a deeply moving expression of Carey's awareness of her womanhood, her aging, her work as an artist. This will be the first major public exposition of the series, including sequences in black and white and color. This will be the first public presentation of the Polaroid positives to be displayed accompanied by their peel-apart negatives that are usually discarded after the positive emerges. This gives the work another dimension.
Coleman's work from the 1980's begins with Polaroid images of her body. She then works on the surface of the Polaroid, under magnification, puncturing the surface, painting on it, adhering material, so the figure is embedded in a sea of emulsion and material. She then makes gelatin silver enlargements on a grand scale. Many of these images appear in the eponymous 1989 book published by Twin Palms. Aside from the complex visual beauty of the prints, the works stimulate thought about sexual and representational issues, and those about the relationship between photography and other media.
Coleman was a student of Robert Heinecken, and his influence is refracted in her very individual work. He has written this about her work: "Judy Coleman had the unique capacity to actually project her beautiful psychic and physical fragility into her pictures." The show will present several of her large prints. [Also note: the auction offers several unique photographs and books by Heinecken.] This will also be a unique opportunity to see some of the original Polaroids under magnification. Their elaborately transformed surfaces are unique artworks themselves, aside from illuminating the larger prints.
Be-hold's Gallery/Office is at 66 Main Street, #1013, Yonkers NY, one block from the Yonkers Metro North station. Trains leave every ½ hour from Grand Central Station and the trip takes ½ hour. The gallery show will be open by appointment through July 16th.
Be-hold's June 16th Internet auction contains many photographs of high interest, such as a beautiful, framed, large, signed print of Cartier-Bresson's most popular subject, "Rue Mouffetard", and the great Alexander Gardner photograph of Lincoln at Antietam. This Gardner print descended from the family of General Porter, with pencil identifications of the subjects made by Porter's wife.
There are some special groups of prints that are notable. The sale includes a number of photographs by Herbert Matter from his estate that show his experiments with design and motion studies--some unique or very rare. Another group consists of vintage prints from the 1940's by Bill Brandt that come from the estate of Carmel Snow, the influential editor of the American "Harper's Bazaar" and "Vogue". These were the very prints used for publication in the British editions, and have his retouching and hand-written notations, and therefore each is unique. These architectural and scenic studies of historical and cultural significance were selected to show his experiments in composition, which are reflected in the nude studies that followed.
There are a number of one-of-a-kind images and special edition books by Robert Heinecken. A sumptuous Japanese edition of Robert Frank's contact sheets for The Americans is included in the auction, along with the beautiful 21st Editions portfolio of "Flowers of Evil", with photographs by Eiko Hosoe, and a special edition of Carolee Schneemann's "Imaging Her Erotics".
An important group of artful arrangements of objects made through a very early X-ray apparatus was discovered, after the auction was prepared, to be by Elizabeth Fleischmann. Fleischmann is the subject of a small book by Peter Palmquist. This young California woman was considered the most proficient practitioner of the X-ray for medical purposes. She died early from cancer due to exposure to the deadly rays. A few illustrations of some of her work appear in contemporary newspaper accounts, but until now none of her actual work has been known. The group includes a cyanotype portrait of Fleischmann at work in the laboratory. Most significantly, these show her as a sensitive artist who can now be seen to be in the tradition of Anna Atkins, another woman who made artful cyanotypes as a scientist. Her work has a surrealist character, as do several spirit photographs that were found with the Fleischmann group.
All the lots can be seen here: http://www.invaluable.com/catalog/searchLots.cfm?scp=c&catalogRef=36HN6HFP13. The material itself can be viewed at the premises in Yonkers, by appointment. They can be examined along with seeing the gallery show. A well-illustrated catalog can be ordered for $50 for two issues in N. America, $100 elsewhere. The catalog is more than just a sales tool, but something to turn to long after the auction has passed.
Be-hold facilitates and welcomes bids made directly with them, including telephone bidding during the auction. Those who take advantage of this will not be charged the extra premium charged to winning on-line bidders. Be-hold can be reached at 1-914-423-5806 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.