Friday, September 19, 2008

Demetrius Oliver (UPenn MFA 2004), Observatory D’Amelio Terras, through Sept 27th, 2008.

Demetrius Oliver’s current exhibition Observatory at D'Amelio Terras receives four stars in this week’s Time Out New York and is noted as the Village Voice’s Best in Show.

Time Out New York / Issue 677 : Sep 19–25, 2008
Review by T.J. Carlin
Demetrius Oliver, Observatory
D’Amelio Terras, through Sept 27

If epistemology were a visual rather than a philosophical study, it might take the form of Demetrius Oliver’s photographs. In his show, careful looking is balanced with a persistent consideration of the act of observation itself in a series of works that, through their subject matter, touch upon everything from the history of still life to self-portraiture.

Excepting an animated short and a slide show, the majority of the pieces are square, mounted prints taken with a fish-eye lens. The method is uniquely appropriate here, serving as a literal and metaphorical way of uniting myriad subjects, all of which relate to ways of seeing, whether through a telescope, a camera or the painstaking process of observational painting.

There are two main series: “Firmament” consists of interiors, while in “Ember,” lightbulbs hovering in darkness have those same interiors projected onto them. In the particularly striking Firmament #26, the artist bends over a stone fireplace with a poker, tending a pile of electric lamps.

A camera looms on a tripod between this scene and the viewer, as if to remind us of the limits of this particular reality. The photos are digitally altered and sometimes look as if they have been subject to years of water damage. The end result is a painterly surface hearkening to the sumptuous tones and subtle light of Chardin.

Oliver’s use of light and the camera as both medium and subject underscores the self-reflexivity in his oeuvre. The strength of these pieces is that they both show and tell, and are fulfilling both conceptually and aesthetically.

-T. J. Carlin

Demetrius Oliver reviewed in the New York Times (Sep 08)

Through You: Contemporary photos at Penn

Samaras, Lucas
Set Up 34, 2003
Pure pigment on paper
60 x 57.2 cm, ed. 1/5
© Lucas Samaras, courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York

Check out Libby Rosof's awesome recent post from the Philly "artblog"...

an exceprt from Libby's post:
"Through You exhibits 23 masters of photography showing 56 works, at the Charles Addams Fine Arts Gallery. In the nearby hallway is some student work reflecting the influence of these photographers; this youthful work also is worth a look. The two shows are up through Oct. 24.

The photographers deliver a multi-faceted essay on reality and unreality, subverting and manipulating the documentary voice of photography for their own purposes.

Although the exhibit has a mix of familiar and unfamiliar work, it still delivers surprises in how the photos talk to each other. The exhibit also serves as a reminder that photography is always asking questions about what's real and what it means to see something framed through a glass lens."


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

American Photo On Campus Student Showcase

Su-Yen Chae, 2007.

"In our November issue we invited readers to submit photographs for a prospective all-student issue, not at all convinced we would get enough work to do it. We got plenty, and then some. This issue’s Student Portfolios section is 22 pages long, our biggest ever. Remarkable work came in from all corners of the country, with a particularly impressive showing coming from the University of Pennsylvania."
-American Photo on Campus, 2007

to view portfolios.
Former students represented:
Su-Yen Chae, Brent Wahl, Milana Braslavsky, Shayna McConville, Francesca Pfister, Chia-Lin Chen.