Monday, July 8, 2013

Duane Michals - The Painted Photograph

Duane Michals - Guermantes Way, 2012
Duane Michals - Fred, 2012
At age 81 Duane Michals continues to make work with profundity, insight, humor and magic in a manner that eludes most artists a fraction of his age. His recent show - The Painted Photograph - at the DC Moore Gallery in New York was no exception. 

DC Moore writes: Using 19th-century collodion prints on brown or black lacquered iron as his surface, Michals enriches the original images with oil paint, altering but not entirely obscuring the sitters’ features. Drawing on the principals of early photography and modern painting, especially Surrealism, Michals unites the two disciplines and explores the uncharted territory he identifies between photography and painting. Each 19th-century image is playfully rejuvenated by the addition of vibrant color and the artist’s witty allusions to visionaries such as Picasso and Picabia. In this way, Michals draws our attention to the discrepancy between a popular medium that required little skill—the tintype—and the work of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

A renowned innovator, Michals pushes the limits of photography. In past bodies of work, he has achieved this first by presenting his images in series, at times narrated with text scrawled directly on the print, and then further by embracing each imperfection. In this new work, Michals modifies the images of amateur journeymen, emphasizing the “found object” quality of these portraits of the working class by floating each tintype in spare frames to expose their irregular edges. Michals questions what he describes as “the museum photograph,” or large-format photography, with his small-scale and intimate images. Combining antique, personal objects with hand-painted abstract elements, Michals examines his favorite themes: memory, mortality, love, and loss. The results are curious, humorous, affectionate, and provocative.

There is also a piece on BOMBLOG, Sabine Mirlesse interviews Michals. It's a good read, HERE.
And more, from the New York Social Diary, Jill Krementz takes the reader inside Duane Michals' New York townhouse on East 19th Street, HERE.

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