Constructing Images Post-Photography


Exhibition Dates: Thursday, April 17 – Saturday, May 24, 2014

Artists: Milton Melvin Croissant III (Baltimore, MD), Libby Barbee (Denver, CO), Anthony Baab (Kansas City, MO)

Curated by Conor King (Denver, CO)

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Denver Post review by Ray Rinaldi here

Curatorial Statement
by Conor King

Constructing Images Post-Photography exhibits works from Milton Melvin Croissant III, Libby Barbee, and Anthony Baab to explore how artists, in a variety of mediums, use and are influenced by photography, in a time so saturated by the photograph that we view our world through the filter of the medium and find it difficult to distinguish the difference between what is and is not influenced by photography.

Creating fictitious scenes with 3D modeling software Croissant depicts the aftermath of a house party, pairing digital image making technics with familiar pop-culture subject matter. Barbee collages photographs from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey with paint on paper combining the abundance of online photographs with tropes found in landscape photography and painting. By photographing a folded photograph, printing that image, and repeating the process many times Anthony Baab’s large freestanding photographs printed on aluminum are sculpture and photograph, process and subject matter, and speak to photography’s inherent reproducibility.

Martin Irvine has written, “The ‘photograph’ is an idea, an image category, before it is instantiated in any material form.” In this Post-Photography era we view the world through the filter of photography and artists interact with the idea of the photograph, along with the material of the photograph both printed on paper or as a digital file. This is apparent in the exhibition when Croissant depicts a house party or Barbee a landscape. Their compositions will look like a photograph because most likely their reference to the subject matter is photographic.

Today, many images are made to look photographic even when no lens was used in the making of the image. Such is the case with the images in the series House Party 6 from Milton Melvin Croissant III. Ascetically, the works exhibit a concern for framing, perceptive, scale, color, and tone instep with the traditions of painting and photography. Using open source 3D modeling software the artist creates compositions ascetically similar to photography and at times incorporates appropriated imagery, in the form of movie posters and the projection of Netflix, into his compositions.

To create images that reference the “Hudson River School” and speak to the “Myth of the West”, Libby Barbee’s collages use appropriated photographs of the Earth taken by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey along with acrylics painted on paper. Materials from these two sources are created independent of one another, then cut into varying shapes to make a material library of sorts which Barbee uses to create her compositions.

Anthony Baab’s five foot tall freestanding photographs printed on aluminum exist simultaneously as photograph and object. The artist began constructing these works by folding a photograph, photographing that object, printing the new image, and then repeating the process. By combining photography and sculpture we see the many commonalities between the mediums, such as the organization of space. While the materiality and objecthood of Baab’s work connects it to nineteenth-century photography, these historical roots are balanced with the contemporary concepts found in the subject matter of the images. The process of photographing and rephotographing the same object references appropriation, creates a feedback loop, highlights the reproducibility of photography, and speaks to the prevalence of photography in our Post-Photographic era.

The three artists exhibited in Constructing Images Post-Photography all create artwork that utilize the concepts and ideas of the traditional photograph, yet expand upon those ideas as one must in our over saturated Post-Photographic world. Their artworks exhibit the influence of photography, in and outside the medium, and provide insight into current and future directions related to photography.