November 15th – December 30th, 2007
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Bing Wright. The show will combine two distinct bodies of work that each gracefully captures the artist’s interest in the history of the medium. Through Wright’s formal process of distilling very specific subject matter, both the “Rose” and “Silver Print” series are a response to how photography has evolved aesthetically and technologically. While the two series are disparate, in each there is an investigation of the formal aspects of the medium – with references to the silver print and other photographic processes – but also wrestles with photography’s long history of manipulating reality into abstraction.
Initially inspired by Edward Steichen’s “Heavy Roses, Voulangis, France 1914” photograph, Wright began taking pictures of roses in 1996. Though he abandoned the subject for almost ten years, Wright returned to it in 2005 creating large scale black and white photographs as reductive tableaus that now make-up the “Rose” series. Rendered in a seductive gray scale, roses are shown upended, decomposed or missing from their vase. The iconic beauty of the rose is curiously dissected in each composition and yet in Wright’s playful investigation, they are refreshed. These are not clichéd portraits of beauty. Wright’s roses are distinct, unveiling splendor in both life and decay.
The “Silver Print” pictures were similarly inspired by a historical precedent. Man Ray’s “Dust Breeding (Elevage de Poussiere) 1920” informs the series wherein Wright randomly laid silver leaf on a sheet of paper, photographed it, and then generated a traditional silver print. Once developed, Wright then applies silver leaf directly onto the surface of the photograph. The resulting image laments, in a way, the end of an era in photography, the displacement of silver based photography for digital. Over time, these flecks of silver age and tarnish against the print, highlighting the developments made in the photographic industry. It, as with the “Rose” series, subtly comments on the binary relationship between loss and life.