For three years, from New York to Berlin by way of Los Angeles and Venice, Joel Grey has made photographs in which he is seduced by color, texture, and mysterious urban tableaux. His subjects are industrial sites, abandoned buildings, graffiti, wall art—transformed into a poignant homage to beauty.
I came upon these images in a somewhat random way, usually accompanied by a question mark—`What is and why does this insist on my attention?’ Sometimes simply detail, light, texture and color were compelling. Often there were bits and pieces of things, transformed and rearranged by time. I have always been drawn to stuff once cherished, lived in, then left. Stuff I refer to as the beauty of bruised and broken things.
Tiny details are enlarged almost to abstractions. Insignificant bits of detritus become revelations that delight the eye. The work is often painterly, bringing to mind Bacon, Rothko, Cornell, Tuttle and Dine, all of whom have greatly influenced the photographer.
The images were published last month in a 180-page Steidl/Göttingen monograph designed by Sam Shahid. This exhibition presents 17 of the key images, selected by Grey to be printed in gorgeous pigment ink processes; most are 46×34”, in editions limited to 7.