Sebastian Lemm. Courtesy of Michael Mazzeo Gallery.
Peer gallery is pleased to present Editing Nature, an exhibition of photographic works by the New York based, German artist, Sebastian Lemm. Mr. Lemm’s first solo exhibition at the gallery brings together nine large scale color images from his two most recent bodies of work, Subtraction and Schattenseite.
In Schattenseite, Lemm’s subjects are trees at night. By using a witty, multiply and divide approach, he has re-conceptualized his original photographs to create new and unconventional images. Through deft manipulation of his subject using double exposure, artificial light and digital imaging techniques, Lemm’s branches and leaves come alive in the dark in an eerily rhythmic dance of repeating shapes and unexpected patterns. No longer a truthful document, the Schattenseite images are a subtle illusion, undermining our trust in the medium. Rather than a reflection on the natural world, Lemm’s constructions are a reflection of his own inner state.
In his Subtraction series, Lemm again turns to trees, this time having photographed them in their full glory, on summer day in a verdant forest. But once again, Lemm turns the tables by reducing the image to its barest elements, leaving us with what appear to be barren trees in fields of snow. Disconnected lines, shattered forms and the often chaotic entanglement of branches lead us to a sense of loss and isolation. By removing such a large amount of visual information, Lemm forces us to reconsider the landscape, using memory to fill in the blanks.
As Michaël Amy states in his catalog essay, “These are the types of transformations extreme artifice can achieve… Sebastian Lemm’s digitally manipulated photographs raise important questions having to do with man’s impact upon nature….However, Lemm does not aim to advance an environmentalist’s agenda through his work. What is so appealing is that his photographs allow for multiple levels of interpretation.”