Curated by J.C. Rice
Haven Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition 3, a blend of three dynamic approaches to contemporary photography through the works of Aurelija Cepulinskaite, Iannis Delatolas and Robert Flynt.
Gallery I features the “Nightscapes” of Iannis Delatolas. In these 40” x 40” silver gelatin prints it is not the absence of light, or the contrast between extreme light and extreme darkness that is both unsettling and engrossing (as one might say of Brassai), but rather the subtle permeation of light that Delatolas captures with his extended exposures and darkroom craft.
Delatolas presents us with a post industrial cultural landscape of grief and detachment in whispered and transfused light: a billboard on 125th Street in Harlem featuring an iconic image of a triumphant Muhammad Ali, reduced now to a huckster, no longer jeering at a fallen Sonny Liston but seemingly taunting slouched and distant figures waiting for a late night bus; the grinning Tillie mural of Ashbury Park, split by telephone lines and lit from the right by the XXX Park Cinema; a vacant parking lot save for the light from the attendant’s office-hut, arrows and lines on the ground direct us left to a trailer and a wall of dark windows while above an to the right looms an ambiguous billboard featuring a headless torso of soldier with an M-16.
In Gallery II Robert Flynt re-imagines the human body in relation to its own assumed/perceived structures, as well as to other bodies, spaces and systems through surreal and sensual photo-montages of the nude and ambiguous narrative panels. Mixing silver gelatin, chromogenic and digital media, Flynt combines his own original images of object and figure with superimposed diagrams, anatomy charts, Physogs board game images, furniture illustrations and other found images.
In an untitled component peice (64” x 48”) from his Partial Disclosure series, two abutted vertical triptychs of over life size male nudes in rich yellows and reds stand in a background of black. In this piece, Flynt creates a sense of discordance and harmony between the logical and surreal by overlaying 19th century anatomy charts on the figures and by the disproportionate sizing of each section within each triptych. In another untitled image, made of six panels (36” x 24”), Flynt leaves the enigmatic blending of montage for oblique narrative: a shadowy figure traced with light; a shirted right arm extends to meet, at the wrist, the extended left arm of a shirtless male; a found image in sepia of a shirtless man lying flat on a bench with arms overhead while a clothed man straddles his waist and presses upon his chest; the backside of a figure, nude from the waist down; feet, legs and hands floating in space and grounded; a seemingly found image of a brown leather chaise. We sense the ominous drama of the examiner and subject, the viewer and viewed, but we must construct our own narrative (if we need one).
Aurelija Cepulinskaite’s black and white images in Gallery III capture the frailty, awkwardness and beauty of the teenage body. Comprised of over 40 images, taken in three primary locations (an abandoned building, an empty school house and an abstract cellophane space) over a five year period, Cepulinskaite’s photographs unapologetically explore a subject long forbidden in her native Lithuania. Though unknowingly echoing the works of Jacque Sturges and Sally Man (as their works were unavailable to her), the poignancy and originality of Cepulinskaite’s images demand additional historical context as they also function as metaphor for the artistic awakening and emerging independence of a nation from a totalitarian regime.
The harsh realism of neglect in the setting, the contrasts between light and shadow, backdrops of dingy walls and detritus, empty school hallways, broken dolls and shattered widows create a dissonance between the young nude bodies that is both disquieting and entrancing. Cepulinskaite’s interaction with her subjects is extremely intimate, and the majority of the images are of her sister and her sister’s friend. These close familial ties inform the images to such an extent that Cepulinskaite feels the work to be autobiographical. Their bodies are her body; their fears, vulnerabilities, physical immaturities and beauty become her own.