Casey Kaplan is pleased to present a new series of photographs by Jeff Burton, Portraits, an inclusive look at his career photographing actors, models, filmmakers, and other diverse figures, including: Gore Vidal, Sasha Grey, Kenneth Anger, Danica Patrick, Vincent Gallo, Dasha Zhukova, and Morrissey.
Burton’s artwork continues to derive from his profession as a photographer. Previously, shooting stills in the adult film industry, Burton investigated its stage through a voyeuristic point of view. His works portrayed nuances between reality and fantasy, narrating the underlying drives of Los Angeles’ cultural environment, in an industry fabricating desires and expectations. Burton’s recent assignments, in such fields as fashion and celebrity portraiture, reveal that these contexts run on the same drives as the adult film industry. The stories his new works tell expand into a larger cultural arena, yet his investigations remain the psychosexual, the meeting of art and commerciality, and the rawness and refinement of physical desire and lust.
In these expanded arenas, Burton’s role is more of a director, but his viewpoint still realizes the periphery—a lack of direct eye contact and obstructed viewing through reflections in glass and mirrors, for example. In projects for Burton’s clientele (French Vogue, Cocky Boys, Tom Ford, Wrangler Europe, Vogue Hommes International, Naughty America, Colt Studio Group, Yves Saint Laurent, The New York Times, Hustler, Domus, Kris Van Assche, Vanity Fair, and Fantastic Man), he often acknowledges the cultural industries and their environments as a set (literally at times by shooting through its constructions as such), and his access to cultural producers and pop icons.
Through Burton’s gaze, iconic individuals and lesser-known talents share the same stage; a casual Diane Kruger stares out, at a removal, from the camera’s lens, Bret Easton Ellis is hidden by dark sunglasses and silhouetted by the LA skyline at dusk, and Ricky Martinez stands heroically in a wheat field, bare-chested and dressed as a cowboy. In addition, figures from Burton’s personal world and interests—a pregnant friend (who styles many of his fashion assignments) and his childhood obsession and crush, Stella Stevens—layer intimacy with more recognizable figures, as Chi Chi Larue, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Ford, and Jeremy Renner.
Portraits foretells that Burton’s straddling of art and commerciality will continue to blur. The differences between the porn world and that of fashion, art, and other pop realms, are in many ways seamless, as they continue to be introduced, commingled, and cataloged into his artworks. As his rolodex grows (a precursor in a previous work—Burton shot Hollywood super agent Sue Menger’s rolodex) Burton’s subjects become more peculiar, fascinating, wretched, or sweet, in respect to his or her company.
This exhibition is Jeff Burton’s seventh solo show with the gallery. Burton will be included in the upcoming exhibition, “I want to see how you see” at the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, opening later in April 2010. Recent exhibitions include: “Wall Rockets: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha,” at the Flag Art Foundation and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; “Into Me/Out of Me,” at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, LIC, NY, which traveled to KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany and to MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea), Rome, Italy.