Temporary Storage is proud to present its first exhibition of photographs and video by Stephen Lipuma. “Scene Unseen” is comprised of several series of color photographs documenting his travels through Catalonia, the American west coast, and the quiet margins of South Brooklyn. Sightseeing with a contemplative approach, Lipuma’s subtle investigations into the details of the everyday, the local, reveal the gestures in between acts. The series examines the moments in which unsuspecting subjects feel liberated from the attention of the casual observer.
The artist’s recent travels through Catalonia broadcast scenes from a town that is accustomed to catering to the tourist industry. The stands at the market overflow with remnants of a provincial lifestyle, awaiting the arrival of the next wave of visitors in pursuit of a token of authenticity. More images reveal the empty landmarks and scenic postcard views as shells of bustling seasonal activity, photographed by busloads of passersby for decades. The photos in “Catalonia” were taken after the tourists have left, when these tableaus are desolate before the next tour group arrives to discover it all over again.
The “West Coast” series documents the landscapes of small towns dotting the American west coast. The landscapes, either with a single person or devoid of people entirely, highlight the barren landscapes of the California deserts. The midday sun is brutal and isolating, a realist perspective of the sunny California skies. The mythic American west is recalled by the painterly feel of the images’ skies, trapping the images somewhere halfway between documentary photos and daydream.
Lipuma’s images of an aging Brooklyn neighborhood serve as portraits of abandoned storefronts and longtime residents, dignifying them without sentimentality. The weathered neighborhoods document another side of an otherwise quickly gentrifying part of New York City; they resemble a beach town or seasonal destination. The vacant scenes in the photographs and Lipuma’s short film, “Chinese Clothesline”, characterize the last outskirts of Brooklyn that have yet to be gentrified.
Stephen Lipuma is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His photography has been featured in numerous publications and periodicals. He is based in Brooklyn.