A survey exhibition of photographs by Kevin Landers, this show features images taken over the past seventeen years. Hailed as an astute observer of downtown life, Landers displays a distinct talent for “finding fleeting poetry amid urban detritus” and “inspiration in sights usually overlooked or ignored.” His work has ranged from impromptu portraits of New York City’s Finest to snapshots of casually explicit female exhibitionists. In his studio, he has photographed battered collection cups lent by panhandlers, sludge puddles scooped from the sidewalk, and tattered plastic bags elegantly tangled in bare branches. On the street, he has captured a humorously modernist grid of discarded cigarette butts, a haughty arrangement of rotisserie chickens, and the expressionistic sweep of a cheap plastic broom cutting through a torrent of muddy water. Over forty images of various scale from the last decade and a half will be on view in the gallery, mixing chronologies and formal strategies. Consistent throughout is the sincerity and “iconoclastic wit” with which he has approached his practice, the latter being the force that, as one critic has observed, “separates these images.from the mountains of pretentious street scenes that photographers have taken ever since Eggleston stationed himself on the streets of Memphis in the 1960s.” Barbara Pollack, Art In America
Presented together, Landers’ photographs provide a compendium of the joyously idiosyncratic moments once pervasive in urban settings. These moments have become increasingly elusive as our contemporary cityscapes grow ever more sanitized and generic under pressure from sociopolitical and economic forces. Landers has always given currency to things of questionable value. His poetics of the obsolete, outmoded, and discarded serve as a timely antidote to the encroaching threat of optical amnesia and an affecting homage to the city he calls home.