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Michael Eastman, Interiors

Barry Friedman Ltd.
515 West 26th Street, 212-239-8600
May 7 - June 30, 2009
Reception: Thursday, May 7, 5:30 - 8 PM
Web Site

Italy Cuba Vanishing America Urban Luminosity

NEW YORK- Barry Friedman ltd. is pleased to present “Interiors”, an exhibition of digital C-prints by the internationally acclaimed American photographer Michael Eastman. The exhibition, Eastman¹s first at Barry Friedman Ltd., will debut his new series of historical interiors, “Italy.” Also on view will be photographs from his three previous series “Cuba”, “Vanishing America,” and “Urban Luminosity,” each encompassing themes of architecture, historical preservation, seclusion, and monumentality.

Shot primarily in Milan and Venice, Michael Eastman¹s series “Italy” depicts grand interiors retaining their original Italian Renaissance decorative motifs. These homes have been virtually untouched for generations and maintain a haunting atmosphere of neglect and decay while serving as reliquaries of past generations. The interiors recall the grandeur of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, and the haunting feeling of abandonment is offset by the rich saturated tones and painterly quality of the work.

In Eastman¹s “Cuba” series, the interiors have a similar atmosphere of neglect and decay, while maintaining the vibrant and bold tones of the Caribbean islands. The works mimic the historical past of the islands, and the fading wall paint resembles the Roman frescoes of Pompeii. The wall moldings are in disrepair and reveal the brick infrastructure beneath, and repeating architectural elements create a sense of infinity within the frame.

“Urban Luminosity” exemplifies architectonic alchemy. Reflections on metallic brick walls, warped perspectives on a storefront window, and dramatic façade lighting encourages us to examine our relationship with our man-made environs. The union between common elements of the city and their sensuous surfaces, lights, and colors combine to create a world both recognizable and removed.

“Vanishing America” is a haunting portrait of small-town America and through its depiction of homes in disrepair, streets emptied of pedestrians, and businesses devoid of customers, it allows for a visual depiction of the simplicity and eerie calm permeating these small town portraits.

Eastman¹s photographs are included in numerous public and private collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Michael Eastman was born in1947 and lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. Originally a commercial photographer, he has had a fine arts career for more than thirty years. Eastman has been a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant, and has been published in Time, Life, and the New York Times.

Accompanying the show is Michael Eastman¹s hardcover book “Vanishing America.” Eastman will be available to sign the book at the opening reception.
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