Interiors

17 July - 30 August 2014

Flowers Gallery
529 West 20th Street
New York 10011
flowersgallery.com

Flowers is pleased to announce the group photography exhibition Interiors, featuring contemporary photographers Tina Barney, Julie Blackmon, Edmund Clark, Jacqueline Hassink, Nadav Kander, Jason Larkin, Lori Nix, Robert Polidori, Hrvoje Slovenc, Richard Tuschman, and Shen Wei. The exhibition will run from July 17th through August 30th with a reception on July 17th, 6-8pm.

The exhibition focuses on fabricated or authentic interior spaces and explores how they shape the photographers’, the occupants’, and the viewers’ perceptions of the spaces, often reflecting emotional states.

An interior space can create an intimate, insular environment where one may feel safe and productive, protected from outside elements and influences. Yet such a sheltered environment can also create an uneasy feeling of being caged, isolated, or trapped internally. At first appearing to be a secure and welcoming retreat, being “inside” can soon repel or deceive, leaving terrifying memories - ones that are too frightening to remember or forget.

These photographs tell the story of the current occupants or those who have left them long behind - including prisoners, children, and royalty - offering historical and anthropological insight into those who once occupied – or were imagined to occupy - that space.

Tina Barney’s photographs come from a sense of familiarity, as they are of people and places known to her. Shot in affluent areas of Long Island, New York City, and New England, Barney presents her well-to-do sitters often within lavishly decorated and posh interiors. The resulting images create a sense of detachment among those depicted, leaving Barney to explain,“this is the best we can do. This inability to show physical affection is in our heritage.”

In work inspired by Dutch and Flemish genre painters, Julie Blackmon examines the stressful nature of domestic life and the relationship between past and present in the domestic landscape. She combines fantasy and reality in order to visualize the “mythic amidst the chaos.”

In Edmund Clark’s works from his series Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out, the idea of home as interior is explored with his depiction of the camps in which the detainees have been held, in contrast to the residences where former detainees now find themselves trying to rebuild their lives. His disorientating narrative evokes the psychological after-effects on these men.

In her Arab Domains series Jacqueline Hassink collaborated with Mrs. Al Kaylani, the chairwoman of the Arab International Women’s Forum in London, to gain access to the board rooms and homes of some of the most powerful women in the world. According to curator Charlotte Cotton, Hassink’s photographs “have a seemingly effortless simplicity to them” and as a viewer “we intuit that she commands the best vantage point upon her chosen subjects, and overcomes all technical obstacles, in order that her subjects appear entirely revealed to us.”

Nadav Kander’s images of various motel rooms around the world bring up a feeling of isolation and a fleeting sense of intimacy. One could imagine that the rooms depicted here are used for brief sexual encounters, drugs, or temporary respite for a weary traveler hoping to escape a mad world.

Jason Larkin focuses on the museums in Egypt which are meant to archive and decipher material objects of the human race, attempting to obtain a greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Within museum walls, curators are able to use space, materials and design, in order to re-create events, celebrate heroes, and display a grandiose sense of history.

Lori Nix creates her subject matter to photograph dangerous and catastrophic scenes. Through models and dioramas, she imagines a future city affected by climate change. The rooms are devoid of human existence and overrun by flora and fauna, evoking a fearful but visually fascinating scenario.

Whereas Nix fabricates her scenes of natural disasters, photographer Robert Polidori seeks his out in his series on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans in 2005. Polidori has contrasted this decimated and impoverished area with the lush and opulent rooms of the Palace of Versailles, a subject matter he has revisited for much of his career. His interest is in cultural evidence expressed through habitat and the idea of interiors as “memory theaters.”

In photographs that New Yorker critic Vince Aletti calls “memorable and unsettling,” Hrvoje Slovenc depicts interiors in which one part is decorated for S&M activities. It is not the S&M aspect that interests Slovenc, it is the contrast of conventional living spaces with the spaces that are “dressed up” for the residents’ intimate acts. This difference allows him to portray domestic spaces as spaces that resemble sets for a movie or a play. He includes theatrical elements in these shots where chairs or a TV screen symbolize the audience, an occasional appearance of people resembles actors, and the arrangement of the domestic vs. performance space represents the stage.

Richard Tuschman also employs the creation of an interior space for his photographs. Tuschman builds dioramas inspired by the paintings Edward Hoppera and their ability “to address the mysteries and complexities of the human condition”. Combining the fabricated interiors with the figures which are added later offers Tuschman a great deal of control over the environment that he is building, thus allowing him more influence over the viewers’ response to it.

When Shen Wei returned to his hometown of Shanghai in 2008 he found himself searching for the last pieces of sincerity in a dynamic city. Photographing inside his grandmother’s apartment Shen discovered a table covered with various objects such as faded pictures of grandchildren tucked under a piece of broken glass and her tea cups safely guarded under a silk handkerchief. Beside that table, his nephew pensively stares from the bed. Here, Shen fondly clings to a childhood that has passed.