Friday, December 16, 2011

JOHN CHIARA | 'Fort at Lime Point' – New Yorker Review

Goings On About Town: Art

John Chiara

"The San Francisco-based photographer has scaled down his homemade picture-making device from a box the size of a small U-Haul to a more portable, but still far from handheld, contraption. Chiara’s deliberately fallible, low-tech approach allows him to access something elemental and evocative about the photographic process—a far cry from the digitally tweaked perfection of so much current work. The unique images he makes without film or negatives are subject to light leaks, woozy focus, color shifts, and other accidents—all of which add layers of intrigue and confusion to otherwise ordinary landscapes. As foliage and architecture dissolve into abstraction, it becomes increasingly clear that mystery is Chiara’s real subject."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

JOHN CHIARA | 'Fort at Lime Point' – Art Practical Review

John Chiara
Bunker Road at Coastal Trail, Fort Barry Range (Right), 
2011; image on Ilfochrome paper
unique photograph; 33 1/4 x 28 3/4 in. 

"John Chiara’s milky, murky, mesmerizing pictures of Northern California landscapes at Von Lintel Gallery, in New York—1890s artillery nest roads, sun-rich scrub, sloping San Francisco neighborhoods—work slowly and plaintively. Gradually, shrubs, weeds, and mid-century flat-roofed hillside homes give way to fine details and a suffering that suggests estrangement and unresolved events.

Chiara was raised in the 1970s and ’80s in the Bay Area and watched patiently as his father slowly developed prints in a makeshift darkroom inside the family’s garage. Today, he crawls in and out of a large-scale hand-built camera he transports to outdoor locations on a flatbed trailer and prints directly onto paper he cuts out of the camera. The results are jagged, lustrous pictures.

In interviews, Chiara mentions legendary photographer Richard Misrach, a mentor, and Lewis Baltz, a member of the seminal New Topographic photographers, with whom he shares a tendency to list the precise location where photographs were taken.1 However, it is Chiara’s interest in chance that recalls Italian conceptualist Silvio Wolf, whose photochemical Horizons (2003–2009) produced hypnotic, emotional results. It also aligns him with American landscape photographer Bryan Graf and his Wildlife Analysis pictures.

For the patient, Fort at Lime Point incrementally releases a kind of sadness. Chiara’s pictures, which wear his cuts and tape, call to mind found photographs, and the inscrutable way memory works, or grief. There’s a burnt, raw quality here. There’s also eloquence."

Read full review @ Art Practical

The Great Room: New York Magazine | NY Mag. Home Design

The Great Room: Doug Meyer's Redecorated One-Bedroom
The 2,398-Sheet Apartment 
By Wendy Goodman

 VLG Artists featured:
From Left to Right: Yvonne Estrada, Mark Sheinkman, Antonio Murado;
Far Right: Antonio Murado

"When it came time to redecorate his one-bedroom rental, Doug Meyer took no shortcuts, installing piece after piece of colored paper with the help of his brother, Gene. 

Just this past summer, interior designer Doug Meyer’s West Side apartment overlooking the High Line and the Hudson River was submerged in soothing layers of cool greens: chartreuse floors, Kelly walls, upholstered furniture the shade of asparagus. But, as he’s prone to do, Doug got antsy. “I keep one incarnation for several months while new ideas are incubating for the next version,” he says of the apartment where he’s lived for three years.  Along with his brother and design partner, Gene, Doug had long been a bit of a paper fetishist, fascinated by the effects of layering tones and textures. And having grown up in Kentucky with a mother who preferred bright-orange living spaces to the neighbors’ usual eggshell-and-avocado schemes, both brothers are color enthusiasts, to put it mildly. (Says Gene, “It hurts when I see the modern world dressed in black. The right colors can transform anything into something arresting that transcends style.”) So together they began papering over Doug’s bedroom walls with colored sheets of 8½-by-11-inch paper, each digitally printed with one of 223 designs. “The idea was a riff on early wallpapers from the 1400s, which were actually small squares of paper printed with wood blocks,” Gene explains."

Read full article @ NY Magazine

Friday, December 2, 2011

JOHN CHIARA – 'Fort at Lime Point' Daily Serving Review

Laney at 5th, Federal Building, 2011. 
Image on Endura transparency, 
unique photograph 33 1/2 x 28 1/4 inches

"Every photographer has wished, at some point, that they could substitute the lens for their own eye. John Chiara does the next best thing: he crawls inside his homemade camera, the size of a small Uhual trailer, in order to make unique photographs. He may not be able to be the camera's retina, but he can certainly inhabit its brain. The results are monumentally large (Chiara develops the prints in a large sewage pipe), and the intuitive process unpredictable and time-consuming. Chiara's anachronistic imaging system maps the landscape in front of him, laying bare photography's own inner workings in doing so.

For Fort at Lime Point,  John Chiara’s second solo exhibition in New York City at Von Lintel Gallery,  the San Francisco based photographer has crafted some of his most subtle and uneasy work to date. Chiara has long chartered the sublimity of nature and its sometimes uneasy cohabitation with the structures upon its surface; this body of work, however, is anchored to a site of specific historical gravity.

Funston at Cascade, 2011. Image on Ilfochrome paper, unique photograph 33 1/4 x 28 1/4 inches

Fort Lime Point is a little known military base, established on the San Francisco Bay during the Civil War. However, due to a lengthy litigation, the military was unable to begin excavating the site until a year after the war was over, in 1866. They did so by leveling the found with 24,000 pounds of gunpowder, attempting the level a base at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Rubble still exists there, left over from the blast over a century ago. The site is a reminder not only of extreme intervention with natural resources, but a failed attempt at creating a military defense base. It is a telling choice of location, and one that reflects back nicely on Chiara’s medium and process; this site, like the haunting photographs that depict it (and neighboring areas) in this show, is a waking memory of its own flawed history. And like the images, the place decays and morphs in front of our eyes."

Read full review @ Daily Serving