Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Avedon:Women, Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles - First solo exhibition of Richard Avedon's work since 1976

“Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation.  
Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Douglas M. Parker Studio.”

 In the large front gallery space of Gagosian Gallery, we see larger -than –life black and white portraits by  Richard Avedon - he draws us into his world of fashion photography with famous subjects including actresses Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot as well as a few images of his ‘In the American West’ series. Entitled ‘Women’, the exhibition covers the range of Avedon’s 60 year career portraying  many facets of femininity with subjects ranging from celebrities and models to friends and family. 
While more than 100 silver gelatin prints are the focus of the show, there is also a small gallery room dedicated to his unprinted color work - transparencies displayed in wall-mounted light boxes, from the Richard Avedon Foundation’s archives. These small jewels are a fascinating composite of his many familiar subjects from modeling, film, politics, music and pop culture. The thread that ties Avedon's work together is the quality of the unique character he captures from each of his subjects. His are not simply beautifully photographed women – they tell a story about the essence and personality of the subject, running the gamut of emotion whether it be through recording movement of the female form, using light to enhance the fabric or style of dress, or dramatically juxtaposing women with animals as he did in his iconic photographs of model Dovima dressed in a Dior gown with elephants and Nastassja Kinski photographed lying naked intertwined with a huge snake. His distinctively creative and sensitive 'eye' is highlighted in his controversial ‘In the American West’ series.  This series photographed in the mid to late 1970’s, portrayed ‘ordinary’ folks – miners, housewives, farmers, truckers, drifters and others. Avedon traveled through the west through state fairs, rodeos, carnivals, coal mines, oil fields and prisons seeking out untold stories of people whose lives were challenged by hardship. Though Avedon was criticized as ‘exploitive’ of his subjects, his portraits convey a multi-dimensionality that pulls at our sense of humanity – photographs that reveal an authenticity, and an unmistakeably familiar quality of human suffering. ‘Women’ is on view through Saturday December 21st.

“Photographs by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation.  Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Douglas M. Parker Studio.”

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