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Sharon Core + Dawn Roe at Tracey Morgan Gallery
August 3, 2018 - September 22, 2018
Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works from New York photographer Sharon Core. The artist creates extensively researched explorations of the living still life. In both series exhibited, 1606-1907 and Understory, we see the play between the illusion of a painting and the truth of a photograph set amidst the natural cycles of decay and renewal. This will be Core’s first show with the gallery.
In 1606-1907, begun in 2011 and ongoing, Core references a 300-year span of works from the pictorial convention of the floral still life, ranging from Dutch masters of the 1600s to modernist works of the early 1900s. Core is committed to absolute authenticity in her photographs, cultivating many of the plant and flower species in her works from heirloom rose grafts, bulbs, and seeds. These spectacular photographs evoke both the history which they reference alongside the fragile impermanence of the subjects. The longevity of flora and fauna in art history starkly contrasts with the fleeting nature of the subject itself, and these works live in a lush middle ground between reality and depiction. The resulting constructions are meticulous, vibrant, and somehow both fresh and familiar.
In Understory, Core moves beyond the ordered, meticulous, and formal tabletop arrangements into the environment itself. In lieu of the stark backdrop and tabletop, Core created a landscape inside of a geodesic dome/greenhouse on her land in the Hudson Valley. For this parallel landscape, Core chose a variety of symbolic and psychotropic plants, a fig tree, collections of decaying wood, moss, insects, reptiles and amphibians. Influenced by the 17th century Dutch painter Otto Marseus van Schriek who cultivated a bog for his “forest floor” paintings (or sottobosco), Core created her own quasi-natural location and living studio for photography. The term understory is used to describe the flora and fauna below the canopy of trees in a forest, essentially the low lying vegetation and decaying matter from which all new life emerges. Through her interaction with the chaos of decomposition in these images, she inches closer to our notions of disordered “reality.” She creates these works through curating what she chooses to cultivate and bring into her engineered space, deeply interact- ing with the hidden corners and small pockets of the living studio. We do still see the deep, lush palette of her earlier work, the sharp, cinematic lighting, and the confrontation of our understanding of photography as simply a medium for documentation. The historical implications and tensions of both these and her earlier work wonderfully contrast with the temporal nature of her subjects, creating a captivating narrative, both conceptually and aesthetically.
Sharon Core was born in New Orleans in 1965. She holds a BFA in painting from the University of Georgia and an MFA in Photography from Yale University. Her work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, J. Paul Getty Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Princeton Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, among others. In 2012 Radius Books published Early American, Coreʼs first monograph.
In the Project Gallery:
Dawn Roe | Conditions for an Unfinished Work of Mourning
Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Conditions for an Unfinished Work of Mourning, an exhibition of works from gallery artist Dawn Roe. Conditions for an Unfinished Work of Mourning coincides with the 2-person exhibition, essay, v., at RAMP Gallery for Revolve Studios, including works by Dawn Roe and Leigh-Ann Pahapill.
Roe began this series on the coastal border of France and Spain in the summer of 2017along a network of trails crossing through the Pyrenees Mountains. The initial intention was to closely examine the sites surrounding the specific footpath taken by philosopher and cultural theorist Walter Benjamin during his ill-fated attempt to flee Nazi persecution in 1940. Known as the F-Route (after resistance leader Lisa Fiitko), this trail intersects with related paths of exile traversed by over half a million refugees during The Spanish Civil War and World War II. These overlapping narratives became equally vital to the production of the work.
In this series, Roe produced works using digital photography and video as well as cyanotype. A camera-less technique, cyanotypes record imprints of duration, invariably speaking to both presence and absence at once. Roe chose to employ this technique knowing that she would regularly be working outdoors in sunlight within a particular space of memory and loss. Instead of creating precise documentation of objects or forms as we often see with cyanotypes, Roe chose to document more intimate personal interactions with the space using the photo-sensitized cloth and paper she carried with her each day to record her interactions in relation to both atmospheric and material conditions, engaging with the natural terrain, its rocks, shadows, and vegetation. The resulting works include both original and reproduced cyanotypes that have been digitized and printed to vinyl, or aluminum, and video streams depicting the artist manipulating elements within each scene.