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PHOTOGRAPHY
from Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery

Sam Contis
David Gilbert
Mark McKnight
Demetrius Oliver
Barry Stone

 

The gallery is pleased to present the work of five artists whose photographic practices are pushing the medium in new directions. Their work expands upon a rich American tradition with a deeply humanist drive. With an eye towards the physicality of objects, bodies, interiors, and landscapes, each of these artists uses the camera to translate the world around them, expanding our ideas about intimacy, emotion, and connection.

background image: David Gilbert, Seascape, 2017

 

 

BARRY STONE

 

CODED IMAGES

Throughout his career, Austin-based artist Barry Stone has approached photography with a philosopher’s eye. What makes a photograph a photograph? What makes something “true”? What is conveyed by an image? The lens of the camera is just the first of many transformative photographic tools that Stone employs in his practice.

For KLAUSGALLERY.cloud, we present several pieces from Stone’s ongoing series of “data-bent” pictures, where the digital code of an image is manipulated to change its appearance through purposeful tampering and by chance digital glitches. Colors and composition shift, with schisms and interruptions becoming central to the reading of the work.

The four images presented below are photographs that were taken in the Pacific Northwest, near where Stone’s father lives, and which were subsequently data-bent.

The glitches in the code create distortions that allude to the role of chance and multiple possibilities in the creation of narratives. In the case of Disappearing Act… the glitch entirely removed Stone’s daughter from the picture (the original image and the altered version appear above).

Disappearing Act_DSF0269_2.tif, July 4, 2019, Birch Bay, Washington, 2019-2020
archival inkjet print
34 × 51 inches (86.36 × 129.54 cm)
edition of 3 plus II AP

Cloud and Mist DSCF6427_4 Outside Blaine, Washington, 2015-2020
archival inkjet print
34 × 51 inches (86.36 × 129.54 cm)
edition of 3 plus II AP

Solo Rock DSCF6263_4.tif, Birch Bay, Washington, 2015-2020
archival inkjet print
34 × 51 inches (86.36 × 129.54 cm)
edition of 3 plus II AP

DRIFT

“Drift” is a catalog of images, mailed page-by-page to the artist’s friends and family across the country. In this video, Stone leafs through a book created by assembling the mailed pages in sequence.

MUSIC FROM AUSTIN

Porch Swing Orchestra

Since 2018, Barry Stone has posted site-specific musical recordings and accompanying images at PorchSwingOrchestra.org. Mostly recorded on his front porch in Austin, Texas, PSO has occasionally traveled to such far-flung places as Spiral Jetty and coastal Maine. The website has no archive, meaning that each week a new image and recording displaces the previous upload. Featuring guitar-playing, ambient sound, and collaborations with other artists, the project is an exercise in time, place, and impermanence.

 

Visit the site

 

 

DEMETRIUS OLIVER

 

FORCES OF NATURE

Demetrius Oliver has consistently incorporated photography, video, and projection into his multimedia practice, which also includes painting, sculpture and installation work. Oliver’s interest lies in the natural world and the human impulse to experience, observe and scientifically document its phenomena. Utilizing pedestrian objects from his studio and everyday life, Oliver delves into the aesthetics of experimentation, at times using the camera to transform items such as whistles, umbrellas, coal, and wind turbines into planetary atmospheres, moon-landings, and galactic charts. Oliver adeptly maneuvers between science and observation through materials and metaphor into the prosaic.

Oliver’s first show at Klaus von Nichtssagend in 2018, titled Pneumato, included paintings and sculptures as well as an installation of industrial fans pointed at two monitors playing images of spinning wind turbines. A photographic series titled Tornadic lined the wall of the entry hall: images of Oliver’s studio floor seen through a rubber tire. The ocular shape and shifting horizon line alluded to a space rover’s viewpoint, or the eye of a hurricane.

Oliver juxtapose[s] the lowly with the ethereal, stretching the viewer’s imagination from the earthbound to the heavens.

Jenny Hirsh, Art in America, May 2014

CANICULAR

Curator John Carpenter does a walkthrough of the 2014 show at
The Print Center in Philadelphia

EMBER

Oliver’s “Ember” photographs are created by projecting slide images onto light bulbs. Both the images projected and the bulbs used in the making of the photographs are taken from hotel rooms and apartments Oliver has occupied. The resulting forms Oliver captures are ethereal and other-worldly, and suggest camera obscura as well as the phenomenon of light and its symbolic phase transitions through matter, lived spaces, and time.

Demetrius Oliver, Ember XII, 2020
digital chromogenic print
29 × 43 ¾ inches (73.66 × 111.13 cm)
edition of 3 plus I AP

Demetrius Oliver, Ember XI, 2020
digital chromogenic print
29 × 43 ¾ inches (73.66 × 111.13 cm)
edition of 3 plus I AP

Demetrius Oliver, Ember X, 2020
digital chromogenic print
29 × 43 ¾ inches (73.66 × 111.13 cm)
edition of 3 plus I AP

 

 
 

DAVID GILBERT

EPIC INTIMACY

David Gilbert’s work takes the private and personal and makes it public and celebratory. Working in his Los Angeles studio, Gilbert paints vivid backdrops and pieces together scrappy sculptures which activate his studio space theatrically. Using evocative lighting – whether the sunset creeping in through a cracked door or a bare electric bulb in a cardboard box – Gilbert’s intimately imagined scenes are presented as grand tableaux, as much in debt to history painting as studio photography.

Gilbert’s photographs have changed the way I see ordinary objects and the way I conceptualize the “population explosion” of cute junk and poignant detritus crowding my ambles—fantasy peregrinations as well as urban hikes. Position a minor object, his photographs tell us; tease the fabric near you into a hieratic flatness it didn’t know it was capable of… All you need do is freeze the accident, not by beating it up but by sitting down and asking it to cooperate, to stop trembling. The accident—the photographed tableau—will reward you by going Ingres on you, or going Vermeer.

from "In the Way of Stars," Wayne Koestenbaum on the art of David Gilbert, Artforum, January 2019

Inside David Gilbert’s
Los Angeles studio

 

In David Gilbert’s studio, odds and ends appear and reappear through the revolving door of his many temporary sculptural constructions. Process, mutability, and the space of solitary play are central subjects. Recycled pieces of fabric, drapery, scraps of wood, wire, cut cardboard and paper, other photos, painted motifs, yarn, cord, ceramics, and stickers come and go, speaking not of Michelangelo but of a latter-day tween-on-a-budget twist on Giacometti’s emaciated sickly figures—suburban sprawl and craft-store spree meet creeping apocalyptic bleakness on the one hand, and tenderness with a sweet attention to detail on the other.

Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, BOMB Magazine, 2017

David Gilbert, Arise!, 2017
ink jet print
12 ½ × 8.3 inches (31.75 × 21.08 cm)
edition 2 of 5 plus I AP

David Gilbert, Silk Bird, image 2015, print 2017
ink jet print
12 ½ × 8.3 inches (31.75 × 21.08 cm)
edition 1 of 5 plus I AP

David Gilbert, Dark Tree, 2017
ink jet print
12 ½ × 8.3 inches (31.75 × 21.08 cm)
edition 1 of 5 plus I AP

 

 
 

MARK McKNIGHT

QUEERING MODERNISM

Mark McKnight’s work expands the traditions of his modernist predecessors: shooting photographs in the landscape of southwestern California, New Mexico and Arizona with a formalist eye towards the textures and patterns of rock, sky, water and grasses.  The bodies in his pictures are those of his friends and acquaintances, a community of queer men and women who have been largely absent or hidden from this photographic history.  Frequently the body itself is the focus; the textures of hair and skin, the shapes of torso, arms and legs are treated with the same aesthetic admiration and detail with which photographers like Weston presented the shape of a pepper or a sweeping vista.

Perhaps the contradiction in the work I can least account for, and that therefore feels most powerful to me, is the fact that although McKnight rejects so many of the usual sources of affect – facial expression, social context, identifiable narrative – his work is drenched in affect, supersaturated with emotion in a way that feels almost operatic, exuberantly queer.

Garth Greenwell, Aperture, December 2019

Mark McKnight has recently been awarded:

Aperture Portfolio Prize, 2019
Rema Hort Mann Grant, 2020
Light Works Book Award, 2020

McKnight’s first monograph will be published in the fall of 2020, published by Loose Joints.

This piece, Untitled (Seated Figure) is part of the New Art Dealers Alliance’s online FAIR.

IN THIS TEMPORARILY PREVAILING LANDSCAPE

Mark McKnight’s first show with the Klaus von Nichtssagend opened in January of 2020, shortly after his show at Aperture.

If queer formalism in photography is most closely associated with Robert Mapplethorpe’s ultra-kinky, mostly hairless, vaguely fascistic musclemen, McKnight carves his own path by capturing softer-bodied hirsute subjects whose folded flesh, wisps of fur, and pockmarked bellies become abstract landscapes that recall those of masters like [Minor] White.

– Harry Tafoya, Art in America, February 2020

Mark McKnight, Untitled, 2019
gelatin silver print
24 × 30 inches (60.96 × 76.20 cm)
edition 2 of 3 plus II AP

Mark McKnight, Violence, 2019
gelatin silver print
11 × 14 inches (27.94 × 35.56 cm)
edition 1 of 3 plus II AP

Mark McKnight, Burned Map (or Body), 2019
gelatin silver print
32 × 40 inches (81.28 × 101.60 cm)
edition 1of 3 plus II AP

 

 
 

SAM CONTIS

installation view of Contis's work in Being: New Photography 2018 at MoMA

BUILDING A NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY

Sam Contis’s work has been seen across the country and internationally in the past few years, starting with her MATRIX solo exhibition at the Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive in 2017, where the first large selection of her Deep Springs series was shown. Her first show at Klaus von Nichtssagend followed shortly thereafter. Since that time, Contis’s work has been included in MoMA’s New Photography 2018 as well as its current Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures retrospective.

Contis speaking to educators at MoMA in front of her photogravures included in the retrospective Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures

Deep Springs established Contis as a progressive new voice in photography, bringing a unique perspective and compelling intimacy to her subjects. Contis’s deep investment in photographic history allows her to build on genres we thought were familiar, such as the myth of the American West, and subvert them through complicating gestures of labor, tenderness, and close observation.

Contis’s photographs… are mindful of questions of representation, of how and where we appear as subjects of photographs, while never neglecting the edges of representation where we butt up against someone or something else.

Philip Griffith, The Brooklyn Rail, May 2018

ON VIEW IN LONDON

Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography

 

A group of photographs from Sam Contis’s Deep Springs series is included in this sweeping show at the Barbican Centre in London, curated by Alona Pardo. The exhibition is set to reopen this summer, and will travel to the Martin Gropius Bau in Germany in the fall of 2020. Untitled (Neck) is featured on the cover of the exhibition catalog.

Learn More

Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography, Barbican Art Gallery, London. Installation View

Sam Contis, Elbow and Knee, 2015
gelatin silver print
8 ¾ × 7 inches (22.23 × 17.78 cm)
edition 3 of 5 plus I AP

Learn more about these artists…

Sam Contis

David Gilbert

Mark McKnight

Demetrius Oliver

Barry Stone

 

These books by Sam Contis and Barry Stone are available online through the gallery.

Sam Contis, Day Sleeper

Purchase Book

Barry Stone, Daily, In a Nimble Sea

Purchase Book

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