lee friedlander: america by car & the new cars 1964 at timothy taylor

9 September 2011 § Leave a comment

I was surprised to discover that despite Lee Friedlander being one of great American photographers of recent years this exhibition is his first in the UK since 1976. It is also one not to be missed. Lined up in close succession around the extensive walls of Timothy Taylor’s pleasant West End gallery every image is of the highest quality.

The automobile and the open road are highly evocative icons of American culture. Immediately therefore one is drawn in to the ‘American Social Landscape’ that Friedlander so successfully seeks to record. Captured on a large format Hasselblad, which brings the forground in to sharp relief these are images taken entirely from the interior of rental cars. 

Friedlander immediately makes one a voyeur as, using the side window and windscreen as frames he democratically records passing subjects – or perhaps I should say objects. Gas stations, motels, advertising signs, churches and the occasional Officer of the law all are carefully photographed. Shapes and angles are cleverly captured; edges, reflections and verticals neatly matched. Perhaps it is the very eyes of the car itself as it roams the dusty roads?

In remarkably clever asides there are often further images that pop up  in the wing-mirrors. Appearing to be accidental they are obviously not. Neatly framed the smaller image may encapsulate the larger or act as a comment upon it. Other windows, mirrors, advertising signs provide more grist to the mill for Friedlander’s multiple visual games.

Shot over the last ten years as he has travelled around the states of the USA the series is cohesive and brilliant. Across the gallery is a recently discovered series of shots from 1964, a rejected Harper’s Bazaar shoot. The car, typically photographed as iconic objects of desire is placed down amongst the urban landscape. Sulking in parking lots, half hidden or reflected they provide a clever counterpoint to the seemingly more geometrically considered shots they face.

Timothy Taylor Gallery until 1 October 2011

latest exhibition openings

8 September 2011 § 1 Comment

After the summer lull the Autumn ‘season’ is off with a bang. Here is a selection of my recommended new exhibitions, starting with those that have opened in the last few days.

Timothy Taylor. Lee Friedlander – America by Car & The New Cars 1964. Fresh from MoMA, breathtaking photographs from a master. Until 1 October 2011.

Hauser & Wirth. Phyllida Barlow – RIG. Urban structures reacting to the gallery space. Until 22 October 2011.

Wilkinson. Thoralf Knobloch – Wegkreuz & Matt Calderwood – Full Scale. Until 2 October 2011.

Stephen Friedman. Paul McDevitt – Running on Woollen Legs. Disney meets De Stijl – fascinating! Until 1 October 2011.

Blain Southern. Marius Bercea – Remains Of Tomorrow. Beautiful but complex landscapes of a fractured society. Until 1 October 2011.

Victoria Miro. Conrad Shawcross – Sequential. Geometrical, metaphysical and ambitious. Sure to be excellent. Until 1 October 2011.

Sumarria Lunn. Modern Frustrations. In particular check out Tim Phillips’ excellent Hyperion – a corporate logo for a new age. 8 to 30 September 2011, just around the corner from….

Haunch of Venison. Adrian Ghenie. Complex figurative paintings back in HoV’s restored original space. 8 September to 8 October 2011.

Alison Jacques. Dan Fischer. Immaculate pencil drawings that ask searching questions about modern icons. 9 September to 8 October 2011.

Gazelli Art House. Air I Breathe. Latest exhibition from an ambitious and innovative pop-up gallery. 9 September to 7 October 2011.

Josh Lilley. Christof Mascher – Urban Ornamental. Painting, ceramics and sculpture recounting mythological narratives. 9 September to 8 October 2011.

All in all it is a mouth-watering selection, I have seen most (will try to review in future blogs) and cannot wait for the rest. Go on, get downtown and create your own gallery tour….

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