Typology Through Photography

New Genre Pictures at Flanders Gallery

For the most adventurous gallery show of the Triangle’s summer you need look no further than Flanders Gallery in Raleigh for this rambunctious show of  photographers (Sam Falls, Lucas Blalock, Thomas Hauser, and Bill Sullivan) working across a variety of subjects and styles.  The show is accompanied by a splendid catalog as well with a thought provoking essay by Lauren Turner and exquisite reproductions of the artists’ work.  Turner’s writing goes to great lengths to engage the art historical precedents of the concepts of genres, in particular those of André Félibien (a preeminent man of letters in his time who served as the court historian to Louis XIV.)  Her essay stirs some engaging precedents as many tried and true art historical concepts- composition, precedent à la still life, portraiture, the relentless advent of technological advance, even nature photography- are detailed and explored via each artist’s work.  Most intriguingly the show opens a vein of dialogue in contemporary work that extends well beyond our own little art world here in the Triangle.  While the show is vast in scope it presents a precise curatorial statement; honed such that it offers a glimpse into the workings of contemporary photography in both an international and a more local sense.  The exhibition is precise and intellectually rigorous yet is also admirably open ended enough to present the spectrum of many of the issues which contemporary photography must engage (the interdisciplinary, identity, and digital manipulation among them.)

The show engages you to look again and again which is I think its greatest strength. It also helps that this is flat out stunning work.   I dare say it’s a must-see show and I only hope that the traditional summer gallery slowdown hasn’t been too harsh on reducing the viewership of the  exhibition.  If you have seen it, kudos to you for making the trek. If you haven’t, I suggest you do what you have to do to take it in before the show closes August 28th.

New Genre Pictures is on view at Flanders Gallery, 302 S. West Street in downtown Raleigh through August 28, 2010

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