Sunday, December 11, 2011

Alex Webb: The Suffering of Light

Dec 8th was an amazing retrospective of Magnum photographer Alex Webb's color work over the past 30 years.  Alex was there and signing books as well, and as he put it to me, "This is all just a little overwhelming for me to be honest."  A rare exercise in humility among today's superstars of photography.

It was so nice to see work with so much heart, thinking, and affection for color, form and subjects.  Alex's work crosses a lot of boundaries in photography; seemingly surreal, sometimes cubist, and always with the utmost care for what is and is not included in the frame.  I made sure to thank him for his continued great work in an era obsessed with emptiness, constantly referring to itself and nothing else, with post modern ironies, art stars, and words like ambiguity, mysterious, ironic, etc.

I referred to the current Gursky exhibit as an example of oversized boring work, and he cracked up laughing, and made sure to tell him what I always remember, what Szarkowski said, "Photography is the easiest thing in the world if one is willing to accept pictures that are flaccid, limp, bland, banal, indiscriminately informative, and pointless. But if one insists in a photograph that is both complex and vigorous it is almost impossible."

Images were not over sized, were printed well, and were beautifully arranged as well.

The title of the book comes from a Goethe quote, “Colors are the deeds and suffering of light.”

Truly a pleasure to the senses-as Cartier Bresson said, " You have to give pleasure to the eye."

A brief review of the Alex Webb retrospective at the Aperture Foundation Gallery.

Alex Webb: The Suffering of Light

Exhibition on view:
Friday, December 9, 2011–Thursday, January 19, 2012


Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

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