The Infamous Rose Hartman at Edelman Arts

Art Scene

The Infamous Rose Hartman at Edelman Arts

A limited edition series of photographs by Rose Hartman on view at Edelman Arts in the exhibition titled, The Infamous Rose Hartman, plays with ideas of both pleasure and infamy in a historical context. A certain joie de vivre, or joy for living, is immediately evident in the work, most of which was shot amidst the decadent landscape of New York City’s nightlife and art world culture of the late 1970s and 1980s.

If viewers are at all nostalgic for the legendary Studio 54 nightclub or the de rigueur Marlborough Gallery, they will absolutely feel the embodiment of the effervescence in Hartman’s images. It is clear that she was there, front and center, body and soul. While the images on view feature the people who populated these denizens of culture, the portraits made by Hartman vibrate with Hartman’s own artistic styling, linking her to the avant garde, personal style, and freewheeling ethos of the period.

Hartman’s black and white group portraits have a sculptural quality; a result of her use of line and angles from turned hands, curved wrists, sloping shoulders, and faces in profile. The use of black and white photography for these images also helps to generate an interplay of shapes created from the juxtaposition of flesh tones, black clothes, white shirts and more, which adds to a sense of compositional abstraction.

There is a rich use of color and skin tones in both Hartman’s black and white photography and a handful of color photographs that capture moments of leisure or beauty in St. Barts, Japan, and elsewhere. A perfect timbre of saturation in the images echoes the sensory pleasure found in the subjects of much of the work.

Some of the images feature recognizable subjects, including Bianca Jagger, Daphne Guinness, Margaux Hemingway, Fred Hughes, Elsa Peretti, and Mick Jagger. However, all of the images stand on equal footing, united by an elevated sense of revelry or engagement captured in the mood of each photograph. Two images – one black and white – of a pair of sequined trousers, shot from the calves down, and another – in color – of a bejeweled hand encased in blue velvet, are dazzling in and of themselves. They speak volumes in terms of the flamboyant raucous times of the 70s and 80s in a notoriously infamous, New York City.

The Infamous Rose Hartman at Edelman Arts is on view through December 22, 2017.