David Benjamin Sherry: Pink Genesis at Salon 94

Art Scene

David Benjamin Sherry: Pink Genesis at Salon 94

Magical color play while dancing in the dark could describe David Benjamin Sherry’s latest series of work, Pink Genesis. Standing in the stark white, high ceiling cavernous space of Salon 94, where his collection of 12 photograms is on view, the work seems to vibrate off the walls. The photograms, photographs that do not require the use of a camera, are large-scale color studies that use tonal range, geometry, and free form silhouettes of Sherry’s body and props to create deeply pleasing monochromatic prints.

Made in the darkroom, the creation of the works requires total darkness and the application of Sherry’s decades of expertise in analog photography. The work prioritizes touch over sight and requires a sage-like knowledge of the workings of enlargers used in the processing of film photography. Sherry exposes photo paper to light with cardboard stencils, acetate, and at times, his dog or his own body, as an overlay. Working in the pitch-black atmosphere lends itself to a fluidity and awareness of bodily movement within space. To create the work, an intelligence played out in Sherry’s fingertips interacts with old school image production techniques in a process deeply embedded in innovation and the current moment.

In the gallery, the sensory experience of being surrounded by unobtrusive, gently engaging vivid colors may make even the most skeptical thinkers reconsider color therapy and its quirky offshoots. Shades like sunset yellow, tangerine, lemon, deep sky blue, earthy red, and Lifesaver candy green feel as though they are sharing a subtle energy of health and vitality with viewers. In several of the works, geometric patterning in gradient tones, reminiscent of mandalas, undoubtedly lend a sense of cosmic presence to the work. The images, created with stencils and precise intervals of light exposures, speak to formal qualities of line, shape, perspective, and mathematics.

In contrast, a handful of images offer an abstract and spontaneous type of play with Sherry’s processes. In these images, he uses his body, his dog, and other props to create silhouettes that offer tonal variety. However, in all of the work, Sherry’s mastery of cyan, magenta and yellow proportions in printing processes is manipulated to create excitingly vivid shades of color that are recognizable, but slightly different than their traditional counterparts.

The presence of the body and a sense of humanity is obvious in Sherry’s free form overlays, however, it is also made visible in subtler cues. A handmade quality found in slight imperfections in the stencils he created for the geometric works exists, as well as a nod to film type identifications found on the edges of negative film. The Kodak 400 NC label remains floating on the perimeter of a few of the photograms; with NC as a shorthand notation for Natural Color.

David Benjamin Sherry: Pink Genesis is on view at Salon 94 through July 27th, 2017.