On Plane View: Max de Esteban and Doug Fogelson at Klompching Gallery
For a glimpse into contemporary art influenced by Bauhaus photography from the 1930s, visit the exhibition On Plane View, which features the photographs of two artists, Max de Esteban and Doug Fogelson. The exhibition runs concurrently with the European touring exhibition, Bauhaus und die Fotographie, a celebration of 100 years of the Bauhaus.
Founded in Germany and most vibrant from the 1920s through the 1930s, the Bauhaus movement established itself as one of the most influential design movements of the 20th century. Interested in the intersection of art, society and technology, the movement spawned new forms of art, architecture and forward-thinking practitioners: Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Gropius, and László Moholy-Nagy to name a few. A space for avant-garde photography was born in this era; an objective photography that came to be known as Bauhaus photography, a form of expressive experimentation speaking in the language of unconventional perspectives, structured objects and plays of light. The study of abstraction, building, space, color, composition, materials, tools, nature, construction and representation, and form are central to the style.
In On Plane View, Max de Esteban’s four-part series, Propositions, explores technology and its impact on social interaction through digital photo-assemblages, while Doug Fogelson’sForms and Recordsphotograms explore objects related to the natural world or outdated technology. Within the work of Esteban, vestiges of a recent technological past, such as electric typewriters, Game Boys, CD-ROMS, tape decks, keyboards, and symbols such as the volume icon permeate the space of each image frame in an echo of the information overload of contemporary culture. Shades of grey, and muted purples, reds, blues and greens, interspersed with pockets of black, offer a backdrop to fine outlines of the objects within the photograms. The feel is reminiscent of the churning wheels of an antiquated form of industry or the interior of an old clock, while simultaneously evoking the two-dimensional flatness of an x-ray or digitally constructed photograph.
Fogelson’s images utilize the photogram technique to work with form and color in a dance between flatness and density. The most obvious representation in the work, a vinyl record, is repeatedly interspersed throughout architectural lines and geographic shapes that are layered on top of each other through multiple exposures, the blending of light, transparent spaces and additive color mixing. The objectivity of the work, found in its use of formal qualities and inanimate objects, clearly distinguishes itself from the sensuality of working with paint, despite the works use of abstraction.
Fogelson’s and Esteban’s creative practices offer a distinctly different experience of photography. Although it is related to contemporary forms of abstract photography and the manipulations of process and chemicals currently being revisited in the field, its historical antecedents are clearly visible.
On Plane View: Max de Esteban and Doug Fogelson is on view through March 9, 2019 at Klompching Gallery.