reGENERATE at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Art Scene

reGENERATE at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

For many years, the bucolic, albeit urban, Brooklyn campus of Pratt Institute has included a Sculpture Park. An eclectic array of large-scale outdoor sculpture fills the 25-acre campus, ranging from abstract and figurative works to interactive pieces that can be used by the public. At the start of 2019, a photographic intervention was made in the space with the exhibition reGENERATE, which features the work of 2019 senior photography students.

Photo Credit: Daniel Terna

The photographs are presented at an extra-large scale, situating them in direct conversation with the monumentality of the sculptures in the surrounding area. Although the size of the photographs—90 inches high and spanning widths up to 150 inches—works in a curatorial context, its purpose serves as an instructional tool for the students. It asks them to consider the significance and impact of their work in the context of a larger world.

Photo Credit: Daniel Terna

Over a dozen photographs printed on a mesh-like substrate flow continuously in the shape of a rectangle around what looks like an enormous relic of a machine from the old days of industry. The installation seems to act like a fence, enclosing an object that may or may not have a real function, unrelated to the work. The project offers a new way to experience photography that is similar to THE FENCE (a traveling outdoor photography exhibition produced by Brooklyn-based United Photo Industries), yet different in its contemporary art sensibility. No explanatory text is included in the presentation as documentary, abstract, landscape and experimental photographs sit side by side in both black and white and color. Collectively, the works evoke a quiet stillness found in captured moments that reverberates with the energy of the thinking minds and meditative eyes of the students who created it.

Photo Credit: Daniel Terna

The images on view include: a deadpan photograph of an overstuffed tourist store selling typical Hawaiian themed gear; the turned head and torso of a young woman with an iPad and sunlight washing across her back; and an abstracted representation of linear white columns among others. A unifying experience of muted colors and low contrast black and white works seems to be both a conscious choice and a result of working on the mesh fabric surface. The expressive choices in terms of color and materials blend in almost seamlessly with the earthy tones of nature, the old brick buildings and the textured, weathered surfaces of the sculpture on the campus making the insertion of photographs in Pratt’s landscape a unique addition.

reGENERATE is on view on the Pratt Institute, Grand Walk, Brooklyn Campus through May 1, 2019.