The Joseph Bellows Gallery will present the first West Coast solo exhibition of Laura Letinsky's highly acclaimed photographic series of domestic still life photographs, "Morning, and Melancholia" and "I did not remember I had forgotten."
Produced beginning in 1999, the images in the paired series feature the remains of meals enjoyed hours, possibly even days before, then only partially cleaned up. Unwashed plates and cups, silverware, remnants of food, withered floral arrangements, and crumpled napkins rest upon unpretentious tables and counter tops, some stained here and there with the overflow of coffee and wine. In many of the prints, certain elements sit perilously close to the edge of their support, lending the scenes a mood of anticipation tinged with anxiety that's both momentary yet eternally fixed by the eye of the artist and her camera.
The work looks back to 17th century Dutch painting, even as it leans forward into the leading edge of photographic art today. The connection to the Dutch tradition arises not only from the works' fascination with still life in domestic settings, but also from the images' ability to evoke symbolic meaning, even moral lessons concerning the transience of human experience
Distinctly contemporary, however, is Letinsky's sparse distribution of objects within the image frame. This produces large areas of open space suggestive of color field painting yet clearly photographic in the way that the scenes are bathed in a warm glowing light that's almost as tangible as any object within the scenes.
Although no people appear anywhere in the photographs, the overall impression is of deeply felt personal experience; truly of morning, of melancholy, and remembrance; infused with a quiet appreciation of the sweetness, hidden beauty, and mystery of it all.
The expressive and formal uniqueness of Letinsky's photographic art has been widely and enthusiastically proclaimed in numerous art journals and general circulation publications. Her works are in the collections of Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among many others. Her exhibition venues include The Museum of Modern art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago; again, among many others.
Ms. Letinsky currently teaches at the University of Chicago, where she chairs the Department of Visual Art.