Friday, February 25, 2011

What Artists Give Us


Sze Tsung Leong. Alameda, México DF, 2009


First, please excuse the current lapse in posts. I was away on the west coast - about which more to come as soon as I get a chance.

Just before I left, however, I went to see the just opened show "Cities" by Sze Tsung Leong (at Yossi Milo) and was much taken by the craft and consistency of vision of this relatively new to the scene photographer. Leong - as you will see from his website produces vast serial bodies of landscape work sticking to a fairly rigid compositional format for each series. This in itself is nothing new, but Leong travels so far and to so many places that his encyclopedic breadth crossed with his pictorial skill combine to take us somewhere new.

A sure sign of this is that when I looked out of my hotel window in Los Angeles, I felt I was seeing a Leong picture! And as I thought about this, I realized that one of the things artists give us is a way of defining and ordering what we see. A sea horizon can be a Meyerowitz or a Sugimoto. A random gesture in a park can be a Winogrand. A tackily colored interior can be an Eggleston. And rather than taking away from the pleasure of seeing these things, for those of us who are not artists I think it actually adds pleasure. Recognizing the association is in itself a creative gesture. Thus the realization that the scene outside my window (below) was like a Leong was both a gift from the artist and a gift from and to myself.



10 comments:

Heather said...

Beautiful juxtaposition between those two.

Lost in Provence said...

Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

Where would we be without a dialogue (internal and external) between art, nature and society? It is what keeps us going, I think.

Ryan Anderson said...

i like how you put it: they "order" what we see. it's always interesting how we can start looking at things completely differently after seeing some new photographer's work. also, great photo of LA.

B. Pentreath said...

Off topic, but I am SMH at Cass Bird's tribute? to Josephine Meckseper's 'Pyromaniac 2' on the cover of today's T magazine. It feels really unnecessary.

I must see ''Cities''. Thanks!

The Year in Pictures said...

I agree with you and was mulling over what to post about it. Stay tuned!

J.D.

streetracker said...

The task of an artist is to show us different points of view.
Great work, overall about China.

Tasha said...

Funny. I just posted about (among other things) how your blog has changed my gallery experience: http://gallimaufryandminutiae.blogspot.com/2011/02/explorations-pt-1.html

Thanks for your posts.

Jennifer said...

I love when that happens... I see a scene that reminds me of a certain photographer's work or, almost more fun, I see a scene and take a mental photo of it if I don't have my camera at the ready.

Anonymous said...

Another gesture that photographers perform via the simple act of picture making is to immortalize a place (for us) and an experience (for thmeselves.)

Joe Holmes said...

Excellent point, and it all goes double when artists absorb others' works and see and capture the world in a different way. I shoot nothing like Lee Friedlander but I swear he informs my work.

(writing from Tokyo, btw...)