Dirk Braeckman and Bill Henson "In Praise of Shadows"

Robert Miller Gallery

poster for Dirk Braeckman and Bill Henson "In Praise of Shadows"

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In 2002, Dirk Braeckman was commissioned to make portraits of Belgium’s King Albert and Queen Paola which are permanently installed along with other of his works in the Royal Palace in Brussels. Braeckman’s photographs have been shown in a retrospective exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Ghent. His recent solo shows were at the Bernier/Eliades Gallery in Athens, Greece and at the De Pont Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands. He lives and works in Ghent. Braeckman’s photographs, the majority of them in black and white, focus on abstract spaces, domestic interiors and other loci of the built environment. The subtle range of tone and the extraordinary matte surface of his gelatin silver prints give these images an enigmatic presence. Flatness and depth become difficult to discern, paradoxical. A dining room seems three dimensional but it is powerfully unified in tone. A figure appears to have been captured in real life but may in reality be a photograph of a photograph. Braeckman’s lens focuses on the details in a corner, on a body, on a specific interior or a sterile public space. Yet the effect is anything but confining. Printed large scale in lush tonality, the photographs have both an expansive and tactile quality. Braeckman concentrates on the personal and the tentative. He says, “To me, it’s about sensing and playing on certain photographic conditions—the frame, the ephemerality of an exposure, the way one reads black & white or color, the blurriness, the light.”

Bill Henson’s works are found in many international collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and in every major public collection in Australia. His photographs, first exhibited at Robert Miller in 2004, demonstrate the artist’s interest in the duality of nature and artifice, in adolescence, and in the distinction between male and female. These beautiful and mysterious images are characterized by chiaroscuro, translucent skin tones, and jewel-like colors that add an ethereal quality to ambiguous settings. The 2004 exhibition was followed in 2006 by a show that included work made after Henson’s retrospective Mnemosyne at the National Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. This body of work extended Henson’s abiding interest in staging, tableau and a belief in the artifice of theatrical presentation as a profound form. Henson’s figures emerge from and merge into darkness, and shadowy landscapes are shot through with constrained light and contain vestiges of human presence.

[Image: Bill Henson "UNTITLED" (1998/1999/2000) Type "C" print, 50 x 70 in.]



from April 08, 2010 to June 12, 2010

Opening Reception on 2010-04-08 from 18:00 to 20:00

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