7 on Main St. / Calle principal, 7
7 on Main Street is an exhibition that went live in Madrid this month. Curated by Joseph Maida, he highlights some of his students that have come from School of Visual Arts (SVA). These seven photographers bring a new perspective, rejuvenate the traditions of photography, and explore their youth as they live it. I highly recommend visiting each of their sites further, and investigating their work in entirety.
If you are in Madrid, 7 on Main Street will be up until March 21st at Combustión Espontánea.
7 on Main Street / Calle principal, 7
Curated by Joseph Maida
These seven emerging American photographers, who met and studied together at New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts, share an unwavering interest in illuminating the complexities of their physical surroundings. As digital natives, who entered college as fluent speakers of the language of computers, video games, social media, and the Internet, they move effortlessly between their real and virtual lives, which affords them critical distance and authority in both contexts.
Paradoxically, these artists question their virtual worlds by electing to photographically consider the real one. Unlike many of their contemporaries, whose creative practices draw directly from — or exist exclusively in –a digital realm, this group provides a descriptive view of their tangible existences in all of their glorious details. Aware of the limitation of the singular perspective of “like” online, they turn their discerning eyes toward actual friends, family, homes, and neighborhoods to elicit a much more complex response. That’s not to say they don’t understand the power of a desirable aesthetic, but what sets their work apart is that, after its initial visual seduction, it packs a critical punch.
Looking at their photographs as a whole, these artists explore their place in the weathered, post-Industrial United States and challenge the materialistic hierarchies inherited from their parents. Their photographs are not as much about the age-old American Dream of property and prosperity as they are about questioning the actual value and relevance of maintaining a past generation’s ideals. Growing up in a new era of extreme accumulation –not only of stuff but also of information–, they employ a pluralistic approach to subject matter and meaning, contributing to the arresting ambiguity of their work.
Caroline Tompkins photographs roadside attractions, murals, and store displays in her home state of Ohio and the surrounding Midwest. Her pictures connect fantasies of the past with truths of the present in an uncanny manner.
Corey Olsen capitalizes on the contemporary image of New England fishing villages such as New York’s City Island, a relatively unknown area of the United States’ biggest metropolis, where small-town values meet urban irony.
Jake Sigl casts a muse and fellow artist in a dense landscape and ambivalent pose, calling into question traditional forms of recognition and classification.
Molly Matalon photographs her mother, Gail, whose new marriage in sunny Florida provides the opportunity for a bigger home and a flashier wardrobe. Her mother’s renewed youth parallels and, at times, competes with Matalon’s own coming of age, selfies included.
Patrick O’Malley explores various corners of the continental United States, revisiting the familiar terrain and iconography of the nation’s collective consciousness.
Tim Schutsky’s oblique portraits of his parents present a surprising view of American prosperity and the effort to maintain appearances with age.
Zak Krevitt takes a close look at the central association of contemporary New Orleans, Mardi Gras. He approaches the annual festivities – both gay and straight — from a queer perspective, mirroring a shifting view in America that increasing celebrates LGBT voices.
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