Caleb Stein: Down by the Hudson at the Rose Gallery
I first wrote about Caleb Stein’s project, Down by the Hudson, in 2017:
When I look at the photographs taken by Caleb Stein it’s hard to wrap my mind around the idea that he is just at the beginning of his photography career. And if I can predict correctly, it’s a career that will undoubtedly lead to a level of mastery that will equal the greats. His work is so well seen, with such clear, unflinching vision, that his story telling is profound and singular. Born in London, now living in New York state, he has an outsider’s ability to strip away artifice and reveal small truths about America and small town life. His on-going series, Down by the Hudson, is timeless and beautiful in it’s revelations of others.
Five years later, the work continues and he has opened an exhibition at one of the most prestigious photography galleries in Los Angeles area (Santa Monica). Opening on Sept 10th and running through Oct 29th, 2022, ROSEGALLERY will be featuring work from his six year effort.
Down by the Hudson (2016-22) is his ‘ode’ to Poughkeepsie, a small town in upstate New York. The photographs are often a celebration of people communing in havens, little paradises, amidst the current backdrop of de-industrialization and political tension in the U.S. They are an exploration not only of how Stein’s conception of small town American life has been informed by ‘Americana’ in the vein of Norman Rockwell and Grant Wood, but also of the dissonance between these inherited mythologies and Stein’s personal responses to them, informed by his engagement with the spaces and people of Poughkeepsie.
Caleb Stein (b. 1994, London) graduated from Vassar College in 2017 with a degree in history of art. His work explores the fragility of memory through an embrace of community and the dynamic, energetic interactions that occur within it. Questions surrounding mythology and narrative as they relate to the United States and the international influence it exerts sit at the core of much of Stein’s work, as he grapples with his relationship to the country that has become his adopted home. Stein’s work embraces the lyrical potential of photography; his work often contains a tension between the poetic and the emotionally confrontational.
Follow Caleb Stein on Instagram: @cjbstein
Follow the Rose Gallery on Instagram: @_rosegallery_
In our conflicted and stress filled era, Stein’s work of people at play, communing with nature and enjoying the wonders of water, is a tonic to the woes of 21st century life. The work is timeless. “Physical and social dissonance is forgone in this haven. The maple leaves rustle in the soft breeze, and rushed footsteps progress into a subsequent splash. Placid conversation fills the air, accompanying the slow trot of those wading in the water.
Wappinger Creek is a 41.7-mile-long creek that connects the waters of Thompson Pond to the mouth of the Hudson River in Dutchess County, New York. Carved by the creek’s path is a hidden Eden nestled in a small wooded area behind the Overlook Drive-In Theater on the outskirts of Poughkeepsie. Amongst the trees and muddy banks, residents congregate in and around this watering hole.”
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