Andrew Roth is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of seven new large-scale color photographs by Gil Blank.
Featured in the Greater New York 2005 exhibition (through September 26 at P.S.1), Gil Blank emerges as a formidable visual artist building on his well-established career as a contemporary critic and the provocative editor of Influence magazine. In his first one-person exhibition, he establishes himself as a conceptually based imagemaker, challenging the technological limitations of the photographic medium.
Blank’s reductive aesthetic is enhanced by his systematic approach. Starting with the classic large-format view camera, he captures his images on color film. After digital scanning he selectively obliterates information, superimposing the remaining image on a field of solid color, emphasizing its artificiality. A tethered cluster of colored balloons is suspended on a pale yellow ground; light flickering along the tips of shallow wave-crests is encased in a mass of creamy blue; and a panoramic cityscape at night is cut off from its specificity as it hovers in an inky-black field, like a Fata Morgana.
Although Blank does not work within prescribed series, there are several subjects he photographs repeatedly: illuminated typographic signs, fireworks, and star-filled skies. Here, he presents an image of a sign reduced to its fundamental letters on a stark ground, spelling the word Madrid. This work is part of a larger group of city names that read like a roster of targets: Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Rome, New York. Over the past two decades, he has photographed and archived thousands of negatives of both fireworks and stars. The picture he has created from the collection of star negatives is particularly compelling. Plucked individually from their natural formation, the stars are re-constructed into a dense, fictive array, printed on a seductive, yet jarring, pink ground. (He plans one star picture a year, consecutively adding more stars, until, ultimately, he will be left with a seamless white image.) Blank’s photographs are simple, elegant and masterful. They belie their arduous fabrication.
To coincide with the exhibition Gil Blank has published a hand-made book. Reckoning is printed in an edition of 100 copies.