Pike Slip to Sugar Hill
September 6 – October 27, 2018
Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present Pike Slip to Sugar Hill, an exhibition of new photographs of New York City by John Chiara. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 6 with a reception for the artist from 6:00 - 8:00pm and will be on view through Saturday, October 27.
For his second solo exhibition at the gallery, John Chiara handcrafted a custom 50” x 40” camera designed to capture Manhattan’s soaring verticality in kaleidoscopic color and with hyperreal clarity. Driving the enormous camera around the city in the bed of a commercial pickup truck, Chiara photographs NYC’s streets and its architecture with equal admiration for glass office towers, Beaux-Arts facades and the backsides of 19th century tenements.
Through the precision barrel lens, images are projected directly onto the scroll of color photographic paper inserted into the camera. During exposure, Chiara burns, dodges and filters the light entering through the lens, working to change the temperature of light and spectrum of color as if in the darkroom. As the image is received onto negative paper, light and shadow are reversed, as are the colors, casting his anonymous skyward views in otherworldly hues. At times resembling a blueprint, an image captured through night vision goggles or an x-ray, the unexpected palette jolts the eye from its malaise of familiarity to a heightened awareness of detail and the rich collage of textures that is New York City.
As Luc Sante observes in his July 12, 2018, essay in the New York Times Magazine, Chiara’s unique prints “… show the architecture of Manhattan in a literally new light, allowing the viewer to appreciate things often taken for granted.” They expose the minute structures and abstract components of the cityscape -- foliage, ornamental embellishments, geometric patterning -- eliciting visceral responses akin to the fragmented imagery of memory or dreams. They also strongly reference the materiality of the photographic object, with their reflective, high-gloss surface and rough-cut edges, anchoring Chiara’s fantastical, disorienting photographs in the real world.
John Chiara’s photographs are currently on view in the Denver Art Museum’s exhibition, New Territory: Landscape Photography Today, and will be featured in the New Southern Photography exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans from October 6, 2018 – March 10, 2019. Works by Chiara are in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; and the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, TX. His first monograph, John Chiara: California, was published by Aperture and Pier 24 Photography in 2017. Chiara was born in 1971 and currently divides his time between San Francisco and New York City.