Lakes, Trees and Honeybees

May 24 – July 20, 2012

 Lakes, Trees and Honeybees

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce Lakes, Trees and Honeybees, an exhibition of new photographs and prints by Matthew Brandt from his series Lakes and Reservoirs, Trees, Honeybees and Taste Tests in Color. The exhibition will open on Thursday, May 24, and will be on view through Friday, July 20, with a reception for the artist on Thursday, May 24, from 6:00 - 8:00PM. This will be Matthew Brandt’s first exhibition with the gallery and his first solo exhibition in New York.

Matthew Brandt creates his prints using physical elements from the subject itself. Inspired by landscape photography of the American West – especially its correlation to the methods of printing and making images during photography’s infancy in the mid-nineteenth century – the artist revives traditional photographic techniques through various production processes, including handmade papermaking and gum-bichromate. Whether soaking prints in water from the subject lake, or printing on paper that the artist made from the subject tree, or even using a pigment that the artist created from the subject (charcoal from the trees, gum-bichromate emulsion of honeybees), Brandt blurs the line between the photograph and the photographed.

For his series Lakes and Reservoirs, Brandt photographs lakes and reservoirs in the western United States, and then submerges each resulting C-print in water collected from the subject of the photograph. Prints are soaked for days or weeks or even months, and this process impacts the layers of color that comprise the image. Brandt removes the print once it reaches its desired look, which can range from mostly representational to completely abstract. The Lakes and Reservoirs series considers the current condition not only of our lakes and reservoirs, but also of traditional color photography.

Brandt photographed his series Trees in George Bush Park near Houston, Texas. The artist photographed and gathered branches from fifty trees he found in a grassy valley in the park. Back in his Los Angeles studio, he made paper from the branches and burned the remaining wood to make charcoal for ink. The artist then silk-screened prints of each tree using ink and paper made entirely from the trees. These photographs are pictures of trees made from the trees.

Honeybees is a project that began when “colony collapse disorder” was a bold media headline. The artist discovered hundreds of dead and ailing honeybees scattered along the California shoreline. Instead of photographing the surreal scene, the artist collected bees, and photographed them in his studio. Using the nineteenth-century gum-bichromate printing process, Brandt made the prints from an emulsion of the bees themselves.

The series Taste Tests in Color is an extension of Matthew’s original monochromatic series Taste Tests, which were silk screens of iconic American landscapes printed using a food item such as ketchup or mole sauce in place of ink. Taste Tests in Color transforms images of Vernal Falls at Yosemite National Park into 4-color multi-layered silkscreens made of jewel-toned handmade edible ink. Each layer is made of a particular food product such as cotton candy, Kool-Aid, mouthwash, or pharmaceutical pills that recreates a color in CMYK or RGB color model. The series is an untraditional reinterpretation of the original landscape photography of the American West and playfully revisits early color film photography itself.

In December 2011, Forbes named Matthew Brandt one of tomorrow’s “brightest stars” in the article 30 Under 30: Art & Design. Brandt’s work is included in the collections of the Armand Hammer Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He was born in California in 1982, and received his BFA from Cooper Union and his MFA from UCLA. The artist currently lives and works in Los Angeles.