Artist Reception: September 14, 2013, 7-10pm
Etherton Gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of the 2013-2014 season, Sonnets of Light, featuring mixed media photography by Charles Grogg and Masao Yamamoto and mixed media by Mayme Kratz. Sonnets of Light presents three artists whose respect for nature takes fluid and unexpected turns, surrendering to us precious moments of calm with their poetic sensitivity and tactile surfaces, creating a new kind of realism that touches the divine in us all. The work selected for the show ranges from Grogg’s sensual, hand-stitched photographs of flowers and Japanese bonsai, to Yamamoto’s richly allusive images, to the resin-based works which shelter the delicate detritus Kratz finds in the Sonoran desert. The exhibition opens September 14, 2013 with an artist reception from 7-10pm and runs through November 16, 2013. All artists will be present at the opening reception.
Originally trained as a painter, Japanese photographer, Masao Yamamoto makes photographs that reveal a refined, stripped down moment of understated beauty. His subjects include the woods and cities near his home, but he also makes elegant nudes and still lifes in the studio. Recent work from the series Shizuka=Cleanse, confronts his sense of powerlessness “against the devastation of nature” caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that hit Japan in 2011. Yamamoto makes small gelatin silver prints and has been known to carry them around in his pocket, giving them a pre-possessing quality of their own, as though they had already lived a life somewhere else. Like Grogg and Kratz, he works in and between media carefully selecting a process to convey a particular meaning, whether it is applying paint or ink to the surface of his images or creasing and even gently tearing their corners. While Yamamoto’s images can be appreciated as individual photographs, part of the viewing experience is the encounter with the artist’s installation of his work as a whole, in which he strives to attain, “a true beauty in realms that transcend time and space.” Known for performative, flowing presentations of his prints, which he fastens to the wall with only pushpins, Yamamoto will create a unique wall installation for the gallery.
Such dualities are also to be found in the work of Ojai, CA photographer, Charles Grogg. Like other great photographers before him, Grogg’s connection to photography derives from his immersion in poetry, literature and the independent study of photography. His influences range from German Expressionist printmakers and painters to Thomas Barrow and Andy Warhol's sewn multiples. Grogg also studied the print techniques of Michael Kenna, Ruth Bernhard and Flor Garduño. Sonnets of Light features Grogg’s Reconstructions, a series of platinum/palladium prints of plants, flowers and Japanese bonsai. To make a Reconstruction, Grogg parses a photograph into nine parts, prints each image separately, then sews them together and mounts the reconstructed photograph on Japanese gampi paper. Working with non-traditional materials such as thread, pushpins, tape, and staples, he creates “tethers” and “sutures” that secure the separated images, adding a sculptural materiality to the surface of his photographs. Although the potential for division and fragmentation seems endless, Grogg performs a kind of sublime reanimation, stitching together coherence from chaos.
Equally seductive and full of contradiction is the work of Phoenix artist Mayme Kratz. Kratz learned at a young age that tiny, seemingly perfect and impenetrable seeds could summon unruly worlds, and this principle informs her work today. On long walks in the Sonoran desert, she searches for material to be used in her mixed media work, and collects a wide range of organic materials such as grasses, seeds, cicada wings, twigs, bones and insects. She then forms them into diverse shapes from small nests and magnificent stars to simple abstract patterns and embeds them in layers of resin mounted on panel. Sometimes Kratz shaves away layers of resin giving us a view into the internal life of a twig or a seed. A bit of twig may even break through the resin into our space. Unlike fossilized amber, whose hard fractured casing telegraphs geological pre-history, Kratz creates a moving ode to nature, fueled by her physical and spiritual journey. She tenderly and thoughtfully places each object in the melted resin creating a modest gift to the spirits. In the process, she connects us, if only for a moment with the larger unseen forces that inspire her work.
Sonnets of Light opens September 14, 2013 at Etherton Gallery with an artist reception from 7-10pm and runs through November 16, 2013. For more information about the exhibition or to schedule an interview with Masao Yamamoto, Charles Grogg or Mayme Kratz, contact Daphne Srinivasan, Hannah Glasston or Terry Etherton at 520.624.7370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit the Etherton Gallery website for additional information on all exhibitions and artists.
Charles Grogg (b. 1966, Gary, Indiana)
Charles Grogg is an American contemporary artist and photographer. He currently resides in southern California, producing fractured photographic images printed in platinum and palladium on handmade Japanese washi which are restitched into whole images and frequently feature tethers, sutures or other three dimensional productions. The resulting images focus on issues of growth and restraint, hesitation and power.
Grogg's photographic genealogy includes the early Vik Muniz, Robert W. Fichter, and Thomas Barrow, as well as Andy Warhol's sewn multiples. His work has been published in a variety of photograph-focused periodicals including Elephant, LensWork, B&W, View Camera, Black & White Photography (U.K.), and Silvershotz, and resides in prominent institutional collections in the United States. He is Associate Professor of English at Santa Barbara City College (CA), where he has taught since 1998.
Mayme Kratz (b. 1958)
Mayme Kratz was born in San Diego County, California and has lived in Phoenix since 1986. Self-educated and focused on her creative life at an early age, she apprenticed with artist James Hubbell in her early twenties. Mayme was a visiting artist at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, and was awarded a residency at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Tucson Museum of Art and the Tacoma Museum of Glass; and in group exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, and Blue Star Art in San Antonio, Texas. In 2011, Kratz was the recipient of a mid-career award and exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. Mayme Kratz’s work is in many private and public collections throughout the United States and has recently been acquired for the new MGM Grand City Center Collection in Las Vegas Nevada.
Masao Yamamoto (b. 1957)
Masao Yamamoto was born in 1957 in Gamagori City, Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Although originally trained as a painter, he is one of the best known Japanese photographers working today. Yamamoto’s images are like fragments from a puzzle that capture an allusive, ineffable moment. He has produced several limited edition series of mixed media photographs, including Box of Ku, Nakazora, Kawa=Flow and most recently, Shizuku=Cleanse. He has published several books among them: A box of Ku (Nazraeli Press, 1998); Nakazora (Nazraeli, 2001); The Path of Green Leaves (Nazraeli, 2002); Omizuao (Nazraeli, 2003); Santoka (Harunatsuakifuyu Sousho, Japan,2003); é (2005); Fujisan (Nazraeli, 2008); Yamamoto Masao (Galerie Albert Baumgarten, Germany, 2009); Yamamoto, Masao (21st Editions, 2011); and Where we met: Yamamoto, Masao and Arpaïs du Bois (Lanoo Publishers, Belgium, 2011). Masao Yamamoto’s work has been exhibited all over the world, and his photographs are in many public and private collections including: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the International Center for Creative Photography; the Center for Creative Photography; the Santa Barbara Art Museum; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie; and the Sir Elton John Collection.