RedLine photo shows
Denver's Month of Photography
Posted: 03/22/2015 12:01:00 AM MDTAdd a Comment | Updated: 2 days ago
Toying with identity
In RedLine's Project Space, "Role Play" plays out like a book of short stories written by authors who are suicidally self-obsessed, folks who suffer so heavily from damaged egos that they are compelled to kill off their own identities in some search for social truth.
The eight photographers on display shoot themselves, figuratively speaking, donning costumes, make up, and plenty of attitude to create scenes that star their visages in fictional settings. These are anti-selfies, to put it in the context of our age, pictures of people who want you to see them not as they are.
This is a rich exhibit, showy, international and a lot of fun to wander through, though it can feel overly introspective, and too personal, as if you are eavesdropping on somebody's weekly session with their therapist.
The themes are meant to be broad and usually resonate that way, to a point. Chan-Hyo Bae, for example, creates detailed tableaux centered around himself in the role of fairy tale princesses. He's "Cinderella" leaving her glass slipper at her coach or a passed-out "Sleeping Beauty."
He's searching for himself here, exploring how his Korean features fit into the canon of children's literature he grew up with. But it's a fine line between his inquiry on race relations and his need to work out personal issues.
Still, all of the work seems to have something interesting to say about where we connect to the world, or where we want to.
Sally Stockhold's series "The Life I Never Lived" has her portraying lead roles in the scenes "Hotel Chelsea, Janis and Jimi, 1968." and "Hotel Chelsea, Sid and Nancy, 1978."
These are the ruins of rock 'n' roll, and none of the protagonists in her dramas ended up faring so well. Still, they were famous, legends. We do wonder what it would be like to be them.
The effort is less about his own identity quest and more a quiz for viewers on how they perceive the same dude in different garb.
This exhibit pushes and pulls you, plays with your mind and challenges your prejudices. Every effort is 100 percent, including the work by co-curators Rupert Jenkins and Conor King, who lay it on thick, in the spirit of the artists they are presenting.
These artists are on the most solo journeys imaginable, and yet they are packed on the same bus. That makes "Role Play" a wild ride, bumpy but memorable.
Ray Mark Rinaldi: 303-954-1540, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/rayrinaldi
"PLAYING WITH BEAUTY" RedLine galleries; "ROLE PLAY" at RedLine Project Space (organized by The Colorado Photographic Arts Center) ; both shows through April 25; 2350 Arapahoe St.; redline.org
Photographing the Body, Capturing the Soul
Artspan photographer Sally Stockhold meets Cindy Sherman.
Photographer Sally Stockhold has garnered quite a bit of attention by photographing herself in a variety of elaborate guises. Her “myselfportraits ode to icons and absurdities” features the artist dressed as a variety of historical characters in surprising detail. Often comical in nature, such as the “Diane Arbus photographing the Doppelgänger Twins” photo, in which Stockhold portrays a striped and frightful pair of twins, as well as the photographer, her work often has a slightly more light-hearted feel than Cindy Sherman’s.
The Denver-based photographer got her start slightly before Sherman, while studying under photographers Jay Maisel and Joel Meyerwitz at Cooper Union in New York City in the late 60's. “I started doing photography by default while I was in my second year studying painting” says Stockhold. “By "default" I mean that by 1969 painting was considered "dead." We were all splashing paint around and very few of us knew what we were trying to accomplish.” After taking a mandatory photography course, she quickly realized that the medium gave her the formal structure that was lacking in painting. “The moment I picked up a cheap little camera with a 50mm lenses I was hooked.” she said “I never left my tiny apartment without a camera.”
Stockhold was aware of Cindy Sherman's “Untitled Film Stills” but says she wasn't enlightened enough at the time to understand the importance of the work. Now that she has studied Sherman's work, she says, “I admire, respect and understand her place in post-modern art history.”
Stockhold took a nearly twenty-year artistic hiatus in the early-80's, picking up the camera again in 2002 after taking a local photography course. She began photographing teenagers and doing some politically satirical staged pictures, while showing work in galleries. At that time, she received the inspiration for her “myselfportraits” series, and later “myselfportraits ode to icons and other absurdities,” unabashed photos that feature the photographer dressed as various historical figures, mostly women. Stockhold clearly remembers the moment the idea came to her. “I came downstairs one morning and noticed fully blossomed Dahlia's in my garden.” she said “I Bobbi-pinned three of those flowers into my hair, found a shawl, tacked a lace tablecloth on the wall, added a little make-up and embodied Frida Kahlo.” She instantly realized that she wanted to embody women from history. “It was too much fun,” says Stockhold “and also emotionally gratifying.”
Stockhold prefers black and white images to keep her “balanced and under the radar of commercialism,” she explains. She enjoys selectively hand-coloring her photographs and limiting the number of prints she produces. “That way I feel I'm adding my touch to my pictures even though they are digitally printed.” she added. Sherman cites American photographer Duane Michals as her main artistic influence. “Being a story teller myself,”she said, “he gave me permission to eventually dive into story telling as I continue on my journey. Currently, Stockhold has begun to impersonate men “only as long as they played an important role in my chosen iconic woman's life” she says.
The outwardly reflective photos of Cindy Sherman and Sally Stockhold have created a photographic legacy that provides powerful inspiration to photography fans and artists today.
When it comes to quirky characters, one larger-than-life photographer takes the cake: Cindy Sherman. Sherman, who has transformed herself into hundreds of different personas over her 35-year career, bares everything but her true self. Audiences have seen the artist as a movie star, a sinister clown, a Renaissance courtesan an 80's prom queen, and much much more—rare is a view of the prolific photographer without a disguise.
“None of the characters are me,” Sherman told Carol Vogel of the New York Times in an interview earlier this year. “They’re everything but me. If it seems too close to me, it’s rejected.” In February 2012, Sherman witnessed her MoMA retrospective, which featured over 170 portraits and was her first in 14 years.
Sherman was among the first artists to come of age in the era of television and mass media, a generation referred to as the “pictures generation,” whose members produced works that combined Pop Art and conceptualism. The photographer got her start in the 70's, with the help of her “Untitled Film Stills,” portraits inspired by black and white movies and ladies' magazines. These works and those to come, put her in a category with artists such as Sherrie Levine, Louise Lawler and Laurie Simmons, who were examining gender issues in a way no one had done before. In 1981, her Playboy-inspired “Centerfolds” portrait series, in which the women were clothed and displaying dissatisfied and often tortured emotions, launched her career.
“The contradictory and complex readings of her work reinforces its ongoing relevance to multiple audiences,” Eva Respini, associate curator of photography at MoMA told The New York Times last February. “More than ever, identity is malleable and fluid, and her photographs confirm this.” Respini added.
One of her first assignments in a photography class was to confront something that was hard for her. “I took a series of myself naked in front of the camera,” she said, “And that was when I started using myself, but at the same time, not as an art practice, just for therapy or something. I would transform my face with makeup into various characters just to pass the time.”
A boyfriend suggested she document herself in these costumes, and after the pair moved to New York in the late 70's, Sherman would often be seen gallivanting about town in costume. Since then she's portrayed herself as everything from the Roman god Bacchus to spray-tanned teenagers.
Arts & Culture Top Artistic Photographers In Denver
It takes some tremendous talent and practice to be a good photographer, however truly great photographers are often just born with the gift. The eye for photography, the ability to see the world through a lens and to be able to capture life and movement in two dimensions, well it is a skill that not many are lucky to have. Take a look at these spectacular artistic photographers in Denver.
"Simone et Sartre, Les Conspiriteurs"
Staged Self Portrait
Sally Stockhold Photography
At The Pattern Shop Studio
3349 Blake St.
Denver, CO 80205
Sally Stockhold is another truly unique Denver artist. She is creating a series of self-portraits in which she uses herself as her canvas to showcase females and males from both history and fiction. In addition, she paints the full life-sized backgrounds used for all of her photography. As Stockhold explains, “I started this project of using myself as the ‘canvas’ to depict iconic people from history and fiction because I’ve always been inspired by the lives of strong, iconic women and sometimes the men who influenced their lives. I try never to impersonate but rather embody each subject and refer to their iconographic qualities. I feel these photographs are never taken; instead, I prefer to think that these extraordinary people gave their images to me.”
RedLine's group photography show is earning double takes
By Michael Paglia Thursday, Mar 21 2013
"Lincoln and Log Cabin RV," “Aunt Jemima”
by Greta Pratt, by Sally Stockhold
Posed portrait photo. Staged Self Portrait
Month of Photography, a citywide series of events going on right now, has really left its mark on Denver over the past few years — a goal that hasn't been easy for some other recent multi-venue offerings.
Remember Dialogue Denver, which coincided with the 2008 Democratic National Convention? No? Neither does anyone else. How about the Biennial of the Americas, from 2010? Maybe you do, because there were a few things worth noting. But as the next one needed to be postponed by a year (it will be presented this summer), the original can hardly be seen as having been a success.
Erin Trapp, head of what was then called the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, was involved in both (though her relationship with the Biennial was only in the initial planning stages), and she has been tapped to get the upcoming Biennial under way, so I don't have high hopes. My prediction is that this will be yet another Denver event that has little to do with Denver.
MoP (a slight misnomer, as it straddles March and April), on the other hand, presents a rousing contrast to the other two. Mark Sink, a photographer and arts advocate (he was one of the founders of MCA Denver), is the force behind it, helping to orchestrate a staggering set of exhibits, workshops, lectures and panels all somehow related to photography. Sink launched the biennial event in 2004, and it has gotten better with each successive rendition. The secret to his success is that Sink is an integral part of the local culture and can therefore tap into its people and its resources, while the organizers of the other spectacles aren't, and usually don't.
For me, the prospect of looking at the many MoP exhibits is mind-numbing; there's no way I could possibly review every one. But some of the interesting standouts include the historic photos at the Byers-Evans House and Z Art Department; the cutting-edge photography presented at the Gildar Gallery and Vertigo; the street photography at the Myhren Gallery; and the fantasy photos and videos at Metro's Center for Visual Art.
But MoP's marquee presentation is The Reality of Fiction, an enormous and fabulous show that Sink ably curated and laid out at RedLine.
Photographic images have long been considered records of real places and actual sights (before the development of Photoshop, anyway), but The Reality of Fiction takes up the notion that photos can also fool the eye, making them both true depictions of reality and false ones. With only a few exceptions, most are straight photos, with no digital hocus-pocus.
Sink included work by more than two dozen artists from around the world, but a big hunk of the entries were done by the home team, a who's-who of lens-masters from the local scene.
Staged self-portraits perhaps best express the concept behind the show's title. There are Michael Ensminger's odd and somewhat disturbing (though sometimes funny) self-portraits in which he shows himself frolicking in nature, often in the nude. His self-characterization suggests he's in some kind of primeval natural world as he wraps himself around branches or lies on the ground. Sally Stockhold does some of the same things in her mock historical photos. Using costumes and elaborate settings, she impersonates various figures, including artist Alice Neel, advertising icon Aunt Jemima and Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Related, though very different, are the restaged Diane Arbus photos in which emerging photographer Emily Peacock stands in for people in some famous original images.
Although Adam Milner also includes himself in his photos and in a two-channel video projection, he doesn't disguise himself; instead, he creates a dialectic between simulation and actual experience. In the video, "Adam & I," he is shown on one side cooking, and on the other acting as though he is cooking — and you can't tell the difference.
Other players in the show create their own worlds but don't inhabit the resulting images. Katie Taft takes color shots of little whimsical figures that she makes. Lori Nix builds miniature landscapes that she records and which are only clearly false once we look closely at them. Sarah Haney puts together vignettes starring Barbie and Ken in some weird situations, like Barbie posing provocatively as Ken takes a cheesecake photo of her. As with the Nix photos, you need to do a double take to understand that you are not actually looking at people, but at little dolls. Also compelling are the photos by James Soe Nyun, in particular the copy of the famous Paul Strand photo of the back of the St. Francis Church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Nyun has built a model of the church out of Wonder Bread and Sno Balls!
Then there are those artists who find people engaged in simulations of reality all on their own. Greta Pratt has taken posed portraits of current-day Southern belles — including some African-American ones — in hoop skirts, guys dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and Lincoln impersonators. And despite the potential humor here, some of the subjects are actually a little unnerving. Edie Winograde is represented by a quartet of striking shots of historic reenactments, in which people pretend to be cavalry members and Indians. Also incredible in their beauty and concept are photos by Reiner Riedler depicting people enjoying vacations in ersatz resorts, including the "tropical islands" inside a German complex and the "ice cave" at the indoor snow center in Dubai. They're incredible.
Among the handful of digitally altered works are several large pieces by local pioneer of the medium John Bonath and Conor King's monumental landscape, in which letters and numbers are hidden in the tall grasses in the foreground. Finally, there are the hallucinogenic works by T. John Hughes, in which ghostly images of lost historic buildings are superimposed on present-day shots of the same place.
A few works defy easy categorization, like the Polaroids by Joe Clower, in which he has suspended a miniature space ship in front of real views of the city or countryside. Also unusual and very good is the imaginary assembled landscape by J. Frede made from antique black-and-white snapshots of different views.
Denver Centric Magazine
Saturday, June 25, 2011 Arts and Entertainment
Photographer Sally Stockhold startles with her staged self-portraits
By Kyle MacMillan The Denver Post Posted: 06/17/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT
"Diane Arbus Photographing the Doppleganger Twins"
Staged Self Portrait
After a career in commercial photography and film in New York City, Sally Stockhold is enjoying a new chapter in her life as something of a cult figure on the Denver art scene.
Her central focus has been a group of self-portraits in which she photographs herself as famous and infamous artistic, historical and literary figures, ranging from and Leni Riefenstahl to Alice Neel and .
For each of these complex, partially hand-colored compositions, she assembles elaborate sets that often incorporate impeccably crafted backdrops and props that would be worth showing on their own.
Forty-one of Stockhold's under-recognized photographs — her largest exhibition to date — are on view at Pattern Shop Studio, an alternative art space at 3349 Blake St.
Some curators and other art insiders have been leery of these images because they are contrived, stagey and a little bizarre, but it is exactly those qualities — all intended by the artist — that make them so intriguing.
In fact, it does not seem much of a stretch to count Stockhold among the most daring and original photographers at work in Denver.
"Icons and Absurdities: Self-Portraits by Sally Stockhold" runs through Aug. 5. The space will be open 6 to 9 p.m. July 1, 4 to 6 p.m. July 9 or any time by appointment. 303-297-9831 or patternshopstudio.com. Kyle MacMillan
Art show strikes a happy medium in quantity, quality
By Kyle MacMillan
Denver Post Fine Arts Critic
Posted: 04/10/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT
"Ethel Rosenberg, Executed" Stockhold 2009
Staged Self Portrait
After a six-year absence, Foothills Art Center's "Colorado Art Open" has made a welcome return. This sprawling exhibition, which puts as much emphasis on quantity as quality, provides an uncommon opportunity for any artist in the state to show at a significant Denver-area art space without preconditions.
For this latest edition, more than 525 artists jumped at the chance to enter, and 98 were chosen. The downside of such an open, democratic approach is the widely varying quality of work that results. This year's selections are likely to produce a range of viewer reactions from "Wow" to "Ugh," with a "Huh?" or two along the way.
The upside is that the show inevitably produces some surprises, and this installment is no exception. New to me, for example, is Denver artist Alan Kitchen, who is represented by two works, including "The Waiters," a 14-by-17-inch acrylic and goauche on paper.
This engaging if disconcerting snow scene, which is rendered in a deliberately awkward, primitivist style, depicts six men sitting around an odd expanse of rocks. Despite the title, the black-uniformed figures look more like anonymous soldiers than servers.
Although it turns out that Sally Stockhold has had several exhibitions at local artist cooperatives, the Denver photographer is another surprise. In her current series of self-portraits, she succeeds in depicting herself as iconic women from history and fiction.
In the hand-colored carbon print "Ethel Rosenberg," she takes the role of the controversial convicted spy. She stares intently at the viewer from a makeshift electric chair, with an American flag prominently displayed next to her.
Typically, the state's better- known artists, who presumably have access to other, potentially more prestigious showcases, do not take part in opens of this kind.
But apparently the participation of Christoph Heinrich, the Denver Art Museum's curator of modern and contemporary art, as a juror, along with Foothills curator Michael Chavez, proved to be an attractive lure.
Sally Stockhold, David Agee, Mark Penner-Howell, and Karen Roehl
These artists represent the leading edge in abstraction, experimental photography, and realism. During the months of August and September, be transfixed by Sally Stockhold's photography and hand colored pigment prints, David Agee's mixed media and installation, Mark Penner-Howell's pop artwork, and Karen Roehl's geometric paintings. Tue-Sat 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 6 p.m-8 p.m.
Review of Icebreaker3 Show by Christopher Fox
Posted by Icecubes on Sunday, February 12, 2012
Raise your glass to Ice Cube Gallery on 33rd & Walnut, because Icebreaker3, on display through February 25th, deserves a toast. With over 500 submitted works to choose from, juror Gwen Chanzit (curator of modern and contemporary collections at the Denver Art Museum) certainly could have taken any perspective she wanted. But it’s clear that she worked closely with Ice Cube and wisely chose artistic vision as the thread that ties each artist to the next on display, and the mix works.
We were glad to see that Gwen Chanzit juried in “Diane Arbus photographing the Doppelganger twins,” by Sally Stockhold. Stockhold’s “Myselfportraits” series, with new works in the series displayed almost annually at Spark Gallery since 2006, is in our humble opinion one of the most significant bodies of work in the genre of photographic self-portraits a living Denver artist has produced. That’s primarily because the scope of her project has been an immensely time-consuming affair, but also because she’s fabulously talented when it comes to self-analysis. The amount of energy and time she puts into each scenario is admirable, and they always reveal different aspects of her personality in a slightly humorous, self-mocking way—she’s always engaged and actively analyzing, but it never feels tortured or burdensome.