Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographic work is traditional yet subversive. This exhibition includes work from the three genres for which he is known: nudes, portraits, and still-life. Though it is perhaps his sex photographs that first gained Mapplethorpe notoriety as something of an enfante terrible, he approaches all of subject matter with a consistent and sensually attuned eye.
Mapplethorpe’s work has always exploited the beauty of the black and white print. His recent attention to the platinum printing process has extended this interest. Because of the uniquely wide tonal range that can be achieved through the platinum process, this method is particularly well suited to the photographer’s keen sensitivity to tonal values. Reinterpreting the tradition of platinum prints, Mapplethorpe has developed a unique printing technique of platinum emulsion on Belgian linen. In his recent works, the completed prints are often paired with various colored fabric panels and frames which he himself designs.
Also included in the exhibition are three floral still-lifes created by a special photogravure process in which the image is transferred to silk fabric which is then mounted on paper.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs are internationally recognized and widely published. His most recent books include Robert Mapplethorpe: Portraits (Twelvetrees Press) and Black Book (St. Martin’s Press).