Rodney Graham: Welsh Oaks

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to offer its first solo exhibition of the photographs of Canadian artist RODNEY GRAHAM.  His body of seven photographs Welsh Oaks, which were recently exhibited at Dia Center for the Arts in New York, will be on view from the 3rd of February through the 25th of March 2000.

Welsh Oaks, Graham’s recent body of work, brings the viewer inside the nature of the camera.  Rooted in the vestiges of the camera obscura model, the trees are presented as they would be seen inside the camera: as large-scale, upended simulacra.  Graham, though, uses a large format camera and as a result, unlike the camera obscura image in which the projected image is the negative, the photographs are printed as positives.  This has the effect of rendering familiarity, a relationship with the imagery as we know it.  Yet, Graham’s inversion causes the viewer to re-consider the natural subject, one which a history of landscape tradition has left over-mined and prosaic.

The photographs stand as portraits of startlingly singular and majestic trees in the English countryside.  The large-scale images nuance each subject in a manner related to the ways that portraits function.  The sense of weight in each photograph is ambiguous; land is replaced by atmosphere and vice versa, which, by disturbing standard viewing, prompts a re-consideration of each area of the composition.  Each image becomes a disembodied world which the viewer is invited to inhabit.

Also on view at Fraenkel Gallery during this time will be recent wall drawings by Sol LeWitt.