Aline Smithson: The Ephemeral Archive at the Los Angeles Center of Photography

Aline Smithson: The Ephemeral Archive at the LACP

Curated by Rotem Rozental
On view December 16 through February 24, 2024

We are so proud of OG artist Aline Smithson for her solo exhibition The Ephemeral Archive at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Aline is one of the most important figures in contemporary photography today bringing attention to her contemporaries in photography for over two decades via Lenscratch, with also a career of creating poignant portraits and photographs for even longer, and she has brought the two together in this incredible solo show of her photograph installations, interactive performance pieces, and an experimental film, alongside a curated exhibition by Rotem Rozental, If Memory Serves, of Aline’s photographic contemporaries.

“Aline Smithson has long been considering how photographs move through time—as conveyors of memory, history, and being. The Ephemeral Archive, her new exhibition with Los Angeles Center of Photography at the Brand Library & Art Center, is an expansive and conceptual exploration of the power that family photographs hold and the alarming potential of losing our visual legacies to platforms that corrupt, potentially losing whole histories of being in the process.”

Read the article here

 

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ACQUISITION: Rania Matar – A Girl and Her Room

This Fall we were thrilled to facilitate the sale of Obscura Gallery artist Rania Matar’s portfolio of 50 prints from A Girl and Her Room to the Library of Congress for their permanent collection!

 

RANIA MATAR, Stephanie, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010
RANIA MATAR, Stephanie, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010

 

RANIA MATAR, Lubna, Lebanon, 2010
RANIA MATAR, Lubna, Lebanon, 2010

 

RANIA MATAR, Mariam, Bourj al Shamali Palestinian Refugee Camp, Tyre, Lebanon, 2009
RANIA MATAR, Mariam, Bourj al Shamali Palestinian Refugee Camp, Tyre, Lebanon, 2009

 

RANIA MATAR, Mimi, Winchester, Massachusettes, 2010
RANIA MATAR, Mimi, Winchester, Massachusettes, 2010

 

RANIA MATAR, Destiny, Dorcester, Massachusettes, 2010
RANIA MATAR, Destiny, Dorcester, Massachusettes, 2010

 

Focusing on contemporary young women from vastly differing cultures in the United States and Lebanon, Rania Matar’s project and book, A Girl and Her Room, reveals the complex lives of her subjects in the unique setting of the girls’ own rooms. Besides the expected cultural and economic differences and similarities that inevitably are drawn out using such an approach, these portraits of the girls and their bedrooms—reveal a dizzying array of personalities, dreams, hopes, wishes and frustrations in settings that are clearly expressions of the girls’ individual identities. The nuances shown in each room, and in the portrait of each young woman, reveal an acute photographer’s eye for telling detail.

As a Lebanese-born American artist and mother, Rania Matar’s cross-cultural experiences inform her art. She has dedicated her work to exploring issues of personal and collective identity through photographs of female adolescence and womanhood—both in the United States where she lives, and in the Middle East where she is from. Matar was born and raised in Lebanon and moved to the U.S. in 1984. She has received several grants and awards including a 2019 CENTER First Place Choice Award, 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2017 Mellon Foundation artist-in-residency grant at the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, 2011 Legacy Award at the Griffin Museum of Photography, 2011 and 2007 Massachusetts Cultural Council artist fellowships. Most recently, in 2022 Rania was awarded the Leica Women Foto Project Award. She has had mid-career retrospectives at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the American University of Beirut Museum. Her work is in the permanent collections of several museums, institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

View A Girl and Her Room series on Rania’s website here.

Inquire with Obscura Gallery about purchasing prints from this series here.

 

 

The Photography Show presented by Aipad, Kurt Markus at Obscura Gallery Booth 113 March 31 - April 2, 2023

Visit us at BOOTH #113!

Obscura Gallery is devoting the entire 2023 AIPAD booth to a survey of the late Kurt Markus’s storied photographic career. Kurt Markus was “celebrated as a fine artist and a chronicler of the American West” as Alex Williams wrote in The New York Times when Markus passed away last year. Kurt is perhaps best known for his portraits of cowboys in the American West and also enjoyed a distinguished career as one of the world’s preeminent fashion photographers. Over the course of a decade, Obscura Gallery owner Jennifer Schlesinger curated three solo exhibitions of Kurt Markus’s work including The Fashion Years retrospective, Monument Valley 2002-2017, and Dunes, Namibia 2002-2008, as well as a Cowboys in the West exhibition, all of which will be included in Obscura Gallery’s booth at The Photography Show presented by AIPAD. Kurt’s latest book published posthumously, Christy, chronicles the travels he and model Christy Turlington made over the course of a 25 year-long friendship, and the book and prints will be available for sale in the AIPAD booth as well.

VIEW OUR INVENTORY OF KURT MARKUS’S WORK HERE.

PURCHASE AIPAD TICKETS HERE!

Rania Matar prints from SHE series acquired by Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College

We could not be more thrilled and honored to have placed four of Rania Matar’s pieces from the SHE series into the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Thank you to all who made this possible and congratulations to Rania Matar!

Rhea S., Piccadilly Theater, Beirut, Lebanon, 2021

Kefa, Gambier, Ohio, 2018

Alae (with the mirror), Beirut Lebanon, 2020

Alae, Khyiam, Lebanon 2019

Feature article on Lou Peralta: Deconstructed Portraits in the Pasatiempo

cover article in the Pasatiempo on Lou Peralta

Lou Peralta has been a portrait photographer for most of her life, first in the Mexico City studio her great-grandfather founded in 1910, then, only five years ago, as a fine arts photographer investigating the form — all in service of her search for the true meaning of a portrait and the Mexican identity.

“I have seen many artists do various types of weaving of photographs, or deconstruct photographs,” says Jennifer Schlesinger, owner/director of Obscura Gallery, which hosts the photographer’s first Santa Fe show, “but Lou’s work stood out to me in that she was using her own cultural community as models and focusing on the person themselves to dig deeper into their cultural Mexican heritage.”

On the cover, Lou Peralta, Disassemble #48 (2020), 23 x 22″, archival pigment print with cinnamon and wood strips, edition of 8

Photograph Magazine Interview with Rashod Taylor – AIPAD Photography Show Edition

Rashod Taylor, Reflection of Me, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Obscura Gallery


Rashod Taylor at Obscura Gallery
Published May 21, 2022
Interview by Jean Dykstra for Photograph Magazine, AIPAD Photography Show Edition

Like many first-time fathers, Rashod Taylor began taking photographs of his son, LJ, when he was born. Eventually, though, he began to think there might be more to the photographs than family snapshots, and he began gently choreographing his (mostly) cooperative son in images that lovingly portray mundane moments from his life. The photographs, which sometimes include Taylor himself or his wife, are tender, intimate images of a Black family raising a Black boy in the United States. “It’s challenging,” says Taylor. Works from the series Little Black Boy are on view at Obscura Gallery’s booth at the AIPAD Photography Show, along with wet-plate collodion images from his series My America.

photograph
: How did the series Little Black Boy get started?

Rashod Taylor: I had made pictures of my son for a while. I shot in film, and I’d look at the contact sheets, and I thought the work had something that other people could connect to. Being a Black man raising a Black boy today is challenging, and around this time, I thought about Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by police, and George Floyd, and all of that made me want to use these images to say something a little bit more.

photograph: They’re beautiful images, and they have the detail and clarity that come from working with a 4×5 view camera. And they are images of tenderness and affection between a father and son, which we don’t see that much.

Taylor: People of color are often portrayed in the opposite light. For me it was important to give a spotlight to what that looks like – the tenderness and love, and how myself and my wife care for our son.


Rashod Taylor, LJ and His Fort, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Obscura Gallery

photograph: You’ve talked about the influence of Sally Mann. Are there other photographers who’ve influenced your work?

Taylor: Sally Mann is the most prominent photographer that focused on her family for so much of her career. Those images just looked so effortless, but she used an 8×10 view camera, so that’s even more of a labor of love. I like the humanity of Gordon Parks, how he talks about letting his pictures be his weapons against poverty and racism. I really take that to heart. I want people to engage with these images in a way that gets the conversation started: How come we don’t see more images of Black boys or Black girls being lifted up?

photograph: Was there a point where you began envisioning the photographs as something more than family photographs, as a project that engaged with themes of racial inequality and social justice and became part of that conversation?

Taylor: There’s a picture of LJ wearing a t-shirt that says Dream Big, but he also had a police officer badge on, and then in the background was this little white girl, and her back is to him. There’s so much going on in that image. A lightbulb kind of went off, and I thought: I think I might have something here.


Rashod Taylor, Tired of Fighting, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Obscura Gallery

photograph: Can you talk about your series My America? What made you decide to use the wet-plate collodion process, which is so labor intensive?

Taylor: I got into wet plate about 10 years ago. I was getting burnt out with digital and wanted to get back to making tangible work with my hands. I saw some work by Joni Sternbach, and I really loved that. Then I took a workshop with Dale Bernstein, and I really I gravitated toward the process. I also enjoy history; understanding that this was the second photographic process after daguerreotypes, and looking at Civil War images and images of families, there wasn’t much representing Black people. It was expensive, and they couldn’t afford it. The few images of Black people were from the war. It was an interesting time: Black people were allowed to fight even though they had no rights. And that’s a theme in American history since then, into World War II, and Vietnam a little bit. So that was an interesting thread, and I love the fact that the wet plate dates back that far.

Rashod Taylor, The Past, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Obscura Gallery

The Photography Show Presented by AIPAD is BACK! This May, 2022!

FIND US AT THE NEW YORK CITY PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW PRESENTED BY AIPAD THIS MAY 19-20, 2022!

The photography show presented by Aipad May 20-22

Center415
5th Avenue
New York, NY

As a proud member of AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers), we couldn’t be more excited to be back in bustling New York City this week celebrating photography after a long pandemic break. Now in its 41st edition, The Photography Show presented by AIPAD is the longest running and foremost exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium. In addition to the AIPAD Fair, the city is buzzing with other exciting art events including Frieze New York, VOLTA, I-54, and the ICP Photobook Fest in partnership with AIPAD.

In our AIPAD Booth #107 located on the ground floor at Center415, we are showcasing a selection of eight Obscura Gallery artists who represent a wide span in their individual careers, yet all have in common their unique contributions to the history of the medium. We hope you’ll stop by and visit our booth in which three of our artists will be available throughout the fair to chat with to you about their work: Susan Burnstine, Rania Matar, and Rashod Taylor.

Angie Brockey
Susan Burnstine
Paul Caponigro
Coco Fronsac
Colin Jones
Michael Massaia
Rania Matar
Rashod Taylor

We will also have a selection of fine 20th Century photography available including André Kertész, Edward Weston, Gertrude Käsebier, Imogen Cunningham, Gordon Parks, and many more!

VIEW THE WORKS IN OUR BOOTH ON ARTSY HERE.

 

Purchase tickets here.

Please inquire here for more information.

 

 

Rania Matar receives The Leica Women Foto Project Award!

Huge congratulations to Obscura Gallery artist Rania Matar for receiving the 3rd annual Leica Women Foto Project Award!

 

 

As part of Leica’s initiatives to expand diverse & inclusive representation in the photography industry, The Leica Women Foto Project is an ongoing commitment to elevating marginalized voices while empowering the female perspective.

 

 

Acclaimed Lebanese photographer and 2018 Guggenheim Fellow, Matar traveled to her home country to produce her stunning work-in-progress project Where Do I Go? لوين روح¸ inspired by the young generation of Lebanese women whose resilience and hope shine through the complexities of living in a country ill-prepared for COVID- 19 and ravaged by corruption and an ongoing financial crisis. As part of her larger initiative and best-selling photography book, SHE, Rania’s winning project explores issues of personal and collective identity through female adolescence and womanhood. A gripping and beautifully-shot examination of subjectivity and the female gaze, Matar portrays the raw beauty of her subjects: their age, individuality, physicality, and mystery, photographing them the way she, a woman and a mother, sees them, beautiful and alive.

 

VIEW THE SERIES ON RANIA MATAR’S WEBSITE HERE.

Aline Smithson named a 2022 Hasselbald Heroine

Congratulations to Aline Smithson for being named a 2022 Hasselbald Heroine!

Hasselblad Heroines shines a light on talented female photographers from around the globe as they make their mark in the photographic industry. Through these spotlights, each Heroine shares their experiences in their career, challenges they’ve encountered in the industry and inspiration in their art through short video interviews.

By putting a spotlight on these creatives, Hasselblad Heroines hopes to encourage the next generation of female photographers to go against the grain and bring their creative visions to life.