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Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age    Apr 7 - May 3, 2011


Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco is pleased to announce Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age, an exhibition which examines the use of the historic photography-painting hybrid technique of cliché-verre in contemporary art. Artists featured include Jo Bradford, Peter Feldstein, Maggie Foskett, Suzanne Izzo, Courtney Johnson, Fredrik Marsh, Abelardo Morell, Fred Parker, Frank Rossi, David Symons, and Käthe Wenzel. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 7th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Cliché-verre means glass negative in French, and though rare, the technique serves simultaneously as a link between the history and future of photography. Shortly after the invention of photography in the 1839, painters who were interested in the new medium of photography, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875) and Eugene Delacroix (French, 1798-1863) would draw on smoked glass or glass coated in printmaking ground and use the glass plates as photographic negatives. At the same time that Corot and Delacroix were making cliché-verre, the Hausmanization of Paris was underway. The artists’ experiments with the new technology seem to have been a reaction to the overwhelming seventeen-year construction project in Paris—examining new technology as a way to contend with the urbanization of their city.

The traveling museum exhibition and accompanying catalog, Cliché-Verre: Hand-Drawn, Light-Printed, A Survey of the Medium from 1839 to the Present by Elizabeth Glassman and Marilyn F. Symmes was a 1979 – 1980 major retrospective on the technique citing all known artists who had worked in the medium to date including Corot, Delacroix, Pablo Picasso, Vera Berdich, Caroline Durieux, Frederick Sommer, Brassai, Man Ray, among others. Other notable recent exhibitions on the medium have included Sketches on Glass: Clichés-Verre from The New York Public Library in 2008 and Drawn by Light: Camille Corot and his ‘Cliché-Verre’ Experiments at Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Fondation Corboud in Cologne, Germany in 2010.

Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age aims to be an addendum to these ground-breaking historic exhibitions by being the first exhibition since 1980 to examine the contemporary work, advancements, and ideas within the cliché-verre medium over the last 30 years. Due to its rarity, most artists working in the medium of cliché-verre re-invent the process on their own, thereby creating a wide range of techniques. Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age brings together eleven diverse and accomplished artists from around the world including American, British, German, Cuban-American, and Brazilian-American artists, two Guggenheim Fellows, three National Endowment for the Arts grant recipients, a two-time British Council grant recipient, and a Cintas Foundation Fellow united by their use of this rare medium and working in a variety of cliché-verre techniques from graphite on vellum negatives to ink on glass to collaged three-dimensional objects on glass presenting subject matter centered around cityscapes, globalization, and space exploration.

In the introduction to his 1996 book, In the Name of Identity, Amin Maalouf states, “How many times, since I left Lebanon in 1976 to live in France, have people asked me, with the best intentions in the world, whether I felt ‘more French’ or ‘more Lebanese’? And I always give the same answer: ‘Both!’” The identity of cliché-verre too, like Maalouf, is defined by its duality of being at once a painting and a photograph. Characterized by experimentation and innovation, cliché-verre has historically been employed during times of change, and now more than ever cliché-verre serves as a bridge between traditional and cutting-edge technologies. Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age investigates contemporary cliché-verre much as previous exhibitions have examined cliché-verre of the Industrial Revolution, and much like their forebearers, the work of the eleven artists in Cliché-Verre in the Digital Age reflects the changing environment and connects us with the past and the future.

Raised in South Africa and based in Cornwall, UK, Jo Bradford, a two-time British Council grant recipient, received her Masters Degree with Distinction in Photography: Critical Practice from University College Falmouth and is a current Artist in Residence at Plymouth College of Art. Her work is featured in Flux in Space on NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 launching April 11 and rendezvousing with the International Space Station before returning to earth. Exhibitions include University of Manchester; Gordon Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; and Kennedy Space Centre, FL.

Professor Emeritus after three decades at the University of Iowa School of Art & Art History and photographer of the acclaimed book, The Oxford Project, Peter Feldstein was an artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College and has exhibited at the Des Moines Art Center, Center for Creative Photography, Walker Art Center, and the Rhode Island School of Design, and has received a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist's Grant and two Polaroid Collection Grants.

Brazil-born graduate of Bryn Mawr College and student of Ansel Adams, Maggie Foskett’s work is included in several permanent collections notably the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, ME. Based in Maine and Florida, her selected solos exhibitions include Bryn Mawr College, PA; Chicago Public Library Center, IL; Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, IN; Farnsworth Museum of Art, Rockland, ME; Fernbank Museum of Arts and Science, Atlanta, GA; National Academy of Arts and Sciences, Washington, DC.

Suzanne Izzo earned her BA and MA from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Georgetown University. Izzo leads workshops on alternative processes in Washington DC and her work has been featured in several exhibitions nationally including an international all-gum exhibition in Flint, Michigan.

Courtney Johnson earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors in Photography and Imaging from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Miami. Johnson will be teaching Cliché-Verre: Drawing with Light, a workshop at a university in Bogotá, Colombia this May where she will be making a guest appearance at the Fourth International Biennale of Photography: Fotografica Bogotá 2011 at Fotomuseo, the National Museum of Photography.

Guggenheim Fellow and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient Fredrik Marsh has notably mounted solo exhibitions at Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH; Technische Sammlungen Dresden, Museen der Stadt Dresden, Dresden, DE; 9th International Photo Gathering, Aleppo, SY; Lianzhou International Photography Festival 2006, Lianzhou, Guangdong Province, CN; International FotoTage Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, DE; Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, OH; and University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. Marsh’s work will be featured in forthcoming KATALOG, published by the Museet for FotoKunst in Odense, Denmark.

Havana-born, Boston-based Guggenheim and Cintas Foundation Fellow Abelardo Morell recently created a body of cliché-verre for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Morell holds a BA from Bowdoin College, MFA from Yale University, and an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College. The Art Institute of Chicago is currently organizing a retrospective exhibition of Morell’s photographs to be held in Chicago and at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2013. Notable permanent collections include The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient and Sonoma, California based artist Fred Parker earned his Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and Masters of Arts from University of California at Davis. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Toledo Art Museum, Toledo, Ohio; Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, Missouri; and Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Based in Mannheim, Germany, Frank Rossi is the co-founder of PENG! artist community. Rossi studied Fine Art at the University of Kassel with acclaimed photogram artist Professor Floris Neusüss, and his work has been featured at UND#3, Karlsruhe, Art Fair; PENG Gesellschaft für Design und Kommunikation, Mainz; Galerie Schofeld, Mannheim; Kunstladen, Mannheim; Photogalerie 94, Ennetbaden, CH - “Schlaflos”; Artmatazz, Luftschutzbunker, Schloss Mannheim; Photoart, Schloss Heidelberg.

David Symons earned his BA with honors from Sunderland University and PGCE in Education from University of Wales, Cardiff. He was an Artist in Residence at University Campus Suffolk, and has exhibited at St David’s Hall, Cardiff; ArtCentral, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan; Eisteddfod, Cardiff; St Donats Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan; the Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff; Jacobs Market, Cardiff; and Warwick Hall Art Studio, Cardiff.

Berlin-based artist Käthe Wenzel’s work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum, New York; Kulanshi Art Center, Astana; Academy of Sciences, Berlin; Landesmuseum Koblenz; Botanical Museum, Berlin; Museum Waidhofen, Waidhofen/Ybbs; Berlin Medical Historical Museum; Museo de San Juan, Puerto Rico; Landesmuseum Koblenz, Koblenz; Kolbe-Museum, Berlin, and is included in the permanent collection of Middle Rhine Museum Koblenz; Szent István Király Múzeum, Székesfehérvár; and German Technical Museum, Berlin.

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