At the Waterʼs Edge

At the Waterʼs Edge

st. david's, wales by stephen hughes

Stephen Hughes

St. David's, Wales, 1988

Thursday, July 7, 2011Friday, August 26, 2011


New York, NY USA

At the Waterʼs Edge
July 7 – August 26, 2011
Opening reception: Thursday, July 7, 6-8pm

From baptisms to beach getaways, the waterʼs edge is a site for transformations. With this threshold as its inspiration, Robert Mann Galleryʼs summer exhibition At the Waterʼs Edge includes both historical and contemporary images engaged with those recurrent summer traditions of flocking to the water, either manmade or natural, for a much needed respite. It is no wonder then that the shoreline and the swimming pool have provided numerous photographers with inspiration.

In works by Julie Blackmon and Jeff Brouws, the exciting world of poolside fantasy is revealed from nostalgic memories of our childhood poolside costumes to visiting summer carnivals and watching the stuntman with a sense of marvelous adventure. At the same time, it is as much a place of rigorous exercise as the stage for elaborate theatricality, as shown in Joe Dealʼs winsome view of suburbanite synchronized swimmers.

Moving oceanside, we find sunlit bronzed bodies toned and soft alike in the sandy snapshots of Henry Wessel and Fred Stein. With subjects finding relief from oppressive summers at Coney Island and San Franciscoʼs City Beach we see a virtual promenade of stripped down subjects. Transported to a state of otherness from the everyday, it is no wonder that the beach is not only a place of social display but also the locus of ethereal nature presented as an otherworldliness in images from Harry Callahan and Mary Mattingly. Though made some forty years apart and entirely different in concept and approach, each can be seen to evince an existential doubt that suggests the precariousness of being in the world, and yet the joy and mystery that seem to float at the waterʼs edge.

Such metaphysical suggestions make way for abstractions in the exhibitionʼs final section. With playful abandon Laurent Millet and Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski use the malleability of the shoreline and the seaʼs propensity to render any manmade interventions temporary as the basis for their conceptual constructions. Conversely, Aaron Siskind captured natureʼs chance compositions left by the tide, while new photographs of the California surf by Chip Hooper reveal the beautiful order and chaos of the waterʼs movement. From playful fantasies and humorous cuts of the human comedy to contemplative abstractions, the works on display offer a welcome break from summer squalor!

At the Waterʼs Edge at www.robertmann.com beginning July 7, 2011.

Robert Mann Gallery is located at 210 Eleventh Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets, Floor 10. Summer hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm. For additional information and press materials, contact the gallery by telephone (212.989.7600) or by email (mail@robertmann.com).