560 Broadway Ste. 601
Feb. 11-Mar. 17, 2012
Is it true that “formalism is everything” in the sometimes strange, sometimes picturesque still lifes of the New York photographer Jan Groover (1943-2012)? Sure, her compositions of plain cutlery, kitchen tools, dishes and plates and even the rows of Morandi-esque bottles are brutally matter-of-fact at the same time that they’re beautiful. Groover, it is said, wasn’t interested in any kind of romantic reading of her works.
But you cannot deny the poetry of everyday objects like these without at the same time invoking abstract thought, some kind of heuristics, some epistemology, some phenomenology of spirit. That cutlery sitting like an alien in the sink, is it not a Zen koan? That shot of the tail-end of a car, caught as it leaves the picture frame, is it not a statement on quantum physics?
Groover died early this year at age 68 in Montpon-Ménésterol, France, where she had lived since 1991 with her husband, the painter Bruce Boice. They were very much a part of the SoHo art scene in the ‘70s and after, and left for France as do many American expatriates, in search of a more civilized place (and one where you could still smoke). This humble yet stunning memorial exhibition, well worth a journey to the SoHo tourist district, features 37 photographs dating from 1973 to 2003.