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Gerald Slota Untitled 2005
Courtesy the artist and Hasted Hunt

Gerald Slota »


Exhibition: – 4 Feb 2007

George Eastman House

900 East Avenue
NY 14607 Rochester

George Eastman Museum

900 East Avenue
NY 14607 Rochester



Tue-Sat 10-16:30

The starting point of the images in Found is a random accumulation of anonymous twentieth century photographic negatives. The images are quotidian and typical, of couples, children, and groups, usually posed stiffly for the camera, as we have all learned to do. They are of the sort that exist by the millions in our flea markets, attics and collective memory, but the artist has transformed them into oddly beautiful, disturbing and transgressive objects that comment, not only on the world of the past but on photography itself. Singled out, at first, simply by their arbitrary selection, these images are further particularized by the addition of the artist's distinctive drawing, scratching and marking during the printing process. These manipulations serve to contest, exaggerate, distort and underscore the stories the generic images suggest. Photographs have long been esteemed for their flawless, surfaces and the overtones of mechanical perfection and repeatability that such surfaces imply. This aura of the machine may have once troubled those who sought the idiosyncratic marks of the hand as an assurance of artistic quality, but, since the wane of photographic pictorialism, the poreless face of the unsullied photographic print has stood as a standard in both art and craft. By challenging this aesthetic, Slota forces us to look hard at what might otherwise be overlooked. By personalizing and individualizing the commonplace, he creates a haunting and somehow sinister universe in which accidental elements take on huge significance, as a madman might see charge and meaning in the sounds of a radiator or the actions of a neighbor's dog.