Amy Adler in the Nøstetangen room
The American artist Amy Adler is exhibiting in the Nøstetangen room from 23 March to 31 July 2012. The exhibition shows the work Director, a series of 12 large pastel drawings made in 2006.
The Los Angeles-based artist has been working in the exciting borderland between photography and drawing since around 1990. She first became known for questioning the relationship between original and copy, a legacy she inherited from 1980s artists, such as Sherrie Levin, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons. Her own way of doing this was by making drawings based on photographs, either portraits of herself or of famous film actors.
Although she draws from photographs and still images and simplifies in a way that is basically impersonal, Adler has managed to create a very characteristic pictorial language. This shows that despite the fact that she processes well-known visual forms and the structures of the mass media, there is plenty of room for an individual hand and an individual gaze. The exhibition is a result of and a celebration of the fact that this work after this exhibition enters the Drammens Museum's permanent art collection. This is a magnificent gift where this valuable work is given to the museum by Amy Adler herself and her two gallerists in Berlin, Atle Gerhardsen and Nicolai Gerner-Mathisen in Galerie Gerhardsen Gerner.
The American artist Amy Adler is exhibiting in Nøstetangenrommet in the period March 23-31. July 2012. The exhibition shows the work Director, a series of 12 large pastel drawings made in 2006. The Los Angeles-based artist has since the beginning of 1990 worked in the exciting borderland between photography and drawing. She first became known for questioning the relationship between original and copy, a legacy she inherited from 1980s artists, such as Sherrie Levin, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons. Her own way of doing this was by making drawings from photographs, either portraits of herself, anonymous, friends or of famous film actors. These drawings were then photographed. She then destroyed the "original drawing" and contented herself with exhibiting the photograph of it as a unique work. Only one photographic print was made, so it was the only "original" left after this three-part procedure. The work with these three links in the image process made her particularly sensitive to the changing surface character of the images. The first photograph and the drawing after that each had its own surface quality, and in the remaining photographed drawing, these two qualities were mixed into something completely new and unusual. It was probably this interest in the qualities that lie in the surface that made her around 2005 start drawing with pastels on canvas. This was an unusual combination, and the pastel pen's encounter with the rugged surface of the canvas weave created a distinctive expression. Amy Adler sees this as an extension of the surrealists' - especially Max Ernst's use of the frottage technique, where a pattern emerges by rubbing color pigment over a rough surface. The lines and color fields in the Director become partly white, partly slightly gray (silvery), and the whole thing gets a shimmering, semi-transparent expression. By using such an unusual, hybrid, way of drawing, the artist insists on the uniquely dense and physical of the medium, ie a turn away from the previous method: motif-photography-drawing-photography, where precisely the media's distinctiveness was shifted and mixed.
In the drawings, she uses either a photorealistic approach or a more slacker method, such as when you "overlay" and trace an image in a weekly magazine. Adler draws with a great deal of simplification and frugality. The figures are shaped with a precise precision and simplification. In the series Director, in the sense of "Director", she has omitted all background and "deep-etched" the figure with the camera, a method used by book designers and advertising people to highlight an object's iconic shape. The only thing she brings is the character's sharp shadow, the result of the sun in Southern California, which in its time was one of the reasons why the film industry began filming in Hollywood and Burbank.
Although she draws from photographs and still images and simplifies in a way that is basically impersonal, Adler has managed to create a very characteristic pictorial language. This shows that despite the fact that she processes well-known visual forms and the structures of the mass media, there is plenty of room for an individual hand and an individual gaze. We see the individual gaze not least in the Director series. By isolating the character in the field of view and acting actively with the camera, we see how the visual dynamics of a film depend on the director's physical location in relation to the scene to be filmed. She shifts the focus from the result to the origin of the result, namely the director's influence on the film that we do not see here. But by this we are instead made aware that the visual artist in this case is also a director of images. The young woman with the camera becomes a representative of the young artist with camera and pastel chalk in front of the easel. We see here a shift of focus, a method she had used already in the series Young Photographer, where a little boy uses Adler's first camera in his study of the outside world's potentially infinite number of images. Seeing is performed not only with the eyes, but with gestures and the whole body in motion. The subject gives the viewer visual impulses to which the viewer - whether it is a photographer or a film photographer - reacts physically. We can almost say that the photographer is "filmed" or "photographed" - ie "drawn" by the subject. The new physical situation the filmmaker finds himself in, influenced by the subject's possibilities, in turn affects the camera angle and the section being filmed. That this is an important theme for Adler, that movement and gestalt are conditioned by something we can not see, shows the saithe Phantom Instrument, where the drawings show a female musician playing, but where the instrument is omitted from the picture. An awareness of the dynamic, dialogical connection between motif and films / director, can again influence the way we as the audience experience these large drawings. The subject and camera holder are mutually choreographed.
Behind this artistry, and especially the series Director, lies the 1960s and 70s pop art, with its fascination for pop culture, mass media and celebrities. Andy Warhol is the pioneer here, and the first to seriously mix media and techniques, with him photography, screened newspaper prints, silkscreen prints and canvas painting. Not least, Warhol's great success both among professionals and the general public is that he managed to double-code the images, so that they were both formally elaborated and referred to phenomena outside the art world and with which everyone has a relationship. So too with Age. It is a link to a phenomenon that everyone knows in that she sometimes draws with light pastel colors on a dark surface, which is a common method in the drawing lessons at school and used by illustrators and tourist photographers. Here she shows a democratization of the art expression, in that she uses both a popular, effective technique and an academically educated way of shading, the classic way of producing even light shadow and shape modeling. Here the street artist meets who prints pictures with pastel chalk on the sidewalk and Paul Cadmus. So this with references to popular culture and the everyday is also seen in Adler, where the cultivation of youth and sporty elegance is seen in the training clothes and sneakers and in the informal, lively hair weave. We see the formalistic and abstract in how the director's sunglasses are part of a pattern with other round shapes, such as the camera's lenses and the arches of the film reels. The locks of hair also become an echo of all the round and curved lines in the film camera.
The series shows twelve images, a logic that belongs to image short stories, comic strips and the film routes in a traditional cellophane film. The fact that the young director is very physically active also reveals Adler's interest in performance art, a sister of modern dance, where i.a. "Ordinary, ordinary movements" are stylized and choreographed. This work is also important as an example of how young women today lift the legacy of the neo-feminists in the 1960s and 70s and today appear as many, talented and liberated artists in international contemporary art, of which Amy Adler is such an important representative. for. They are also starting to make their debut in feature films, even though we only see the beginning there. Is Director announcing a new, bigger wave of female feature film directors? For this shows a young woman - in the role of both visual artist and director - who takes responsibility for her own gaze and who sends her artistic gaze on the surroundings out into the world.
Identity, femininity, youth, dream, imagination, desired and forced roles, are phenomena that are constantly addressed in the literature about Amy Adler's art. That being a young woman today also means being shaped by an increasingly pervasive mass-mediated world. Before social media, femininity was dreamed and tried out through movies, magazines, fashion clothes, correspondence, memory books, friend meetings and disco visits with the gang. The influence of the family is not left out, one's own inner qualities and reflection are not left out, but in the western world of recent decades, subjectivity and personality are something that is increasingly tested and shaped in relationships with others, through the media. It is this distance and these shifts that Adler uses in his study of young femininity. This is what lies behind her drawings of herself as a sensual and lush "Midtsidepike", in the series where she, as a California Odalian of today, is portrayed in white and ocher pastel chalk on warm, red paper in the Centerfold series. The goddesses of Olympus are just as likely to be the young woman next door. The exotic odalis of the 19th century, surrounded by the seductive elegance of orientalism, have been replaced by a healthy American girl in a checkered sports shirt. In a project where identity and roles are explored through mass media reflections, where one seeks to resemble what one already resembles, that is, to find ideals that resemble oneself, but are not, it is not entirely unexpected that Adler auditioned there young , unknown actors could apply for a job as a stand in for Amy Adler herself. She found someone who looked like her, photographed her in her own apartment, on the edge of the bed, with the guitar and with her own cat, drew it out and called the series A Woman of No Importance. This has become a very original work, because the actress seems to blend right into the environment, as a type and role she fits into Adler's surroundings. Identity is played in this artistry towards anonymity. And it's part of the truth about a youth world where fame is something everyone can aspire to, not something you have to be born into or something you have to be chosen for, but something you can achieve with your own efforts - and the game of chance. Also in this lies a democratic impulse in Amy Adler's art. So in the role of "Amy Adler at home", this actor, even if there was no star fame, has achieved his "quarterly fame", as Andy Warhol so aptly put it about our time where celebrities are created and rejected as quickly as other news . The side view of the film industry and popular culture is natural for an artist who was born in New York, but grew up in California and who currently lives in Los Angeles.
Director has previously been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego in 2006. By looking at this work in the soft lighting of the Nøstetangen room, some of the Director's qualities come out even more clearly. By showing large white canvases with silvery images that slowly emerge from the canvas, we sense that these images are developed as a photographed image appears on the paper. The images look pale, almost overexposed. By hanging them quite close together, relatively high up on the wall, we also see that they form a frieze in the room. The actual mounting method in the Nøstetangen room will also be an example of the double coding in Director: classic - and contemporary. It is a visual staging of the combination, where something is actualized, is called out to us here and now in a room where beautiful, sensual objects from the past disappear into the historical depths of the mirror inside the showcases, which is the very idea behind the solo project at Drammens Museum.
The exhibition is a result of and a celebration of the fact that this work after this exhibition enters the Drammens Museum's permanent art collection. This is a magnificent gift where this valuable work is given to the museum by Amy Adler herself and her two gallerists in Berlin, Atle Gerhardsen and Nicolai Gerner-Mathisen in Galerie Gerhardsen Gerner. The work will be a solid addition to the museum's fine collection of Norwegian and international drawings from recent decades.
Åsmund ThorkildsenMuseum director and curator of the Solo project
Monday to Friday 11.00 - 15.00
Wednesday 11.00 – 18.00 (afternoon from 15.00 – 18.00 free admission)
Saturday 11.00 – 16.00 (free admission)
Sunday 11.00 – 16.00