Michael Eastman: Vanishing America
November 7, 2013– January 11, 2014
New York - Barry Friedman, Ltd. is pleased to present Michael Eastman’s America, a solo exhibition of photographs from three of the artist’s distinctive series, Vanishing America, Horses, and Landscapes. This exhibition, the artist’s fourth at Barry Friedman Ltd, will open with a reception on Thursday, November 7th, from 6:00-8:00 PM.
Eastman explores the essence of America through its architecture, landscape, and iconic images. The large format C-prints of Vanishing America depict a disappearing landscape of diners, movie theaters, bars, bowling alleys, juke joints, and the forgotten outskirts of small towns. Of this series, American historian Douglas Brinkley has written, “Though each photo shows a specific town, all of the photos evoke that same particularly American loneliness in which we share. Virtually in all fifty states- thirty of which Eastman sojourned across with camera in hand to compile Vanishing America – cobwebbed symbols of our small-town past lurk amongst the shiny newness of our fast-food junctions and Eisenhower Interstate exits. The sheer thrust of American Dynamism has simply left Main Street unloved. But if your eyes gaze at these neglected roadside monuments long enough, you can be transported back to the time when Main Street was the epicenter of most communities.”
Photographic processes and advanced printmaking techniques developed by Eastman are evident in these new series of Horses & Landscapes, revisiting his investigations of these truly mythic animals and vast open spaces with large-scale, hand-varnished monochromatic photographs. “These new bodies of work culminates long exploration into creating prints that utilizing multiple centuries' of knowledge and experience in photography, printmaking and painting,” explains Eastman. “By applying multiple coats of the oil glaze made from Rembrandt's 17th century formulas and then lacquering the surface of 100% rag digital prints made with 21st century’s ink jet technology, I find these prints to be rich in ways that I have always strived to produce, but until now, never could have achieved with conventional photography. These prints are both painterly and photographic. They are analog and digital.”
Los Angeles Times Art Critic, Leah Ollman states, “Walker Evans' legacy is evident throughout Eastman's work: a love of the vernacular, a consistent, frontal approach, and a fondness for…time and neglect. Photographs keep a subject alive and at the same time mark its passing. The friction between a photograph's perpetual now and its memorial then can saturate an image with poignancy… This dynamic plays out powerfully in Michael Eastman's photographs.”
Michael Eastman was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1947. The range of his oeuvre is diverse, including his photographic series of Cuba, Italy, Portugal, and the effulgent architectural environs in Urban Luminosity. His publications include his most recent Havana (Prestel, 2010), Vanishing America (Rizzoli, 2008), and Horses (Knopf, 2003), and his photographs are featured in Rainer Maria Rilke’s book Auguste Rodin, published by Archipelago Press. Eastman has been a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant, and has been published in Time, Life, and The New York Times. His photographs are included in numerous public and private collections including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.