November 15, 2010

Rita Bernstein and Martine Fougeron at Gallery 339, Philadelphia

Martine Fougeron: After Prom - from the Tête-à-Tête Project
Rita Bernstein: Ghost of Summer
Gallery 339, Fine Art Photography, Philadelphia
Through January 29, 2011

Gallery 339 in Philadelphia presents two solo exhibitions through January 29, 2011.

After Prom, the latest chapter in MARTINE FOUGERON’s Tête-à- Tête Project.  In 2005, Fougeron began photographing her sons, presenting the subtle, beautiful details of daily life through informal portraits of these young teenagers.  As the project broadened to consider the relationships between the sons and among their circle of friends, Fougeron observed that most photography about teenage boys has portrayed dysfunction rather than the routine angst, exuberance, and rebelliousness that characterize adolescence.  Continuing to focus on day-to-day moments and seeming non-events, Fougeron chose to present what she saw as a more representative portrait of teenage life—filled not with despair, but with the rich and complex drama of growing up.  With After Prom, Martine Fougeron closes the adolescent phase of Tête- à-Tête, examining a key rite of passage—the post-prom party. Fougeron captures the abandon and the ambivalence of this moment when the comfort of what is familiar begins to slip away.

Ghost of Summer is an exhibition of recent images by photographer RITA BERNSTEIN. The scale and intimacy of these remarkable photographs belie the complexity and daring of Bernstein’s work.  Her images walk a delicate tightrope; they evoke a sense of memory and of keenly felt private thoughts, yet their poignancy is controlled and perfectly modulated by their austerity and ambiguity.  They are tender and mysterious, yet never stray into the sentimental. Bernstein further explores this dichotomy of heart versus mind through her print-making process, which demands a high level of skill yet remains uncertain and serendipitous. The process involves liquid silver emulsion applied to delicate Japanese Gampi paper.  With the fragility of the paper, it is impossible to produce a flawless print or make a print that is identical to an earlier one. Rita Bernstein accepts and even embraces this inability to wholly control the process.  It imparts individuality and subtle imperfections that are in accord with the vulnerability and humanity of her images.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

November 12, 2010 - January 29, 2011