First solo show in USA by Lebanese photographer, Serge Najjar, opens today!

We are excited to present A Closer Look at the Ordinary, the first solo exhibition in the USA by Beirut born photographer Serge Najjar. The show opens January 6 and runs through February 25, 2017.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, January 6 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The artist will be present.

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From New York to Beijing, countless strangers dash across city streets in a constant state of frenzy, rushing to their destinations. But every now and then we see someone pause, marveling at his or her surroundings. It is this stillness that Serge Najjar seeks, with one simple guideline, “It is not about what you see but how you see it.”

Five years ago Najjar started photographing the interaction of people and architecture in his native Beirut. Influenced by the work of Kazimir Malevich, Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, and Alexander Rodchenko, Najjar took to the streets, focusing his lens on daily routines: construction workers sitting on a building ledge during lunch break, the sharp lines of a high-rise facade, a man looking out an open window, and children sitting on a windowsill. Whether working in Beirut, Munich or other places he visits, Najjar’s vision is unwavering – to show other people what they may not see themselves. As he states:

“There is no such thing as an ideal place to photograph, or an ideal city. Architecture inspires me, but my whole approach towards photography is to focus on what people consider as common… the people I photograph are complete strangers. I never plan where I go and what or who to shoot. My images are faithful to what I see. And every single Saturday morning I am convinced that I will never capture the picture I had the chance to capture the week before…. It is a thin line between the ugly and the beautiful, the ordinary and the extraordinary, between chaos and order.“

A Closer Look at the Ordinary celebrates the powerful relationship between man and architecture. Through quiet photographs, Serge Najjar creates a dialogue about city living, and the stillness that can exist, if we slow down and focus on the ordinary.

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Visit CEG’s website to see all the images in the exhibition!

Today Is History: Kate Breakey, Dan Estabrook & Jerry Spagnoli Opening Reception

We are excited to present three photographers in Today is History, which examines the use of early photographic techniques among today’s practitioners. Work by Kate Breakey, Dan Estabrook and Jerry Spagnoli will be featured. The show opens November 4 and runs through December 31, 2016.

Opening reception:
Friday, November 4, 2016
5:00 – 7:30pm

Gallery view - Today is History exhibition
Gallery view – Today is History exhibition

First it was questioned as art. Then painters used it as a tool. Decades later it was still defending itself as a viable art form. And now, more than 175 years after its inception, photography is an exalted medium, embraced by galleries, collectors and museums worldwide. While photographers engage with new technologies and new means of presentation, many artists working today still incorporate historical techniques in their work. Today is History brings together three artists who work with 19th / 20th c. processes to talk about present day concerns.

Kate Breakey (B. 1957 Adelaide, South Australia) is best known for her large-scale photographic work with birds and flowers that she painstakingly brings back to life with colored pencils. These pieces can be seen in two monographs, Small Deaths (2001) and Flowers/Birds (2003). In 2014, Breakey turned her focus to the land, and the small details of everyday life: a hummingbird resting on a tree limb, a wilting tulip, figs on a counter, the moon setting over the mountain, trees swaying in the evening dusk. Produced as Orotones (prints made on glass and backed with 23k gold leaf) Breakey creates small objects that command our attention, using an early technique to comment on the beauty, fragility and simplicity of her daily surroundings.

Kate Breakey's salon style installation
Kate Breakey’s salon style installation

For more than 30 years, Dan Estabrook’s (b. 1969 Boston, MA) work has been at the intersection of yesterday and today. Working with salt prints, calotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, Estabrook creates art that echoes his life, loves, desires and fears. Like many practitioners before him, he turns the camera on himself to make contemporary works inspired by the gap between today’s photographic perfection and the past’s technical limitations. As he states: “Using 19th-century techniques and celebrating their flaws and failures, I make seemingly anonymous photographs in order to re-imagine a more personal and dream-like history of photography, seen from a 21st-century perspective. With these processes, I can create my own ‘found photos’ – highly personal objects in which to hide my own secrets and stories.”

Jerry Spagnoli (b. 1956 New York City, NY) is credited as today’s preeminent photographer working with the daguerreotype, a polished copper plate treated with mercury vapor. Using this material, Spagnoli has photographed significant historical events, including the horrors of the World Trade Center and the beauty of Times Square on the eve of the Millennium. In his 2012 series, Glasses, Spagnoli tackles the reflective quality of everyday water glasses. As he states, “Ultimately my use of various materials and methods is centered in my desire to make complicated stories out of the everyday world, which is my apparent subject matter. Photography allows me to engage viewers with images and ideas which are filtered through the abstracting apparatus of the camera and woven into the matrix of its rich history.”

Today is History: Kate Breakey, Dan Estabrook & Jerry Spagnoli
November 4 – December 31, 2016
Please visit our website to view all images in this exhibition.

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Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline – Leigh Merrill

We are excited to feature the work of Leigh Merrill as the next Ctrl+P: Photography Taken Offline artist. Merrill’s photographs and videos will be on view September 9 – October 29, 2016!

Leigh Merrill’s work examines the construction of desire, fiction and beauty in our urban landscapes. The subjects in Merrill’s photographs are often created from ubiquitous objects and architecture. Familiar elements such as the lawn, manicured and manipulated plants, new buildings mimicking other eras and locations, often reveal a culture of perpetual longing. Elements of our constructed environments simulate, or reference other places and histories acting as evidence of desire. Merrill often mixes together the real and the fake in her work to create images of places and objects that challenge our expectations or reveal the simulacrum in our environments.

White Street, 2009
White Street, 2009

Merrill’s process begins by making thousands of individual photographs, videos, and audio recordings while exploring a city or neighborhood. In the studio, she then digitally assembles these sources to create photographs and videos of imaginary spaces. Some of the images have some veracity, but more often they suggest a visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small detail or object that fascinated her. These composite images function as a metaphor to the ways in which desire and control is physically constructed in the landscape.

Lemmon at Mahanna Street, 2012 (still from video)
Lemmon at Mahanna Street, 2012 (still from video)

Leigh Merrill received her BFA from the University of New Mexico and her MFA from Mills College (Oakland, CA). Merrill’s work has been a part of exhibitions throughout the United States in venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the diRosa Art Preserve, The Lawndale Art Center, the Tremaine Gallery, Fotofest International, and the Museum of Texas Tech University. Merrill’s work has been included in online and print publications such as the Design Observer/Places Journal, Dwell.com, BLDGBLOG blog, PaperCity Magazine, and the Washington Post. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University, the City of Phoenix, the California Institute of Integral Studies, as well as various private collections. Merrill currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas, where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

LINKS:
Leigh Merrill website
Aint–Bad
Dwell
Lenscratch
Places Journal

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Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an exciting venture at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, CEG introduces Chicagoans to new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person’s work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended — in print.

Clarissa Bonet: City Space + Stray Light opening reception!

We are thrilled to present our first solo exhibition for Clarissa Bonet, whose photographic work is garnering terrific international press! City Space + Stray Light runs from September 9 – October 29, 2016.

The opening reception is Friday, September 9,  5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The artist will be in attendance.

The concept of place, and our relationship to it, is at the heart of Clarissa Bonet’s work, who was born and raised in Tampa, Florida – a coastal port city known for its amazing climate, sports teams, national defense outposts, and healthcare businesses. While the city is currently undergoing a population growth, it used to be a quiet place dominated by the warm gulf water. In 2010, Bonet moved to Chicago to attend graduate school at Columbia College Chicago. She immediately noticed the density of the city, its people, and its traffic. As she wandered the city, she was stunned by the isolation she felt among the throngs of people rushing along the sidewalks. It was this feeling that led her to City Space, an ongoing body of work about individuality in a large city.

Mixed Use, 2016
Mixed Use, 2016

Walking for hours, Bonet uses her phone to photograph the interactions between people, architecture and light. Later, she would revisit these places and recreate the feeling she had first experienced, hiring models to play specific roles at the precise time of day when the light was perfect. The resulting photographs are carefully staged memories that appear to be snapshots of everyday city life. As she states: “The urban space is striking. Its tall and mysterious buildings, crowds of anonymous people, and endless sea of concrete constantly intrigue me. The images I create provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.”

In Progress, 2016
In Progress, 2016

In 2014, Bonet embarked on a second ongoing project, Stray Light, which looks at the anonymity of people in their homes at night. Bonet photographs once the sun sets, capturing the colorful glows from hotel and apartment windows.  Back in her studio, she carefully constructs each image from multiple photographs, transforming the urban cityscape into a constellation, as the mind tries to organize the information presented. Ultimately, the viewer is left dazzled by the glow emanating from windows that fill the city skies, much like the stars do on a clear night, far away from the lights of an urban landscape.

SL.2016.0215 NYC, 2016
SL.2016.0215 NYC, 2016

Clarissa Bonet (b. 1986) has already exhibited in numerous group shows in the United States. Her work can be found in the collections of the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, FL), The Haggerty Museum (Milwaukee, WI) and the JP Morgan Art Collection (New York, NY), as well as many private collections. Recent press includes articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Week, and PDN, among others.

The entire show can be viewed on our website!

September…. what’s ahead

September is here and we are very excited about our upcoming exhibitions and events! Here are a few to add to your calendar. Stay tuned as we continue to develop the schedule…

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Clarissa Bonet: City Space + Stray Light
Opening reception with artist: Friday, September 9, 5-8p
September 9 – October 29, 2016

We are thrilled to present our first solo exhibition for Clarissa Bonet, whose photographic work is garnering terrific international press! To read more about the show and see all the images click here.

Mixed Use, 2016
Mixed Use, 2016 © Clarissa Bonet

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EXPO CHICAGO 2016
September 22 – September 25, 2016
Booth: 247
Navy Pier 600 E Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60611

Entering its fifth edition in 2016, EXPO CHICAGO presents artwork from 140 leading galleries from around the world. Visit our website to see the work we will feature in our booth this year.

CEG’s Promo Video for Michael Kenna: New Work Exhibition

Here is a short behind the scenes video of Michael Kenna: New Work installation and the subsequent opening reception. Speckle, sand, paint, and repeat! Installing an exhibition might not be the most glamorous job, but seeing people’s faces in awe of Michael’s work makes it all worth it in the end. Kenna’s work will be on view through September 2.