521 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent photographs by Bing Wright. The exhibition will be on view at 521 West 21st Street, from September 14 through October 23.
The exhibition includes works from Wright’s photographic series Silver Prints and Silver on Mirror. In both, Wright pays tribute to the history and central role of silver in the process of photographic printing. Wright states, “With silver being the building block of photography, I decided to focus on the subject of silver itself; making ‘silver prints’ that were literally images of silver.” He continues:
In the fall of 2007 I had concluded that the alchemical magic of the silver-based medium was dying a slow death and decided to do one last project before dismantling my darkroom. I photographed silver leaf on glass, often allowing a shadow to be cast, and when the ‘silver print’ was still wet fresh out of the bath I randomly dropped pieces of silver leaf that adhered and became part of the picture plane of the photograph itself. I then allowed the adhered silver to age and color to various degrees before ultimately sealing the tarnishing process with a thin wax coat, a traditional protective material used since the nineteenth century. I entitled the resulting images simply ‘Silver Prints’ and dedicated them individually to various nineteenth-century masters of the medium. Later in 2009 I began work on the Silver on Mirror photos. John Szarkowski’s important Windows and Mirrors exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1978 had been formative to my early interest in the medium and ever since…I have tried making pictures using a mirror as the subject. For years I had been fascinated by the correlation between a photo and a mirror, both being silver-based picture planes. So I played with the picture plane of the mirror in the same way as I had done with the Silver Prints.
In addition, Wright will present a daguerreotype made in collaboration with Jerry Spagnoli. Formed by a complex technique that produces detailed images on highly polished, silver-clad copper plate, the daguerreotype was developed by Louis Daguerre in 1839 and was one of the first successful photographic processes.
Finally the exhibition will include Fly Disaster Scroll, a 12-foot long scroll of silk and paper that expands upon his photographs of the scattered remains of flies. Like traditional hand-painted Chinese and Japanese scrolls, Wright presents continuous photographic imagery as an extended narrative.
To celebrate the publication of Everyday Pictures, a monograph that surveys Wright’s work from 1989 to 2006, a book-signing event will be held at the gallery. The book includes a conversation between the artist and renowned art historian Hal Foster. The book-signing event on September 25, from 4pm to 6pm, will provide an opportunity to meet the artist.
Bing Wright was born in Seattle in 1958 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Columbia University, New York. His photographs have been shown in exhibitions at the Tang Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs (2007), the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1991) and the Queens Museum of Art, New York (1986), among others. His work can be found in several museums collections including The Museum of Modern Art and the Seattle Art Museum. He lives and works in New York City.