Calendar of flowers, gin bottles, steak bones
works by Moyra Davey, Claire Pentecost and James Welling
Fri. Nov. 30, 6–8, Book launch for Felicity Scott's Architecture or Techno-utopia: Politics After Modernism, (MIT Press, 2007)
Sun., Dec. 9: Screening and discussion with Claire Pentecost and Jennifer Montgomery
Orchard presents calendar of flowers, gin bottles, steak bones, an exhibition of photographs by Claire Pentecost, James Welling and Moyra Davey, organized by Davey.
The title comes from the Journals of John Cheever (drinker, dog owner, lover of cut flowers). One day about twelve years ago, a blurred picture of an empty Johnnie Walker bottle turned up at the tail end of a contact sheet. It was a misfire, but I continued to take pictures of liquor bottles when they'd attained this state of depletion. Someone mentioned Morandi, I saw the totality of the images as a calendar, a marker of time denoted by a particular type of consumption.
Claire's six-feet high gelatin silver prints (titled Appetites), and ten-inch palladium prints are about types of consumption as well: cigarettes, meat, doughnuts, high fructose corn syrup, ipods, Maker's Mark, Hooka smoke, plus all the stuff of the world that's more or less of a force-feeding. Sometimes a Buddha-belly defiantly pokes through, asserting its claim to just "be" in the midst of all this. There's a sense of it all happening in a kind of slowed down, mythic time, in stark contrast to what's being referenced: a world that is high speed, high tech and deeply sinister.
In an interview, Jim and Lynne Tillman talk about the "present-ness" of his flower pictures, that they seem almost to be alive, transitioning before our eyes. It's true that the "that has been quality" of photographs that Roland Barthes identified is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when we look at the flowers. That said, it's a testimony to Jim's ability to invoke multiple registers of association in his works that my first thoughts upon seeing this series were of the sapphire and indigo photograms of algae by 19th century botanist Anna Atkins, some of the very earliest iterations of the medium.
Opening reception accompanied by blue ruin: Sunday, November 18. 6–8