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Phantastic Photographs

Wednesday, October 08, 1986–Saturday, November 01, 1986

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Artists: Duane Michals, Hatty Van Zak, Boyd Webb, and the collaborative team Barbara Ciurej, and Lindsay Lochman

In Phantastic Photographs, Gallery 400 presents color photographs by Duane Michals, Hatty Van Zak, Boyd Webb, and the collaborative team Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman. Each creating his or her own unique world, these artists exhibited elaborately choreographed, large to huge images in luxurious color. United in a sensibility that is simultaneously eerie, lush and nostalgic, the photographs address themes of fantasy, sensuality and sexuality.

Boyd Webb, originally of New Zealand but now living and working in Bristol and London, fabricates and photographs patently artificial, whimsical outer space landscapes in which small mundane objects and materials loom fantastic and larger than life, and in which the artist himself often appears. Demonstrating the artist ’s imaginative range, Scenes and Songs from Boyd Webb, a videotape, was also screened during the exhibition.

Hatty Van Zak, originally working in Sweden and later in New York, received considerable attention after her solo New York debut in 1985. Gallery 400 presented two of the “Twelve Hotel Rooms,” which are giant-sized color studio prints of elaborately staged tableaux – in which episodes of sexual, colonialist and imperialist exploitation are played out in ten different locations across time and space (e.g. “Palermo, 1914”). The mural-sized cibachromes parody contemporary sexual and narrative clichés, the fetishization of history, and the ingratiating methods of commercial photography.

Duane Michals, a well-known photographer and creator of sequential photo narratives inscribed with text, was represented by such of his works as the Prodigal Son series (1982) and works on dreamy themes combining handwritten texts on single black and white photographs. One larger painted photograph hints at Michals ’ move toward
multi-media productions.

Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman are a Chicago-based collaborative team. They presented Flings and Eros, a witty black and white series on romance, and Fertile Girdle, which explores analogies between female sensuality and the natural world and comparisons between tamed and untamed nature.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Foerstener, Abigail.”Recasting reality into fantasy, with a twist of satire,” Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1986, section 7, pp. 91-92.

“Quintet to show ‘Phantastic Photographs,” At Chicago, October 1, 1986.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Phantastic Photographs is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning.

This exhibition is also partly funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

PRESS RELEASE

Bernard Faucon, Hatty Van Zak, Boyd Webb
Phantastic Photographs

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
October 8–November 1, 1986

Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 8, 1986, 4–6 pm

Gallery 400 will present color photographs by three artists: Boyd Webb, born in New Zealand, lives in Bristol and London, England; Hatty Van Zak currently resides in New York City; Bernard Faucon lives and works in Paris. Each creating a special world, these artists produce elaborately choreographed, large to huge images in luxurious color. United in a sensibility that is simultaneously eerie, lush and nostalgic, the photographs treat very different subjects.

Boyd Webb fabricates and photographs a wacky outerspace landscape in which small mundane objects and materials loom fantastic and larger than life. Hatty Van Zak, with Twelve Hotel Rooms, sets acts of sexual exploitation in distant times and places. The mural-sized Cibachromes parody contemporary sexual and narrative clichés, the current fetishization of history, and the ingratiating methods of commercial photography. Photographing child mannequins in landscapes and interiors, Bernard Faucon simulates a child’s world in which the real is difficult to differentiate from the make-believe.

Postcard: Phantastic Photographs

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

Lindsay Lochman and Barbara Ciurej

Fertile Girdle, 1981
5 silver prints, each 11 x 14 in.

Flings and Eros
, 1981-86
4 silver prints, each 5 x 7 in.

Duane Michaels

Dream, 1984
Oil on photograph, 16 x 20 in.

Earth Dreams, 1984
Photograph, 11 x 14 in.

He Cupped Her Face, 1984
Photograph, 11 x 14 in.

The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1982
5 image photographic sequence, various sizes.

Self-portrait with Feminine Beard, 1982
Photograph, 11 x 14 in.

Hatty Van Zak

Khartoum 1924, 1984
Custom gallery print, 25 x 40 in.

Palermo 1914, 1984
Custom gallery print, 51 x 103 in.

Boyd Webb

Accessories, 1985
Cibachrome, 48 x 60 in.

Bedding, 1985
Cibachrome, 48 x 60 in.

Clenched, 1985
Cibachrome, 48 x 60 in.

Kibbutz, 1985
Cibachrome, 60 x 48 in.

Purchases, 1985
Cibachrome, 48 x 60 in.

Sphagnum, 1985
Cibachrome, 60 x 48 in.