New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Ulrich Gebert
This Much is Certain
Reviewer #1

Their are two parts to this show, the first being a series of black and white photos mostly of various veterinary procedures being performed on farm animals, along with a stray dog or wild animal picture. The style is grainy, – with ben-day dots no less – to reinforce the dark, 1950’s, “oppressed miners of Wales” look. The message is rather facile and misplaced to someone with experience working with farm and domestic animals; firm hands and and a sure grasp are beneficial to all the creatures concerned (both human and non.)

The second part of the show is more interesting, continuing in that most basic of photographic functions, cataloging the world; in this case various families of coniferous trees. Gebert apparently traveled around the world to photograph rare and interesting specimens, and they are presented in groups of 5 to 7 separately framed images, each frame labeled with an out-dated scientific name. The pictures are straightforward, undramatic, technically impeccable, with what was probably the hardest part, each tree clearly defined and visible. One gets the quiet satisfaction of seeing the variations that have evolved in these widespread families of trees.

This of course is not enough for a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, London, so each set of pictures comes with a silk-screened “List of In-valid Names” a list showing a change in the taxonomic classification of each of the trees in the photographs. Neither the old nor the new names are dated, so it is unclear what this is supposed to mean. (The advent of DNA sequencing technology has had a tremendous effect on taxonomy.) Fortunately, the gallery press release assures us that the work “alludes to the darker side of cataloging nature, specifically with regards to totalitarian categorizations of humans.”

The groups of tree pictures are conveniently priced in Euro’s (5,500 to 6,500) so with the falling dollar, the pictures become more expensive every day - buy now!

Ulrich Gebert
This Much is Certain

Winkleman Gallery
621 W 27th St.
Chelsea         Map

212 643 3152

Friday, January 8 to
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Hours: Tues - Sat, 11 to 6