New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

States of Flux
Reviewer #1
Jun Ahn, Self Portrait

Aperture’s summer show of recent work from Parsons BFA and MFA graduates includes a wide range of styles, making the exhibit an excellent barometer of emerging photographic trends. The works all had a professional, contemporary gloss to them, so much so that choosing amongst them was as much a matter of this reviewer’s personal taste as it was of image quality.

That said, there was one photographer who stood out: Jun Ahn. Both her large color landscape/self-portraits show the artist overlooking a large city, perched rather precariously on a ledge or on top of a high-rise building. The pictures have a documentary quality (I really hope she has not been PhotoShopped in) giving them a gut-level emotional intensity. You can feel that these pictures mean a great deal to the artist, and I really, really hope she’s careful in the future.

There were a surprising number of very traditional photographs in the show. Notably Ho Chang’s large format, color images of open pit mines in the western US, reminiscent of the Ansel Adams’ Kennecott Copper Mine photos, and the intense, large format images of seemingly hundreds of Korean building signs by Chang Kyun Kim. To be expected in a Parsons show are the many portrait/fashion/food type photos. The most memorable were by Sally Dennison, whose models look out at us solemnly, but whose clothing has been sampled and fused onto the background to produce an even more awkward quality. Merve Unsal’s graphically intriguing collaged and overlapped images from New York Times digital photographs carry heavyweight titles like “Addiction in Cambodia” and “The Tamil Question”, but are printed too small. Rather poorly displayed (dim lights and bad reflections,) they deserve a better presentation.

Finally, the award for the most annoying piece goes to Patrick Taylor, who presents a slideshow of 140 empty New York storefronts, but sets the slides to flash for about a tenth of a second every second or so. Clearly this is an elegy to entrepreneurial endeavors stilled by the failures of overly networked and theorized financial systems (oops, sorry, I just stole that bit from the press release.) But really Pat, cut the crap and just show us the pictures.

States of Flux

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