Posts Tagged ‘fluorescent light

11
Jul
13

Robbert Flick :: ‘Arena’ Series (Urban Photography)

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f_flick17653

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‘AR77159-21’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1977
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f_flick17701

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‘AR77159-19’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1977
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f_flick17700

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‘AR77156-22’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1977
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flick 9

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‘AR79032-13’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1979
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f_flick17707

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‘AR78119-12A’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1978
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f_flick17758

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‘AR77166-30’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1977
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f_flick17709

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‘AR79026-33’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1979
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f_flick17714

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‘AR79044-10A’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1979
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470_1FLICK_07

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‘AR78101-32’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1978
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f_flick17718

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‘AR79060-19’
‘Arena’ series
16 x 20 in
1979
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What Ansel Adams did for Yosemite, Los Angeles photographer Robbert Flick did for a parking garage in Inglewood. He made the place into the object of his obsession and the focus of his commanding technical skill, and in the process he transformed it into a site of exquisite wonder for us. Obviously there are some differences between Half Dome and parking level 3. One is unique, the other prosaic. But the humdrum anonymity of Flick’s raw subject matter only serves to makes his gorgeous prints more impressive. The subject of parking structures is universal in the modern world, while also standing as an icon for the distinctive urban experience that Los Angeles represents. Flick’s notion of photographing inside a parking garage was not a gimmick or a passing fancy. For more than two years — 1977 through 1979 — he lugged his cameras, lenses, tripods and other equipment to the multistory concrete structure near his studio, and he photographed no other landscape. No cars or people intrude upon the pristine wilderness of this parking structure. It is “an unsettled, uncultivated region left in its natural condition,” as my dictionary defines it…

And it’s gorgeous — a complex construction of imposing planar walls, taut steel cables and orthogonal spaces composed on a multidimensional grid. The labyrinth is infused with a mixture of natural and fluorescent light, which the artist manipulates in the rich tonalities of his exquisite black and white prints. Scuffed pavement, cinder block walls, concrete pillars and directional signs emerge with the physical dignity and emotional gravity of the Pantheon in Rome or the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan. Except for an occasional glimpse of sky, nothing but a man-made environment is ever seen. That’s probably the biggest difference between Flick’s parking structure and Adams’ Yosemite. The Angeleno is incisively photographing within a landscape shaped by the organizing principle of the automobile, rather than the organic template of nature. This is its shrine. In fact two modern machines intersected in the making of Flick’s art — the car and the camera. He calls attention to both simultaneously — the unseen car through subject matter and the unseen camera through a combination of obviously artful composition, exquisite printing technique and frank visual acknowledgment of the pictorial tradition of artistic landscape photography (including Watkins and Adams). Never coy, condescending or ironic, the photographs are instead epic — even primeval. His pictures record the junction of car and camera with sincerity and reverence. And, why not? It is the monumental landscape within which we live… [ Extract :: Christopher Knight – The Los Angeles Times ]

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Robert Mann Gallery

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