September 10 - October 15, 2016
Reception: Saturday, September 10, 4-7PM
On view in the gallery offices:
Internationally recognized, Iranian-born portrait photographer, Firooz Zahedi began his career at Andy Warthol’s Interview Magazine. His work subsequently appeared on the covers of TIME, Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as on iconic film posters such as Pulp Fiction. In 1976, he met lifelong friend Elizabeth Taylor and became her personal photographer. His book, My Elizabeth, published earlier this year, is a photographic memoir of their 35-year relationship. However, his exhibition at Craig Krull Gallery ironically subverts these canons of editorial glamour. Discovering the extraordinary effects caused by water damage on old 35mm slides, Zahedi decided to allow this destructive process to become part of his art-making. The altered images are then blown up to painterly proportions of 40x60”. In the exhibit’s catalogue essay, Anne Pasternak, Director of the Brooklyn Museum, states, “by allowing chance encounters…he reveals a beauty that cannot be groomed nor controlled.”
After graduating from Art Center, photographer Alan Shaffer moved to Venice and became immersed in the art scene. In his profession of photographically documenting artwork and exhibitions, Shaffer gained an inside position within the studios of legendary artists such as Ed Moses. Having made casual portraits of Moses over the years, Shaffer proposed that Moses paint on some of these photos that Shaffer had enlarged and printed onto 48x60” canvases. Moses’ signature calligraphic flourishes and stenciled spiders add the presence of the subject through his own hand, but also represent the liberating of Shaffer’s portrait to another uncontrollable agency like Zahedi’s destructive liquids.
At the age of 18, Don Bachardy met the noted British author Christopher Isherwood on the beach in Santa Monica, and the two of them spent their lives together until Isherwood’s death in 1986. While studying at the Chouinard Art Institute, Don began drawing portraits of Chris, who then introduced Don to his circle of illustrious friends. Since then, Bachardy has made thousands of portraits from life, never from photographs. In fact, Bachardy considers all his work a collaboration between himself and his subject, with the final portrait being signed by both himself and the sitter. Like Shaffer and Zahedi's work, an external force comes into play in the creation of Bachardy's portraits. At Craig Krull Gallery, we have mounted exhibitions of Bachardy’s self-portraits, literary figures, Hollywood icons, and LA artists. The new exhibition focuses on portraits of a single man, the artist and longtime Bachardy friend, Peter Alexander. (A Single Man is also, of course, the title of an Isherwood book). These portraits, made over the past 45 years, embody the stylistic developments of the artist as well as the evolving appearance of the sitter.
Finally, in our office areas, we are presenting two additional small exhibitions on the portraiture theme. The first is a group of portraits by Dan McCleary, whom Christopher Knight calls, “one of the finest figure painters working today.” The second is a series of tiny, b/w collages by Rachel Borenstein that layer the same portrait image, one over another, creating what she describes as “a porous and fragmented surface that undermines the singularity of the subject…approaching identity as a palimpsest of experience and memory.”