by John NeffWindow display on view May 9 - May 31, 2009
The Analog Hole (or “Abundance”) is a new installation for RIGHT WINDOW Gallery by Chicago-based artist John Neff. The term “analog hole” refers to the difficulty of controlling rights to non-interactive digital media during playback. Coined by the Motion Picture Association of America, “analog hole” was quickly corrupted by the vernacular into “a-hole”. Neff’s recent digital-to-analog photographic process involves shooting digital images, creating hand-collaged acetate internegatives from those images, and printing his negatives as cyanotype photographs (or blueprints.) At RIGHT WINDOW gallery, the artist’s elaborate print-making process embodies the rich possibility offered by the analog hole.
Neff was one of three artists commissioned to create special projects for Photo Miami this year. His project, Father, can't you see I'm burning mixed images of nude male bathers with pieces based on his ongoing series depicting a nautical history of the United States. Exploring transparency and opacity, the bather images, large-format cyanotype prints, were presented on the specially constructed transparent exterior wall of his exhibition booth. The nautical subject – a monitor-bound digital image based on U.S. military photos of the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and a collection of cyanotype reproductions of news clippings about that incident – were shown in the booth's dim interior, a space that was furnished to resemble a makeshift workspace. The project's title, Father, can't you see I'm burning?, was drawn from a Slavoj Zizek text that discusses the relationship between external violence and internal traumas in psychoanalysis, by way of a Freudian dream.
At RIGHT WINDOW Gallery, Neff will apply acetate negatives to the space’s front windows, transforming their panes into interpenetrated representations of an enlarged computer desktop and a small business storefront. Inside the gallery, prints made onto a variety of found fabrics will hang from lines stretched across the space. (Cyanotype prints are, in fact, developed in a water wash). Sorting, washing, folding, and hanging images out to dry, Neff will transform RIGHT WINDOW Gallery into a laundromat of sorts. As with his recent series, Bathers and Other Liquid Pictures (2007), Neff’s new project foregrounds watery studies of nude figures to suggest a return to the primacy of subjectivity in the visual arts.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: John Neff presented a commisioned artist project at the 2008 PhotoMiami art fair in Miami and premiered a new body of work, Basic or Boring Pictures, in a solo project at the 2009 Armory Show in New York with Western Exhibitions. His recent solo shows include Bathers and Other Liquid Pictures at Western Exhibitions in Chicago and Nocturnes for Boston at Proof Gallery in Boston. Neff’s 2006 solo show at Western Exhibitions was reviewed in several publications, including, TimeOut Chicago and Art Papers, where critic Anthony Elms called Neff “the most ambitious emerging artist regularly exhibiting in Chicago.”
Neff’s work has been discussed in Art in America, Artnet Magazine, Frieze, The Chicago Tribune, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Neff’s work has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Location One (NYC), and Chicago Cultural Center, Donald Young Gallery, Gallery 400, all in Chicago. His work is in the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Neff received grants from Artadia and the Illinois Arts Council in 2002 and was a 2007 nominee for The Altoids® Award. His work Neff received a MFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2001. Neff lives and works in Chicago.
RIGHT WINDOW Gallery: RIGHT WINDOW Gallery is a collaboration of twelve San Francisco artists and curators who pool resources to create street level venue for visual art. Because the exhibition space is small—it’s literally the right display window of a Valencia Street store front—the Gallery aims for creative uses of the space. Neff’s exhibition during May 2009 is curated by Cassie Riger. Riger’s last project for RIGHT WINDOW Gallery was Looking But Not Touching, a four-part performance series featuring over 30 artists, writers, and musicians, all free and available to pedestrians on Valencia Street in May 2008.