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Nocturnes for Boston

Past exhibition

Curren exhibition

John Neff

Nocturnes for Boston

From: October 25 to November 29, 2008
Opening Reception: October 25, 2008 6-8pm
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The solo exhibition Nocturnes for Boston, the first Boston presentation of work by Chicago-based John Neff, is comprised of large-format toned cyanotype prints and projected transparencies. The figurative images depict historical and recent Boston events involving transvestism (colonists' wearing of Indian garb during the Boston Tea Party) or masking (a study for a memorial to the 2006 death of British citizen Adrian Exley during a breath control / BDSM session in suburban Boston).

Since 2005, Neff has been developing a distinctive photographic method that involves: collecting and generating digital photographic images; printing the images as negative acetate transparencies; collaging together those transparencies on glass to produce figurative images; and, finally, printing his collaged negatives as cyanotype photographs. Often, Neff presents his hand- worked negatives in conjunction with his prints.

For Nocturnes for Boston, Neff has darkened the Proof gallery space and presents a large selection of his glass transparencies as projections from an altered vintage overhead projector. As gallery visitors pass through the projectors' beam, their shadows mingle with the artist's historical reconstructions.

Neff has darkened and tinted his cyanotype prints of nocturnal Boston scenes with tea toning and multiple exposures. Although more conventionally presented, these works also invite intimate engagement from beholders: each is accompanied by a small chapbook outlining detailing the pictures' historical context and citing the images' sources. Compositionally, all of the works in the show are modeled on 18th century British "conversation pictures" and grand portraiture.