Notes From US Route 1
January 20, -February 28, 2010
Opening reception Wednesday, January 20 5:30 - 8:30
In his new body of work, Gordon Stettinius presents Notes From
US Route 1. This collection of color and sepia toned images,
lies somewhere between Robert Frank’s, The Americans and
Alec Soth’s, Sleeping Along the Mississippi. Stettinius has
given us a memorable and clear eyed meditation upon the American road
trip and a particular moment in time, awash with motels, roadhouses,
wanderers, and characters that have been included in any modern back
Stone Crab Traps, Florida, featured on the exhibition announcement,
is indicative of the power of observation that Stettinius possesses
for his surroundings. The simplicity of the composition is underwritten
with an incredible amount of detail and a sensual presence and becomes
an image that is understood immediately but then refuses to let go.
In another image taken at The State Fair in Virginia, Bottle Tree
portrays a tree in the foreground adorned with wine and liquor bottles
set against a red and white striped circus tent. His expert handling
of color, line, and frame creates a statement piece that evokes thoughts
of both the carnival and restless energy of its gin-soaked revelers.
David, Kingsville Maryland, shows a poetic yet un-glamorized view of a man dragging a larger than life wood cross with a backpack tied to it. Stettinius takes this subject and not only looks but also assimilates him to a modern semi-Christ. His images are more than an anthropological examination they’re an intimate experience between a photographer and his chosen subject.
Stettinius’ work reveals in real-time what Ronald Barthes called the reality effect in 19th century art, making the content chosen relatable to all viewers, even out of context. None of his visuals are arbitrary, nor are they staged. Stettinius takes all of his subjects and brings their intrinsic meaning to the forefront; he has a true understanding of and respect for the power of the visual, the power of suggestion.
In addition to Notes from Route 1, the gallery
also presents a second series by Stettinius, Studio Mangini Series,
a collection of 8" x 10" comedic portraits more accurately
referred to as "hairstyle archetypes."
In this series, Stettinius turned the camera on himself, collaborating with photographer Terry Brown and utilizing a variety of vintage hairstyles and wardrobes, designed to depict images that appear as if they were discovered in a photo studio from the seventies. The pictures include Stettinius, a 42 year-old man, in the flattering portrait style common to high school girls yearbook photo, complete with pearls, beehive and a 1,000-watt smile. Stettinius is then portrayed as a middle-aged man sporting an obvious comb over with the solemn expression of someone who believes he has everyone fooled. The varying personas are recognizable hairstyle archetypes as the series continues with Wrestler, Mullet, High & Tight, etc.
Stettinius autographs the photos and distributes them using intimate verbiage and messaging as if he is signing a yearbook, i.e. "Our time together was beautiful." His autographs suggest he is, in fact, the high school girl handing out yearbook pictures to her classmates; or is a middle-aged man convinced of his own attractiveness. And the series is only just beginning: as Stettinius grows and cuts his own hair for each portrait, additional photos—including corn rows, bangs and dreadlocksare anticipated in the years to come.
Gordon Stettinius lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. His undergraduate
degrees in Art & History are from the University of Virginia and he
is currently taking a year off from teaching in the Art Department
at Virginia Commonwealth University to start an independent publishing
company focusing on fine art photography primarily. Gordon has exhibited
his work nationally and internationally and is one of this years recipient
of the Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts. His work has
been featured commercially on book jackets, CD covers, and national
magazines as well as being represented in various public and private
collections. This is his third solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery.
For more information or printable images please contact Robin Rice
at (212) 366-6660. All the additional images of this new work can
be found on our website www.robinricegallery.com.