May 5-June 20, 2010
Opening reception Wednesday, May 5 5:30 - 8:30pm
The Robin Rice Gallery announces "Body Presenters",
an exhibition of photographs by Kim Reierson. An opening reception
will be held on May 5th, 2010 from 5:30 to 8:30pm. The show runs
through June 20, 2010.
Kim Reierson's images in "Body Presenters" are at once
as intensely private as personal sensory and brashly public as an
aesthetic immortalization. Bodybuilding is alternately referred
to by its practitioners and admirers as both an art and sport, and
Reierson's camera works to convey a similarly duplicitous take—
roaming backstage among the icons, she captures details of their
collective camaraderie and untiring self-address, in turn revealing
the spirit of competition and simultaneous artistic illusions.
Icon Arnold Schwarzenegger made Pumping Iron popular in the 70’s,
long before highly commercialized bodybuilding. Business impresario
Florenz Ziegfeld brought Eugen Sandow, the father of bodybuilding,
to the 1891 Chicago Columbia Exposition. Presented as a traditional
carnival strongman at first, Ziegfeld soon discovered that audiences
were more interested in Sandow's physique, so his feats of strength
were replaced by a series of muscular posing sessions. Sandow made
a conscious effort to sculpt his body to fit the proportions of
ancient Greek sculptures. This illusion of a living statue, an idealization
of human form that has come to life, remains at the heart of bodybuilding.
Reierson, in homage to the emerging Fin de Siecle roots of bodybuilding,
has chosen to present the works of this exhibition in glass-domed
frames dating from 1870 to 1920. These selected frames she sought
after and compiled are a piece of American history, having once
encased diverse images from our nation's past.
Issues of historical aesthetics become compounded by gender contradictions
when turning to Reierson's photographs of women. In a world where
fashion has presented an ideal of femininity for decades as little
more than a bone thin coat hanger, these female body builders and
exotic dancers unabashedly display strong, defined, substantial
muscle. Persistent in this cosmopolitan is the atmosphere of the
catwalk, makeup, hair styling and all the vanity of self-address
found in any woman's mirror.
Like that mirror, Reierson’s adeptness uses the camera in
a way that focuses honestly on the subject's intimate moments, in
combined acknowledgment that these backstage preparations are theatrical
gestures. Implicit in this are the desires of the audience and the
subject alike fused together in a redefinition of the self. Besides
the body's inherent eroticism, an incongruous affinity and disconcertion
are provoked by the elements in these photos; plastic sheeting,
raw light bulbs, curling irons, baby oil and rhinestones sparkle
in original moments of composition. Our address in viewing these
works ranges broadly. Elements of contemporary glamour coexist with
a well worn arsenal of back street stagecraft, provoking the dyad
of pleasure and discomfort that ultimately lies in all presentations
of body image, whether the traditional world of beauty, or in its
alternative presented here.
Kim Reierson is a California native who was raised in Bolivia. After
graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Fine Arts, she worked
as a photojournalist for newspapers in California winning several
awards for her photojournalist work. In 2000 she moved to New York
City. She is best known for her photography book (published in 2007),
Eighteen: A Look At The Culture That Moves Us, which is a visual
documentation and an homage to America’s eighteen wheeler
truck drivers. It was featured in ABC News, CNN, and National Geographic.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her
clients include Art and Auction, Forbes FYI, National Geographic,
Ralph Lauren, Smithsonian Institute, and Vogue Mexico. This is Reierson’s
third solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery.
For more information or printable images please contact Robin Rice
at (212) 366-6660. Additional images of this new work can be found
on our website www.robinricegallery.com.