Sunshine and Noir
November 5 December 21, 2008
Opening reception November 5, Wednesday 5:30-8:30pm
Thomas Alleman’s urban
landscapes convey the pulsating energy and sensual excitement of city
life. With an eye for the visual rhythms and geometry of buildings,
highways and parks, his photographs transform ordinary structures
and events into emotionally charged images of modern life. “Hollywood
Freeway,” the image featured on the invitation, is a perfect example.
Through Alleman’s lens, the evening rush hour becomes an abstract
in motion, shimmering like jeweled brocade. Alternating between reality
and fantasy, his image is rich in emotional content.
In the photo,
“110 Freeway,” he conjures up the sterile, yet splendid qualities
of a dimly lit highway underpass just as a car races through a single,
glorious shaft of sun-light. The picture brings to mind classical
paintings and 19th century photographs of nature’s grandeur. By comparing
antique idealism to the gritty reality of the modern road warrior,
the work allows us to consider that majestic moments do exist even
in our daily routines.
By carefully organizing the disparate objects
inside the picture frame, Alleman creates surreal images that are
wholly photographic a reality that only a camera can see. The photo
“Inglewood, Los Angeles,” for example, is a picture of a street level
stop sign, an aircraft in flight and a distant, cloudy streak of vapor.
When reduced to a two-dimensional photo, however, this image of a
plane flying over head becomes strangely unfamiliar.
we see Alleman’s subtle sense of humor at work. The picture features
a well-pruned plant pressing itself up against a metal fence. The
plant’s uncut center, which resembles a rose, is surrounded by the
rhythmic geometry of the cut leaves and horizontal bars. The photo
is at once a landscape detail, a graphic abstract as well as a reflection
on the side effects of crowed city life.
Most of Alleman’s photographs
feature a dark circular halo that surrounds the image and draws the
eye into the picture’s unique reality. This non-digital effect is
caused by the Holga camera he uses. “The Holga’s bizarre optics,”
Alleman explains, “have given me access to a realm of richly textured
suggestion, impression and allusion.”
Alleman’s influences include
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand. A graduate
of Michigan State and a successful commercial photographer, Alleman
has received many prestigious awards over the years for his photojournalism
and portraits. Among them, the 1995 California Newspaper Photographer
of the Year Award, the 1996 Los Angeles Photographer of the Year,
and the Mark Twain Award from the Associated Press 1997. Alleman lives
in Los Angeles.
For more information, or printable images please contact
Robin Rice at (212) 366-6660, email her at email@example.com.