Richard Misrach. Dancing with Nature

22 Jun 2024 – 3 Aug 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

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Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to present Dancing with Nature, an exhibition of large-scale photographs by Richard Misrach, one of the most influential and internationally recognized photographers working today. This presentation features a never-before-exhibited series shot in Hawaii with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, focusing on the interplay between art, environment, and the human form.  A new video by the artist, Notations – Solo to Symphony will be on view in the project gallery.

Richard Misrach is best known for captivating images that explore present-day political and environmental issues, expanding the notion of traditional landscape photography. In turbulent times, this new body of work finds hope in the human spirit in harmony with the natural world and the pursuit of art itself.

On view in the main gallery, images such as Ocean Ballet #1 (Positive) and Dancers, On the Cliffs, Spitting Cave #2 show dancers improvising in the ocean and on volcanic cliffs. Allowing the dancers freedom to respond to the natural environment with self-direction, Misrach’s images capture their intuitive and graceful movements. “Photography captures things in the world that are not choreographed for perfect form. Choreographers manage every movement, which is spectacular, that's their art. But photography is the opposite art…catching spontaneous moments.”

Several images in the exhibition appear as negatives, a reference to the historical evolution of photographic technique the artist began investigating when he shifted from analog to digital. Two works on view, Shadow Ballet #8 (Reverse) and Shadow Ballet (Positive), are also flipped upside down which Misrach explains, “refocuses the viewer’s attention on their shadows as the primary subject, introducing an uncanny illusion into the composition.” (SFMOMA)

In the back gallery, a recent video work Notations—Solo to Symphony, 2024, further explores Misrach’s interest in the photographic negative and its relationship to a corresponding positive image. The title Notations celebrates John Cage and his concept that a musical score provides a visual experience. The artist’s son Jacob Bloomfield-Misrach, a musician and composer, wrote and performed the score inspired by his father’s photographs. Alongside traditional and electronic instruments, Bloomfield-Misrach incorporated AI-generated words into his composition. Filmmaker Conor Hagen merged the two forms, music and images, into a compelling meditation on photography.

Richard Misrach has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad. Misrach recently collaborated with San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet on their Spring 2023 season, where his photographs of company dancers were used as backdrops for the performance. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others. Misrach’s photographs are represented in many prominent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, and the Getty Museum of Art, California. Misrach is a recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. In 2001, he received the Knight Purchase Award for Photographic Media from the Akron Art Museum, and in 2002, the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography from the German Society of Photography. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Myriam.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. Alonzo King LINES Ballet has collaborated with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world to create performances that alter the way we look at ballet today. Its unique artistic vision adheres to the classical form—the linear, mathematical, and geometrical principles that are deeply rooted in the pre-existing East-West continuum.

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Richard Misrach


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