ICON Projects is pleased to announce elusion | allusion | illusion, a group exhibition of six Los Angeles-based photographers, all of whom graduated from the undergraduate art program at UCLA within the past five years. Their practices, while distinct, are connected by an investigation of identity through perception, intimacy, and gender. Heavily influenced by the disparate practices of UCLA photography professors Catherine Opie and James Welling, they represent a new generation of artists working with photography in the context of contemporary art, continuously fluctuating between romantic and postmodern sensibilities.
In Embodiments, Erin Desmond creates situations in which both friends and strangers are invited to participate in a performance of platonic intimacy. Participants are asked to lie on top of one another and be photographed – a simple act, yet one that requires a level of trust that is not often encountered. The exploration of intimacy is encountered again in Grace Nielson’s photographs of men. Her images seek a vulnerability and tenderness in the masculine form and identity, in stark contrast to Jossi Bieber’s documentation of masculine performance. Bieber acts as “both witness and participant in the construction of masculine identity; as both voyeur and performer.”
Elizabeth Preger “shoot[s] female bodies and landscapes, but the figures in my images are cut up, displaced and faceless...[my] focus is not on personalities but on the body as a site of mortality: an inert object that must contend with the grand landscapes of the American West.” Reciprocal are Taryn Haydostian’s images in a gesture without motion, which also eschew the personal to focus on the female body in the landscape. This time, however, they are active objects - participants in “performances created specifically to exist as - and only as - photographs.” The disquiet of Preger’s and Haydostian’s work is magnified by the absence of bodies in Chris Liem’s images. “I wanted to use the camera and flash to record something latent. I am interested in creating an atmosphere of disorientation, unraveling a viewer's sense of direction or place.”
elusion | allusion | illusion is an official exhibition of MOPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles). Paper was generously donated by Freestyle Photographic Supplies and ILFORD, and mounting services provided by Fine Art Solutions. ICON Projects is an alternative gallery space dedicated to educating the public about photography through exhibitions and public programs.