Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
What is not provisional [in Letinsky's work] is how consistently these photographs maintain their poise, how remarkably the accidental and the intentional, the casual and the formal, are balanced, and how their refinement, encompassing both the sparseness of the lighter still lifes and the ravishing gloom of the darker ones, transcends the melancholy news they bear." Mark Strand, excerpted from Laura Letinsky: After All.
Published by Radius Books. Interview by Lynne Tillman.
Chicago-based photographer Laura Letinsky (born 1962) is known for her depictions of the remnants of foods and objects common to the dining table, ranging from a lipstick-smeared half-empty wine glass to nibbled-upon cakes over ripe fruits. These works have commonly used an actual tabletop as their point of origin. For her new series Ill Form & Void Full, she creates references to the table from existing photographs, Martha Stewart, Dwell and Good Housekeeping magazines, her old work, the art of friends and actual objects. This process shows how ideas about the private sphere and their manifestation in our lives are always predicated upon what has come before: that is, perception itself is a construction. Included in this monograph are 47 works from the series, as well as an interview with the artist conducted by the acclaimed novelist and cultural critic, Lynne Tillman, along with a characteristically brilliant essay by Anthony Elms, Associate Curator of at the Institute of Contemporary Art, co-curator of the Whitney Biennial 2014 and independent critic and writer.
The setup is classic and familiar: a table draped with a white cloth, a dish of fruit, a sugar bowl. Yet instead of the meal awaiting an unseen viewer's consumption, as in a classic still life, Laura Letinsky photographs what remains on the table after the food has been eaten, leaving only crumbs, melon rinds, a cantaloupe pocked with rot and a half-finished lollipop. Letinsky explores the inextricable relationship between ripeness and decay, delicacy and clumsiness, waste and plenitude, pleasure and sustenance. The influence of Dutch-Flemish and Italian still-life paintings--whose exacting beauty documented shifting social attitudes resulting from exploration, colonization, economics and ideas about seeing as a kind of truth--can be seen here as well. In After All, Letinsky explores photography's transformative quality, changing what is typically overlooked into something splendid in its resilience. Poet Mark Strand contributes an essay to this marvelous volume.
Published by Exhibitions International/Galerie Kusseneers. Essay by Karen Irvine.
Laura Letinsky's photo series Hardly More Than Ever records, in the style of Flemish still-life painters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the aftermath of human consumption, capturing sunny tables against white walls, crumbs, orange peels, melon rinds and candy wrappers. Like her forebears, Letinsky evidences human presence through its absence, suggests death through decay (in this case, of peonies and half-eaten toast) and tacks on a moral message about the obscenity of abundance, of having crumbs to leave. Also like her forebears, she contradicts those messages implicitly, or at the very least complicates them, by making art that feels very likely to last, to withstand the effects of time. Recent photographs of formal flower gardens and empty rooms on moving day, with a shelf, a shade or a surge suppressor left behind, explore similar issues. Letinsky, who teaches at the University of Chicago, studied photography at Yale and has been a Guggenheim fellow. Her work has appeared at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museums of Modern Art in San Francisco and New York.