Interior Drama: Aaron Siskind’s Photographs Of The 1940’s

ISBN: 0911517766
ISBN 13: 9780911517767
By: Jan Howard

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Abstract Art Art

About this book

Divided into four sections, "Interior Drama" begins with a selection of images from "Harlem Document" of 1937 to 1940 and two independent architectural series "End of the Civic Repertory Theatre" of 1938 and "Tabernacle City" of 1939 to 1940. The latter project was Mr. Siskind's introduction to Martha's Vineyard where he would subsequently return for several summers from 1940 to 1943. The earlier projects had hinted at the metaphorical possibilities in photography that Mr. Siskind would develop more rigorously in later work.The second section consists of images from an especially productive period in Gloucester Mass. during the summers of 1944 and '45. Working along the town's wharves and shoreline, Mr. Siskind focused on found detritus and flotsam that evoked emotional resonance. The third section from 1946 to 1948 marks the beginning of the photographer's mature work with images often derived from patterns and markings on decaying walls particularly in New York and Chicago.The fourth and final section is devoted to images made principally on a three-month teaching sabbatical in Arizona while visiting photographer Frederick Sommer. Both men worked in a similar vein with strong influences from surrealism leading to a lyrical abstraction that in its time was regarded as accidental and haphazard and now looks exquisitely and even formally composed.

Reader's Thoughts

Michael Vagnetti

Short catalog, outstandingly printed with tritones. Photography, for me, might be a permanently emergent language. The images are "beyond" in the sense of being slightly intractable and unreadable. "Move on objects with your eye straight on, to the left, around on the right. Watch them grow large as you approach, group and regroup themselves as you shift your position. Relationships gradually emerge, and sometimes assert themselves with finality. And that's your picture. What I have just described is an emotional experience." Biographical essay on Siskind's relationships with Surrealist (ideas) and Abstract Expressionists (actual people).

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