Reception: April 15, 5-8pm

Document is pleased to present Technical Images, John Opera’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. This exhibit continues the artist’s photographic experiments with the cyanotype process.

For this series, Opera has constructed light-emitting instruments of two basic types: tube lights and lasers. Each instrument produces specific photographic marks, different patterns exposed over extended periods of time.

With the tube lights, fluorescent bulbs burn lines into the emulsion based on precise intervals set between bulb and canvas. The resulting marks shift from sharp to soft focus, resembling effects caused by shallow depth-of-field settings on a camera’s lens. With the lasers, the projector lens through which the light passes becomes photographically transferred directly to the cyanotype canvas, recording both the curvature of the lens and the particles of dust present on its surface during the exposure event.

Opera subsequently builds upon this indexical foundation, adding painted layers that frame and shape the photographic material while also creating foreground/background relationships within each composition. The original cyanotype is already something of an abstraction, and becomes doubly so when organized into a hybrid of painting and photography. The photographic medium’s nineteenth-century iterations enter into dialogue with painting’s universalist apex—the “geometric abstraction” of the Bauhaus and beyond.

Overall, the pictorial references in Technical Images are based on the mechanics of light: oculi, mirrors, openings, and binocular vision. Some works directly recall Thomas Young’s double-slit experiment of 1801, illustrating the wave-particle duality of light (often cited as one of the most puzzling observable phenomena ever discovered). In this show, Opera has pared complex ideas into an elemental visual vocabulary that explores the fundamental qualities of light, photographic reality, and the broader field of representational flatlands.

Geraldo de Barros

Geraldo de Barros was born in São Paulo in 1923 and lived there until his death in 1998. He started his career as a traditional painter, but began an intense period of experimentation with the photographic medium in 1946, which culminated in his Fotoformas exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in 1951. The exhibition was a watershed for Brazilian photography and led to de Barros receiving a scholarship to study engraving in Paris. While in Europe he travelled extensively, meeting influential artists and encountering key movements in art and design. He returned to Brazil and established a successful career as an artist and industrial designer. A key figure in Brazillian Concrete, Abstract and Pop art he was a founding member of many influential groups including Grupo 15, Galeria Rex, Grupo Ruptura. He established the design co-operative Unilabor and furniture company Hobjeto Industry. After a series of strokes de Barros began in 1996 to work on a series of collage works using his ‘leftover’ family photographs. Entitled Sobras, de Barros continued to work on the series until his death in 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1948, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Hommage à Picasso (from Fotoformas Series), 1949, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

John Opera “Technical Images” at Document

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
General Inquiries
info@documentspace.com

Gallery hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.