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stars

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#60001 from Nyx, 2017
Pigments on gampi paper and gold leaf
12 1/2 x 18 4/5 in. (32 x 48 cm)
Edition of 10


Works from Albarrán Cabrera’s series Nyx are inspired by the Greek origin story in which Nyx, or night, emerges from the darkness, a bird with black wings, and gives birth to Eros, the god of love, and to the earth and sky as a whole. In contrast to the artists’ other series, Nyx is focused not on humans, but on larger, more cosmic matters. Albarrán Cabrera write, “In this series we ask the question whether only human beings have memories: Can also a planet or the entire Universe have them?”
 

bird

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#853 from The Mouth of Krishna, 2019
Pigments, Japanese paper, and gold leaf
6 5/8 x 10 1/4 in. (17 x 26 cm)
Edition of 20


This image suggests an association with the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris), the bright sparkling light reflected in the water, as if guiding a way to the Holy Spirit in a passing bird. The golden heaven roars in the lava of the ocean.
 

heron

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#860 from The Mouth of Krishna, 2019
Pigments, Japanese paper, and gold leaf
10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (26 x 17 cm)
Edition 2 of 20


"I want to invite you to come for a stroll in the menagerie," I said, feeling pretty uncomfortable.
"But it's too early," she replied. "It isn't five o'clock yet. I never get up before ten."
"It's lovely out," I added.
"Oh, all right, if you insist."

We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”

―Leonora Carrington, "The Royal Summons"
 

trees

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#858 from The Mouth of Krishna, 2019
Pigments, Japanese paper, and gold leaf
9 7/8 x 6 5/8 in. (25 x 17 cm)
Edition of 20


Set against a flat gold background are lush pine trees, a symbol of immortality and also the origin of the Christmas tree. The color green is one of hope and peace; together with the gold leaf, this produces a peaceful and joyful impression.
 

girl

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#123 from This is You [Here], 2018
Pigment print on gampi paper and gold leaf
10 1/4 x 6 7/8 in. (26 x 17.5 cm)
Edition 13 of 20


This charismatic image is shimmering with allure and mystery. A young girl hides behind an ancient column, her face is not visible. The entire picture is filled with the golden color creating an oddly timeless feel. In the series This is You Here the artists raise questions about identity and the way our memory reinvents our lived experience over time.
 

branches

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#699 from The Mouth of Krishna, 2018, printed 2019
Pigments, Japanese paper, and gold leaf
9 7/8 x 6 5/8 in. (25 x 17 cm)
Edition 4 of 20


Influenced by Japanese philosophy and art, the artists masterfully use significant motifs like cherry blossoms along with the tools like the handmade Japanese gampi paper and 14-karat gold leaf. Like Japanese screens, this piece is an exquisitely beautiful emblem of sophistication in its depiction of cherry blossom branches arranged in an intricate, lace-like design. In addition to its beauty, this flower is known for its distinctively short lifespan. Thus these delicate flowers have come to represent life's ephemerality and are even more poignant against the gold background.
 

green landscape

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)
#767 from The Mouth of Krishna, 2016, printed 2018
Pigments, Japanese paper, and gold leaf
10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (26 x 17 cm)
Edition 7 of 20


The blue hour arrives, a spectacle of rare beauty. It is a magical moment in which the landscape seems wrapped in a muffled and suspended atmosphere, in an unreal dimension. A time when everything is about to end – or, on the contrary, when everything is about to start again. It is an elusive moment between dreams and reality, in which everyone can reflect on what has been and desire what will be. A space of slience and contemplation, in which we truly feel part of a whole and breathe the breath of the universe.
 

locust

Ingar Krauss (b. 1965, Berlin)
Untitled (Black locust blossom), Zechin, 2014
Gelatin silver print with applied oil paint
17 3/8 x 20 1/2 in. (44 x 52 cm)
Edition 2 of 8


To create his striking still lifes, Ingar Krauss arranges his subjects in stage-like boxes, which he constructs himself; then shoots the compositions under natural light, and creates a gelatin silver print to which he applies a delicate glaze of oil paint. In Untitled (Black locust blossom), the fragile cluster of flowers is suspended from above, and cloaked in deep, earthy shades of green and the palest blue; a soft, gentle light touches the flowers and stem, distinguishing them from the dark, receding background. As he explained in a 2017 interview with Roberta Levy, Krauss connects these still lifes, which he began creating in 2010, to the tradition of German Romanticism "and its longing for self-knowledge...I am interested in the hidden relationship between the inner life of human beings and the world of plants and animals, and I want to transmute those commonplace subjects by a process of replacing inattention with contemplation."
 

moon

Ann Rhoney (b. 1953, Niagara Falls)
Moon, 2019, painted 2020
Vintage gelatin silver print with applied oil paint

Image 5 7/8 x 7 3/8 inches on 8 x 10 in paper


Ann Rhoney's recent work Moon is a transcendent example of her unique process and sensitive eye. Rhoney prints each photograph in the darkroom as a gelatin silver print, then applies oil paint by hand, transforming the two-dimensional black-and-white image into a dynamic art object, charged with a full spectrum of color and emotion. In Moon, the classical triangular composition and intensely expressive burst of clouds — punctuated by the titular subject — evoke, as in Krauss's work, the Romantic tradition; but Rhoney's distinctive style shines through, and is as palpable as the rich texture of her vintage paper, seen here in the delicately stippled surface of the sky.
 

niagara

Ann Rhoney (b. 1953, Niagara Falls)
Niagara, 1979, painted 2020
Vintage gelatin silver print with applied oil paint
Image 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (23.5 x 18.4 cm)
Paper 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm)


Throughout her career, Rhoney has traveled widely, producing work throughout the United States and in France; but she has always returned to Niagara Falls, where she was born, as a recurring subject. The distinctive light and wonder of the location, where the staggering power of the waterfall is juxtaposed with the natural beauty of the surrounding region, have long been an inspiration to artists and writers, including the painters of the Hudson River School. Rhoney's work shows the influence of these painters, particularly in her attention to the mysteriousness and emotional intensity of the Falls. In this nightscape, photographed in 1979 and painted just this year, Rhoney imparts a subtle rainbow of color to the mist rising off the waterfall and to its shimmering reflection in the river. 
 

road

George Tice
Country Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

1961, printed 10/12/17
Selenium toned gelatin silver print
5 3/16 x 9 3/8 in. (13.2 x 23.8 cm)

 

George Tice captured Country Road while working on his 1970 series Fields of Peace: A Pennsylvania German Album, that records the relics and everyday practices of the primarily Mennonite and Amish communities near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Tice was standing on the edge of a field and waiting for a horse and buggy to come by when he shot Country Road. A VW bug passed by instead, but the light at sunset was just right, so he took the photograph. Tice has magnificently printed the light reflecting off the asphalt — but the road, in itself, fascinated the artist.

In Fields of Peace, Tice writes: “In Lancaster County change is more resisted, and the roads, though paved, tend to have the old curves, and on their blacktops one sees the anachronism of horse droppings. A road may go under a row of trees, originally planted to protect against the sun or to provide a windbreak or just for the love of trees and shadow. Then it may come out on a rise or slope from which the great country view opens, the textured fields, fences, pastures broken by a stream where occasional wild duck may linger or a kingfisher may sit watchfully on a wire or tree branch — floods of swallows or chimney swifts skimming the low ground or circling the sky. But the overall, overriding impression is of order: fields, clean white or red buildings (or bursts of unlimited and uninhibited color — purples, yellows, blacks, blues on porch pillars and cornices, but all carefully painted), sheds, barnyards, barnyard walls with rigid coping, even flower beds whose canna lilies, phlox, and zinnias are arranged in geometric designs.”

kairos

Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain)

#4021, Kairos, Japan, 2015

Cyanotype over platinum print

8 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (21 x 24 cm)

Edition 6 of 20

 

Through the series Kairos, the artists explore the vast possibilities rooted in the present moment. They create each photograph from two negatives: one representing the past, and the other representing the future. A line (or a passage of light in this image) spatially divides the two frames of time, and symbolizes the present. Capturing scenes of child-like wonder — of clouds passing through the mountains, of a swan craning its neck — the artists celebrate life in the present, as it is truly experienced.

swan3

Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki)
Kökar, Finland (swan), 2008
Gelatin silver print
Image 7 1/8 x 6 1/4 in. (18.1 x 15.9 cm)
Paper 9 7/8 x 8 in. (25.1 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated in pencil on recto


In this photograph — as in Kihti, Finland, 1975 — Sammallahti uses a strong diagonal composition, dividing the stony, similarly angular pattern of the foreground from the rich black of the sea. Sammallahti's famously impeccable timing is on full display here, as the swan, too, is captured at an almost perfect diagonal, balancing the image and creating a sense of harmony and peace. This sense of tranquility is reinforced by Sammallahti's careful printing, wherein the hint of warm tonality in the foreground is offset by the quiet, milk-white texture of the swan.
 

swans

Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki)
Kirkkonummi, Finland (two swans), 2016
Gelatin silver print
Image 9 5/8 x 8 in. (24.5 x 20.3 cm)
Paper 12 x 9 3/8 in. (30.4 x 23.8 cm)

 

In a 2012 review for The Guardian, writer Sean O’Hagan notes that Sammallahti “captures humans and animals in worlds of their own, lost in reverie: dogs chase birds, birds cautiously approach humans or circle above them…But what is most palpable is the silence of the surroundings. Looking at the photograph, you feel on the threshold of another, more mysterious world that is indeed here and far away.”

tree in water

Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki)
Kökar, Finland (tree and water), 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image 6 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (16.5 x 19.1 cm)
Paper 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm)


In this image from the Finnish island of Kökar, the glittering texture of the sea serves as the backdrop for the silhouette of a small, gnarled tree; the tree's perch, a hill or cliffside, is printed in a deep, dramatic black. The unusual angle and framing of this image creates the sensation of a two-dimensional scene, one in which the tree stands against a shimmering wall of water; Sammallahti has printed the image in high contrast, so that the innumerable eddies of the sea sparkle in bright shades of silver, dazzling the eye. A gentle vignette draws the viewer's attention continually back to the modest tree, conferring upon it a sense of quiet majesty and spirituality.
 

sea

Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki)
Kihti, Finland, 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image size: 8 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches
Paper size: 11 x 13 7/8 inches


Pentti Sammallahti is well-known for his travels around the world, where he creates dazzling images of animals and nature in such far-flung locations as Solovki Island in Russia or the Outer Hebrides of Scotland; yet some of the photographer's most powerful work has been made in his native country of Finland, where he stands today as one of the country's most beloved national treasures and a towering figure in the history of Finnish photography. In this image from 1975, early in his distinguished career, Sammallahti presents a strikingly abstract scene. A strong diagonal composition is anchored by, on the one hand, what appears to be a rush of liquid, reflective and richly textured; and, on the other, a shimmering celestial body, suggestive of the moon. Sammallahti's masterful gelatin silver print is characterized by cool, subtle tones that reinforce the impression of both the sea and the night sky.
 

 

gold tree

Lucretia Moroni (b. 1960, Milan)
In memory of Letizia (oak tree), 2013
Palladium print on 22-karat gold leaf
Image 2 3/4 x 2 7/8 in. (7 x 7.3 cm)
Paper 4 1/4 x 5 7/8 in. (10.8 x 15 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated on verso
Signed and dated on recto


Lucretia Moroni's alternatively process prints are the result of a singular technique she has invented for printing platinum and palladium, among other chemicals, onto metallic leaf. Inspired by the rich history of gold and its use in the art of different civilizations — from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to pre-Columbian tombs and Byzantine mosaics — Moroni works exclusively with 22-karat Manetti gold leaf on watercolor paper, in a painstaking and exacting process that often requires repeated exposures and applications of platinum and palladium in order to achieve the desired result. This image of an oak tree shows the distinctive texture of palladium on gold leaf, which produces a type of delicate craquelure. As Moroni explains, "The technical aspect of working with gold leaf is very important to me, as the craftsmanship required marries my photographic art to the other decorative arts that I have practiced throughout my career. In a way, the unique beauty and spiritual charge of gold brings all these skills and experiences back to life."
 

tree

Lucretia Moroni (b. 1960, Milan)
Brazilian Tree, 2016
Palladium and albumen print on 22-karat gold leaf
Image 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (14 x 14 cm)
Paper 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (19.1 x 19.1 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated on verso


This print, viewed alongside In memory of Letizia (oak tree), demonstrates the unique and special character of each work produced by Moroni's extraordinary alternative process technique. Made with both palladium and albumen on 22-karat gold leaf, this print is characterized by a rich, almost rugged texture that complements the dramatic, expressive thrust of the titular Brazilian tree. Moroni's photographic prints with gold leaf are a natural outgrowth of her decades of work as a painter and decorative artist, during which time she has focused on reviving and adapting traditional and natural materials and techniques — including linen, silk, velvet, gauze, silk-screening, hand-printing, stenciling, and faux-finishing — to achieve a level of unparalleled artistry and contemporary craftsmanship in all aspects of her art.
 

carrot flower

Denis Brihat (b. 1928, Paris)

Fleur de carotte sauvage (Wild carrot flower), 1971
Gelatin silver print with photographic engraving
Edition 6/24
5 1/8 x 7 1/8 in. (13 x 18 cm)

 

Denis Brihat’s technique of photographic engraving, or grignotage (literally, “nibbling” or “whittling away”) is adapted from a 19th-century formula in which an acid, such as hydrogen peroxide or copper chloride, is used to soften the gelatin silver emulsion on the paper; this has the greatest effect in those areas of the image with the highest silver content, which are the darkest areas of the image.

In Fleur de carotte sauvage (Wild carrot flower), Brihat has most likely photographed his subject against a black background, which has been transformed into a delicate, matte white surface by the grignotage process. The process has also slightly lifted the emulsion off the paper in the darkest areas of the flower, particularly around its edges; Brihat has then allowed the emulsion to settle back down onto the paper. The result is a three-dimensional print in which the outline of the flower is slightly elevated against the rest of the image, and appears to glitter as it catches the light; the effect is enhanced by the fact that a fine black line, a remnant of the dark background, remains, and accentuates the flower’s form.

poppy

Denis Brihat (b. 1928, Paris)

Coeur de pavot (poppy heart), 1999, printed 2000

Gold-toned gelatin silver print

19 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (50 x 40 cm)

Edition 4/6

venice

Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, St. Petersburg)

Gondolas, November, Venice, 2002
​Unique toned gelatin silver print, handmade in the darkroom by the artist
Edition of 10

Signed, titled, dated, and editioned by the artist on verso
7 x 7 in. (17.8 x 17.8 cm)
12 x 12 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)

 

“With mist or rain recurring in these images, and the occasional acqua alta, landscape details of Venice fade away. The composition acquires a range of grays, whose nuances are deftly handled by the photographer. For gray is a sovereign quality in Titarenko’s art. And then there are those reflections of architecture on wet ground that create mirror effects and animate the composition – but without the photographer letting himself be dragged down by games of symmetry and geometric forms. Reflections create movement rather than contrast between shadow and light. In the Venice photographs, as in all of Titarenko’s work, his style is based not on contrasts, but on modulations, to employ a musical metaphor dear to the photographer..." by Gabriel Bauret.

sunset

Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, St. Petersburg)

Sunset at San Barnaba, Venice, 2004
​Unique toned gelatin silver print, handmade in the darkroom by the artist

Edition of 10

Signed, titled, dated, and editioned by the artist on verso
12 x 12 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)

 

"In his vision of Venice, Titarenko adds via photography an inherent emotional climate. His vision becomes more essential than the subject, inseparable from a unique style, and enhanced by a technique that combines subtle effects to both the shot and the print." Gabriel Bauret.

library

Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, St. Petersburg, Russia)

New York Public Library, 2017
​Unique toned gelatin silver print, handmade in the darkroom by the artist
Signed, titled, dated, and editioned by the artist on verso
12 x 12 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)
16 x 16 in. (40.6 x 40.6 cm)


After spending over thirty years photographing the cities of St. Petersburg, Venice, and Havana, in the early 2000s Titarenko turned his lens toward a very different place: New York City. In all his series, Titarenko crafts each print by hand in his darkroom, producing a rich, subtle range of tones that renders each print unique. The prints from his New York series are notable for his application of partial bleaching and selective sepia, selenium, and gold toning, as well as for the use of the nineteenth-century Sabattier effect, also known as pseudo-solarization. The toning is seen here in the soft warmth of the lampposts on the snow-covered pavilion outside the iconic New York Public Library building. Titarenko’s masterful printmaking also helps to highlight his longtime interest in water and its relationship to the city, bringing out the the texture and reflective quality of snow and rain, and infusing each image with moisture and light. A print from this edition can be found in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York.

park

Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962)

Morningside Park, New York, 2015
​Unique toned gelatin silver print, handmade in the darkroom by the artist
Signed, titled, dated, and editioned by the artist on verso
7 x 7 in. (17.8 x 17.8 cm)
16 x 16 in. (40.6 x 40.6 cm)

 

Morningside Park is unique in this series in that it captures the city in a state of nature, with no buildings, streets, or vehicles visible. The only signs of the surrounding bustle of urban life are many footprints on the snowy path that at the center of the image. Still, the scene is distinctively New York: Titarenko shows the rugged cliffs and outcroppings on the edge of Manhattan that are intrinsic to the design of Morningside Park. The striking composition of this photograph, with the path bisecting the image vertically and the elevation dropping steeply from left to right, further emphasizes this topography. A print of from this edition can be found in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York, and this photograph was also recently on view in the museum’s 2019-20 exhibition “Collecting New York’s Stories.”

Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Festival of Light, a celebration of the holiday season and the coming New Year. As we near the end of 2020 and observe the rituals of Diwali, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and other festivities, we enter a time of both joy and reflection, and a period that is always characterized by an element of magic and the miraculous. These holidays are celebrations of light and of the future, and they help to illuminate the path out of a difficult and painful year toward a new era, a time of harmony and peace.

Festival of Light features works that encourage this spirit of reflectiveness by turning our attention toward beauty and connecting us to deeper aspects of being. The photographs in this exhibition include works by Albarrán Cabrera (b. 1969, Spain), Denis Brihat (b. 1928, Paris), Ingar Krauss (b. 1965, East Berlin), Lucretia Moroni (b. 1960, Milan), Ann Rhoney (b. 1953, Niagara Falls), George Tice (b. 1938, Newark), Alexey Titarenko (b. 1962, St. Petersburg), and Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki). Each artist exhibits not only a distinct style, but also a unique and masterful printing process, with materials ranging from gelatin silver and oil paint to palladium, albumen, and gold leaf. Denis Brihat’s photograph of a wild carrot flower appears to glitter as it catches the light, as the form of the blossom is accentuated by Brihat’s signature technique of photographic engraving; while Lucretia Moroni’s alternative process prints of solitary trees are printed on 22-karat gold leaf in a technique of her own invention, and make palpable the rich history and spiritual charge of gold. 

Albarrán Cabrera’s prints, made with pigments on gampi paper and gold leaf, influenced by Japanese art and philosophy, depict the elusive moments between dreams and reality, when time is suspended and the quiet majesty of a cherry blossom branch or of a mountainside at dusk can be truly felt and understood.

Ann Rhoney and Ingar Krauss evoke a similar feeling of awe and tranquility in their work. Both use oil paint to give depth and color to their gelatin silver prints, but each with a singular approach: Rhoney focuses on the changing light and hues of mist rising off a waterfall, or the night sky seen through a billowing cloud, while Krauss creates striking still lifes in the tradition of German Romanticism.

Other artists communicate this sense of peace and contemplation through their explorations of distinct locations. In his famous photograph Country Road, George Tice captures a quiet stretch of road in the Mennonite and Amish communities of Pennsylvania, where life moves at a much slower pace, in closer harmony with nature; while Pentti Sammallahti’s images portray the nebulous, mysterious beauty of the Finnish countryside in striking compositions that border on abstraction. Finally, Titarenko’s extraordinary prints—characterized by the artist’s distinctive long exposures, intentional camera movement, and alchemical toning—present moments of serenity along the shimmering canals of Venice and in the snowy streets and parks of New York.