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.