Thursday, April 07, 2016

William Shearburn Gallery: Friday, 13 May 2016

Michael Eastman: Derivation
May 13 – June 24, 2016
Reception Friday, May 13, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Forest Park #26, 2015, Archival pigmented ink print on Arches watercolor paper

hotographer Michael Eastman debuts Derivation, a series of impressionistic photographs celebrating the beauty of St. Louis’ Forest Park, at William Shearburn Gallery in St. Louis on May 13.

A self-taught photographer, Eastman is known for his large-scale photographs that document architecture in cities ranging from Havana to Rome. The works in Derivation revisit one of Eastman’s earliest subjects: Forest Park.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Eastman had documented the park regularly: its people, the water, the flora, and ultimately its decline into crumbling walls and overgrowth. Eastman’s 1992 book The Forgotten Forest, supported by the then-new conservancy Forest Park Forever, walked its viewer through the park in melancholy black and white.

The photographs in Derivation capture in full color a dramatically different, restored Forest Park of present. These are a formal departure from Eastman’s past work, being shot sans tripod with a 35mm digital camera while walking on foot. To achieve the images’ stippled surfaces, Eastman devised a “metaphorical lens” for his camera, made from pieces of antique glass found at yard sales and souvenir shops. He says of this method, “I wanted to develop a kind of print that was new, my own, and a completely different take on the park.”

Eastman works intuitively within this process. The resulting visual effect traverses a hybrid territory between photography and painting. Eastman refers to this method as an “impressionistic camera,” as the images evoke those plein-air landscapes while being produced via photographic means.  Eastman describes them as “about sculpture and texture and color and surface,” celebrating their spontaneity and accessibility.

William Shearburn Gallery
665 S. Skinker Blvd.
St. Louis MO


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