In its 36th year, The AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) Show is one of New York’s most anticipated photography events. This year’s show features 86 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries and dealers all under one roof, though it will be the last year that it will be held in the Park Avenue Armory. Future shows will be located at Pier 94, joining the increasing number of art events held on the New York City piers.
I was pleased to see less repetition between galleries than in previous years, particularly among contemporary works. This made visiting each booth more of a discovery and less of a comparison of prices or content. As always, the 20th century masters were well represented, so I will instead turn my attention to some newer names whose work I found inspiring.
Appealing to my affinity for process-based work, Galerie f5,6’s elegant display of Ulrich Schmitt’s landscapes drew my attention despite their small size. The landscape is divided into small vertical sections with each section printed in an alternative process before being reassembled to form the complete image. The processes are notated on the borders of the image and include materials like platinum, uranium, and lead. The final image is reminiscent of a test-strip yet presented in a sophisticated manner that highlights the importance on the artist’s hand in the piece.
Bold, colorful, and large in size, Ysabel LeMay’s work stands out from Verve Gallery’s booth in the back corner. When viewed up close, the details of the digital collage begin to emerge. Printed on glossy paper and face-mounted to plexi, the work reveals a surprising amount of depth. Bright flowers layer upon ghostly branches and leaves that recede into the background.
There is a noticeable under-representation of documentary photography in this year’s show, particularly in the contemporary galleries. I was pleased, then, to see Corey Arnold’s color work of life at sea. I have admired Arnold's work with commerical fishermen for several years and had yet to experience the prints in person. The two images on view at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art were undoubtedly as “wall friendly” as one could hope for in this series—birds in the sky and lobster traps—but Arnold’s unique perspective and the large scale of the prints elevate the work far beyond conventional fishing docks photographs.
Jeff Brouws’ grid of stereograph images of railroads was the highlight of Robert Mann Gallery’s booth. The unique characteristics of the stereograph format lend themselves to the intimate presentation of the floated piece in a small white frame. Presented in this way, a format that was once considered flimsy and disposable is given more artistic substance. As a group, the works become a sort of typology of railroads, while using a largely abandoned photographic format reinforces the idea of technologies from a bygone era.
On the outside wall of Flowers Gallery this large vertical winter seascape by Korean artist Boomoon instantly grabbed my attention. At first glance the piece appears to be a horizontal image with excessive white space beneath the image. Upon closer inspection, the lower half of the image is in fact the shoreline, completely lost in whiteout by the storm. The balance between the aggressive storm in the top half of the picture and the unnaturally clean and calm lower half of the picture is an excellent example of the photographer's ability to simaltaneously record and distort his surroundings.
The AIPAD Show runs through this Sunday, April 17, at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY.
Kat Kiernan is the Editor-in-Chief of Don’t Take Pictures.