Process Priority

Featured Artists:
Josh Brand
Matthew Brandt
Bryan Graf
Tamar Halpern
Barbara Kasten
Eileen Quinlan
Mariah Robertson

July 11 – August 30, 2014

Boston Globe Review

Steven Zevitas Gallery is pleased to present Process Priority, a group exhibition of seven artists working with photo-based media curated by gallery owner Steven Zevitas. The exhibition includes the work of Josh Brand, Matthew Brandt, Bryan Graf, Tamar Halpern, Barbara Kasten, Eileen Quinlan and Mariah Robertson, and will be on view from Friday, July 11 through Saturday, August 30, 2014, with an opening reception Friday, July 11. 

Over the past decade a significant number of emerging artists, working in a range of media, have come to define their individual practices not in terms of image or “style,” but in terms of process. For these artists, the way in which a work is made can largely define that work’s meaning. This trend has heated up the discourse as to what constitutes an art object, and further eroded the already crumbling barriers that have separated traditional media. Process Priority explores the importance of process, abstraction, and the dialog with painting that is widespread in contemporary photography.

Painting may have been the first medium to have its traditional methods questioned, but there are now an increasing number of artists aggressively exploiting the photographic process by pulling it apart and taking from it the pieces that their work requires. It could be tempting to think of such artists as actively engaging in a game of deconstruction, but critique is not on their minds. These artists start from a position of acknowledging that there are no rules and produce work that unabashedly embraces this position.

While Josh Brand, Matthew Brandt, Tamar Halpern and Mariah Robertson all allow for remnants of the “real world” to remain in their work, their primary interest is in turning the dark room upside down. For all four, process and formal inventiveness far outweigh any interest in accommodating photography’s traditional role as a tool for depiction. The results are works that hover in an indeterminate space where image and process compete for attention.

Eileen Quinlan works with an analog camera and often manipulates the film by using steel wool or long chemical processing. Her subjects range from portraiture to pure abstraction; in many cases, the line between representation and abstraction is so undefined that “reading” the image becomes virtually impossible. As with other artists in the exhibition, there is an active conversation between painting and photography that occurs in Quinlan’s work.

Barbara Kasten, a mature artist whose work is just now being properly recognized, is deeply concerned with photographic abstraction. Kasten does not consider photography to be the main element of her work. She builds “constructs” using a variety of materials, including mesh and Plexiglas, and produces work that is ultimately a mix of performance, installation and light.

Bryan Graf, who is known for his experimental approach to photography, has used many different processes and subjects resulting in a diverse body of work. In producing images that are abstract but rooted in representation, Graf utilizes nature and every day objects such as gauze and screws. His contribution to this exhibition is a photogram from his “Lattice (Ambient)” series.