Melanie Schiff, Sun Land

Melanie Schiff, Sun Land
10.26.2012 — 12.08.2012

Kavi Gupta CHICAGO is proud to present its third solo exhibition with LA photographer Melanie Schiff. Comprised of the artist’s most recent photographs, the exhibition takes its name from the town where the artist lives on the periphery of Los Angeles. Like much of Schiff’s previous work, “Sun Land” brings together discrete events to form an enigmatic environment, an imagined landscape that eludes navigation and gradually imparts each work’s depth and complexity.

In “Sun Land”, there are two key threads in dialogue. Works like “Handball Double” (all works 2012) and “Glass House“ provide a legible and historical entry point to the exhibition, underlining Schiff’s interest in contemporary photography’s unique relationship to site-specificity as it stems from the installation and process artists who came to prominence in the early 70s. As in previous works, found and unusual architectural environments are presented as having the aesthetic value of a sculpture-within-a-photograph. Running parallel to this theme, “Sun Land” also reaffirms Schiff’s devotion to creating works that convey temporal and intuitive sensibilities; “Lemon Tree” and “Claybirds” are epitomic of the artist’s experiential approach to making photographs as they rely on the camera’s inherent inability to record, whether through distance or wavelength, what one can sensorially experience.

Like many of Schiff’s previous exhibitions, “Sun Land” reaffirms the artist’s photographs (or work) are neither a document of what was photographed nor a formal exposition of photography’s constructs. Schiff’s inimitable approach gives her work the freedom to not just represent itself but also to underline the collapse between reflection and action that is at the crux of making a photograph. The result is photography that is as bewildering as it is beautiful and in its starkness retains a seldom seen clarity.
Schiff, a native to Chicago has exhibited widely at institutions both nationally and internationally. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, Miami MOCA, FL, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY and the VERBUND Collection, Vienna. “Sun Land” runs concurrently with “Melanie Schiff: The Stars Are Not Wanted Now” at the University Galleries of Illinois State University.