If you've been reading this blog for a bit you know I have a new show coming in September called "Monsters" at 555 Gallery in Boston. The work is part of a larger show called "Wild Thing." Trust me, this will be a wonderful show. Opening is 6-8 pm September 12, a Saturday.
At any rate, we have made a catalogue of the show, which will be for sale at the gallery. It is at the printer now and is killer good, with most of the Monster pictures in it, with an introduction by Alison Nordstrom. I can tempt you with a little of that here:
When an artist of a certain longevity, stature and tradition makes what appears to be a radical departure from his earlier concerns, it behooves us, as his audience, to consider the new work both in its own right and as a thread in the complex trajectories of a creative life. Even when the artist’s oeuvre has embraced genres as diverse as architecture, landscape and still life in a lengthy and prolific photographic career, we may still be surprised by the results of this artist’s curiosity. The exhibition and publication of Neal Rantoul’s recent series “Monsters” offers the opportunity to experience one artist’s way of seeing and to think with him about what it means to see and photograph.
Thank you, Alison.
My own artist statement, which is also in the catalogue, takes a slightly different tact (it seems weird to quote myself here):
What began as an experiment in new seeing had now become, surprise surprise, meaningful. Little did I know. I thought when I started I had a hold of something that would entertain, be colorful and maybe titillate. What I found was that I had photographed something that, I believe, struck a more primal note. That what our genetics and our ancient brains do to these faces and the over-the-top expressions molded into these odd things is to indentify with them, to seek to form relationships with them, to, essentially, attribute personality to latex, plastic and fiberglass. This, I predict, is a path for human civilization to deal with if we survive, if we don’t blow ourselves up or contaminate where we live. Movies like Chappy, Ex Machina and Her all wrestle with our future relationship with machines we make in our image. Interesting times indeed.
Update on where we are: all the photographs are printed, mounted and, as of Monday, framed. We will pack and ready them next week for transport to the gallery the end of the month. There are clearly too many, better than too little.This is not unusual for me. To overprint a show. It makes for some tough decisions when hanging the work but also leaves some extras to go back to my studio for viewing there. It is important to remember that most of the work, the framed prints, will out survive the show. Shows only last a short time but the work and the catalogue last far longer. One of the lessons learned early in exhibiting my work was that the show is often just the start of the exposure of the photographs to the world out there. Good work should have a life beyond just some distant memory of a show several years ago you had. Think of the exhibition as the work's debut. Definitely not over when the show comes down.
The catalogue's cover:
Love that cover! Gives you absolutely no idea what sort of hell is going to let loose inside its pages. Perfect. Thank you Andrea Greitzer for a most wonderful design.
Please, stay tuned.