JOCELYNE ALLOUCHERIE: OMBRES II: 17 SEPTEMBER - 5 NOVEMBER 2015
511 Gallery is pleased to present Ombres II, six large black and white photographs by the Montreal artist, Jocelyne Alloucherie.
The photographs are of branches and leaves in shadows, in varying configurations and implied motions. Each photograph is a precise balance of abstraction and mimetic representation of the natural world. Alloucherie is a photographer of landscape, but does not take or make pictures in a traditional manner. She photographs the shadows of trees against a wall or focuses on what appears directly before her, allowing the background to blend into indistinct renderings.
Roland Barthes, the literary theorist, linguist, critic, and philosopher, wrote in Camera Lucida, “What the photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.” Often, photographers are revered for “capturing a moment” or preserving what would otherwise be gone from this world. Barthes argues that “shooting” a photograph is effectively killing the moment and acknowledging its death.
In Ombres II, Alloucherie’s pictures un-sentimentally and concisely relay the death of moments. By acknowledging fatality, these pictures savor the fleeting. The images are both singular (they show a specific conglomeration of objects and forms) and spookily familiar. This is a stimulating paradox. The viewer can rediscover the churning power of leaves cascading down in autumn, the palpable flash of branches swaying as one passes, the shifting of light on the buildings of a city block. These are photographs of shadows, but the pictures themselves are also shadows of experience, the imprint left behind by the effect of immediate sensation on the mind.
Barthes writes also of photographers that they should leave room for subjectivity in their works. Each spectator comes to a picture with different experiences and associations. The relationship between dark and light and the rich texture of leaves and branches expressed in Alloucherie’s work prompts a reaction from the viewer, but it allows for a range of different reactions. The rushing movement of each work might feel ominous—the flow of shadows and the brambles of the foliage could suggest something ancient, something essential, something wrought with mystery and risk— it could suggest the garden of Eden at night or the entrance to the River Styx. However, this is one interpretation of work that is brimming with possibility and potential for associations. What remains undeniable is the works’ provocation. Its capturing of fleeting moments stirs something within the viewer which cannot be avoided.
Jocelyne Alloucherie’s work is focused on form and texture. Though her primary practice is photograph, she is also a well-known sculptor of both free-standing and site-specific objects, which has helped craft her eye for solid forms and the shifting shadows they cast. A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal and then the School of Visual Arts at University Laval in Quebec City, Alloucherie rose to national acclaim early on. By 2002 she had been awarded the prestigious Paul-Émile-Borduas Prize by the Government of Quebec. Her work is in many museums, including The National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, Musée de Beaux Arts in Montreal, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, as well as in major corporate and private collections. Alloucherie has had almost 30 solo exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo, Turin, Bremen, Montreal and New York City, among other locations.
The exhibition’s opening reception will take place on Thursday, September 17 from 6 to 8pm.
For further information, please contact Mara Miller, 212-255-2885.