Delicate Creatures

Delicate Creatures

June 17 - July 26, 2015


Including artists: Peter Callesen, Lauren Henkin, Seth Koen, Christian Maychack, Morgan O'Hara, Abigail Reynolds, Kate Russo, and Simon Schubert.


Leon Borensztein - American Portraits

Leon Borensztein - American Portraits

June 17 - July 26, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

Foley Gallery is delighted to present American Portraits 1979-1989 by photographer Leon Borensztein.

Borensztein first immigrated to the United States from Israel in the late 1970s and initially worked as a traveling portrait photographer throughout the environs of San Francisco.  Commercial portrait sessions would be set-up by eager salesmen, sending Borensztein across California, making up to 30 portraits a day of people in their homes.  While photographing put-on smiles in color for his employer, he decided to make his own photographs in black & white, pulling far enough away from the backdrop to reveal the interior room, the domestic life of his sitter(s).  With clear directions not to smile, “the masks on their faces vanished.”  Eventually, he traveled across the country, meeting his customers in public spaces, economically covering more subjects at a time.

During his travels, it became clear to him that the “American Dream” he longed for himself was also a dream that he shared with his subjects.  But, like his own life, the realities of these mostly working class families wore away at the possibility.  A loneliness and isolation emanated from his subjects.  As in the portraits of Arkansas’s Mike Disfamer and Germany’s August Sander before, Borensztein’s photographs reveal what his subjects really look like and not necessarily what they want to be.

Although his subjects didn’t know one another, they seem like they are a part of the same community, trying to present themselves in the “right” way.  They are on the same social level, having the same concerns, ambitions and sharing similar living conditions as one another.  Borensztein’s use of a simple and consistent backdrop equalizes their status.  But, by revealing their immediate surroundings, the opportunity to be seen as something other than they are vanishes. When the backdrop gets put a way and the photographer pulls into his next town, their lives go back to normal. By subtly shifting how much is portrayed, Borensztein reinterprets the construction of the American identity.

Leon Borensztein (b. 1947) earned his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1980. He was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987 and a grant from the California Council of the Humanities in 2003. His work has been exhibited at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, the Centre Nationale de la Photographie in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and SFMOMA. His monograph, America Portraits, was published in 2011.

American Portraits will remain on view through July 26.  Foley Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 6pm.  To request images, please contact the gallery at 212.244.9081 or info@foleygallery.com.

 


Sage Sohier - At Home With Themselves

Sage Sohier - At Home With Themselves

June 17 - July 26, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

Foley Gallery is very pleased to present Sage Sohier’s, At Home With Themselves, a series of domestic portraits of same-sex couples in 1980s America.

Next month’s Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges will determine the constitutional right and legality of same-sex unions, forever changing our political and social landscape. 30 years prior, photographer Sage Sohier began her groundbreaking project as a look into the predominantly private, yet prevalent domestic relationships of gay and lesbian couples.  

At Home With Themselves began in 1986 when the AIDS crisis was affecting countless lives across the country and same-sex relationships were still held as discreet. Sohier reflects, “I was interested in how as a culture, we weren’t used to looking at two men touching, and was struck by the visual novelty yet total ordinariness of these same-sex relationships.” Sohier was initially motivated by her father’s own discreet homosexual relationship and navigation of the gay community. It was her impassioned curiosity that led her to discover the world that her father was already beginning to explore.

In the 1980s, the project was so culturally edgy, it was impossible to find a publisher let alone a wide enough audience who would be willing to accept its truth. Nearly 30 years later, her work is especially poignant in the context of today’s world where the social acceptance of same-sex unions has changed. Sohier says, “Looking at these pictures now, I realize that it took a good deal more courage to stand up and be photographed as a same-sex couple in the 1980s than it does today, and I think the photographs somehow convey that. In some, there’s a tentativeness, in others a kind of not-to-be-taken-for-granted raw tenderness. People in my father’s generation had grown up feeling that being openly gay was just not an acceptable option. In my generation that began to change, and I was grateful to be witness to it”.

To request a press copy of At Home with Themselves, please contact the gallery.

Sage Sohier (b. 1954) has been photographing people in their environments for more than 30 years.  Her work is in several public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Portland Art Museum, and The Brooklyn Museum.  She received her B.A. from Harvard University.

At Home With Themselves will remain on view through July 26, 2015.  Foley Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 6pm.  To request images, please contact the gallery at 212.244.9081 or info@foleygallery.com.