DCKT Contemporary is pleased to present new photographs by JOSH AZZARELLA. AZZARELLA manipulates images from cinema, journalism and amateur photography. His photographs muddy the waters between the artificial beauty of a cinematic set and the inherent beauty of the natural landscape. Absent their most significant events, AZZARELLA’s images raise questions about how our society constructs a narrative of our collective history.
The emptying of the photographs presents each scene in its formal beauty but leaves a ghost of its narrative past. The viewer is tempted to draw relational lines between individual photographs and to decipher patterns and groupings, taking cues from color and film grain. Movie stills, homemade images and documentary footage mix together, as in our collective memory. How individual and collective memories form, the possibilities of confusing memories with realities or creating memories where none previously existed are all key to his oeuvre.
In one photograph vines drape across branches, hearkening documentary photographs of the Vietnam War although its true source is the B movie classic Creature from the Black Lagoon. Emptied seascapes recall the stillness of Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs. The backs of two men on an Elvis Presley film set evoke 1960s family photographs, perhaps of a picnic.
AZZARELLA lives and works in New York City. Solo and group exhibitions include Mark Moore Gallery (Santa Monica, CA); Vancouver Art Gallery (British Columbia); Kavi Gupta Gallery (Chicago); Akademie der Künste (Berlin). He was the recipient of the 2006 Emerging Artist Award and a solo exhibition from The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT). His work is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is his third solo exhibition with DCKT Contemporary.