Duane Michals

Sequences, Tintypes and Talking Pictures

Exhibition September 9 – December 23, 2016

Duane Michals is considered one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century and he continues his pioneering approach to the medium into the 21st.  He is best known for staged photographic sequences incorporating handwritten text created in the 1960s and 1970s.  Provocatively breaking away from the established photographic tradition of highlighting powerful single images, he sequenced multiple images and wrote on their surfaces consequently emphasizing his role as a storyteller.  His small, black and white photographs employ their narrative sequencing to address metaphysical issues such as memory, mortality, love and loss.  Blurred figures created with long exposures as well as double exposures, imbue his photographs with a sense of mystery.  To quote curator Linda Benedict-Jones, “The essential defining characteristic of Michals’ art is his rejection of the photograph as documentary evidence.”  In his words, “ Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.”

His exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery will feature five of his most celebrated sequences including the twenty-seven panel piece, The Journey of the Spirit After Death from 1970. Michael Solway first encountered this work in the Kolumba, an art museum in Cologne, Germany located on the site of the Church of Saint Columba and run by the Archdiocese of Cologne.  Seeing these prints in the stairway of this building, a modern museum sharing its site with an ancient church bombed during World War II and a lower level of catacombs proved unforgettable.

In 2012 Michals began painting on tintype portraits.  An historical process from the Civil War era, tintypes are photographs printed on thin metal sheets.  In this work, he combines painting and photography, 19th century portraiture with 20th century Modernist references.  The exhibition will include nine of the painted tintypes and several recent films, Talking Pictures.  In these short films, or ‘mini-movies” as Michals refers to them, he wrote directed and sometimes acted in this new work displaying his ever-evolving innovative and whimsical spirit.

Duane Michals was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania in 1932 and lives and works in New York City.  His work has been featured in countless exhibitions over a period of over fifty years.  A major retrospective, Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals was organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh) in 2014.  Michals had a solo exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery in 1980.  His photographs are included in at least 50 museum collections in the United States and over 30 museum collections abroad. He is the subject of two feature length films, Duaneland (2004) and The Man Who Invented Himself – Duane Michals (2013).

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Alice’s Mirror, 1974/1974, Seven gelatin silver prints with hand-applied text, Edition of 25, 16/25, 3 3/8 x 5 inches (each image), 5 x 7 inches (each paper), Framed: 7.5 x 9.5 inches each
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The Journey of the Spirit After Death, 1971/c.1971, Twenty-seven gelatin silver prints with hand-applied text, Edition of 25, 8/25, 3 3/8 x 5 inches (each image), 5 x 7 inches (each paper), Framed: 7 x 9 inches each
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The Fallen Angel, 1968/1968, Eight gelatin silver prints with, hand-applied text, Edition 20/25, 3.25 x 5 inches (each image), 5 x 7 inches (each paper), Framed: 7.25 x 9.25 inches each
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The Human Condition, 1969/1969, Six gelatin silver prints with hand-applied text, Edition AP V/V, 4 x 5 inches (each image),, 5 x 7 inches (each paper), Framed: 7.25 x 9.25 inches
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Things Are Queer, 1973/1973, Nine gelatin silver prints with hand-applied text
(Edition of 25, 21/25, 3 3/8 x 5 inches each image) , 5 x 7 inches (each paper), Framed: 7.5 x 9.5 inches each
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©Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York

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Chopin’s Sand, 2012, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 8.5 x 6.5 inches, Framed: 10.25 x 8 3/8 inches Lucia Joyce, 2013, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 14 1/8 x 10 inches, Framed: 15.75 x 11.75 inches Deja Vu, 2012, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 6 25 x 8.25 inches, Framed: 8 x 10 inches A Full Face Surrounded by Sadness, 2012, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 12.75 x 10 inchesFramed: 14 .5 x 11.75 inches
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A Young Man of Quality, 2012, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 8.5 x 6.5 inches, Framed: 10.25 x 8.25 inches The Alchemist’s Revenge, 2012, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 8.5 x 6.5 inches, Framed: 10.5 x 8.25 inches Margaret and Eleanor, 2013, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 13 x 10 inches, Framed: 14.5 x 12 inches Molly Bloom, 2013, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 8.25 x 6 3/8 inches, Framed: 10 x 8.25 inches
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©Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York

The Red Head, 2013, Tintype with hand-applied oil paint, 10 x 7 7/8 inches, Framed: 11.75 x 9.75 inches      
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