November 6, 2003 – January 3, 2004
Galerie Lisa Ruyter is pleased to present Justine Kurland’s first solo exhibition in Vienna.
The exhibition features black and white, and color photographs Kurland took in isolated rural communities across America, including communes located in Arizona, Montana, Utah, California, Oregon, New Mexico and Florida. Members of these alternative societies often greet each other by saying “Welcome Home.”
Justine Kurland is attracted to the idealism of individuals who build small, independent communities away from larger urban centers, and live according to an ethic of stoicism and economy. In her photographic study, Kurland explores fundamental dichotomies–man vs. nature, the individual vs. community, private vs. public. She focuses on individuals as well as large groups, combining a subjective view with one that addresses a larger social whole. “Communion,” a color self-portrait achieves this aim. Works such as “Katy’s Farm” or “Black Bear Ranch study social positioning.
According to Kurland:
“The naked figures in the color photographs have willingly undressed. They represent perfect beings heroically occupying their Edens, or else gardeners after the Fall, lost and exposed to both the elements and the lens. In some cases the frame is stripped, an unembellished document. In other cases the subjects perform quasi-biblical narratives or ritual acts as they elaborate fantasies of communal living and communion with nature. And sometimes it is the natural landscape that dominates, swelling to engulf the figures who inhabit it. The photographs are shared acts of faith, romantic gestures impelling us towards a transcendental experience of being human in the world.”
Justine Kurland was born in New York State in 1969 and lives and works in New York City. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts and an Masters of Fine Art from Yale University, where she studied with Gregory Crewsden and Philip Lorca di Corcia. Kurland has shown internationally, with Gorney, Bravin and Lee in New York, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels and Emily Tsingou Gallery in London. She recently participated in “The first ICP triennial of Photography and Video” at New York’s International Center of Photography. Her work has been featured in major art and photography magazines as well as such publications as Vogue, Elle and The New York Times.