Friday, March 16, 2007
Thomas Debari visits Adamson Gallery
Being in the business of making images is second nature. Len Prince has been making the scene on magazines since the 70’s and Mann in her mother's photographs since she was born. Mann’s background is one well-written and argued in terms of her mother’s depictions of her and her siblings naked. That said we move into the light where both of these virtuosos are great, Mann for vogueing and Len prince for snapping those moments. The photographs designed with flawless form and content, are referential to all of art history. The true gift of the poser is a the blank embodiment of genre. Quickly changing from starlet to Venus as brown hair to blond, they reconfigure images from pop to Ingres. Small photographs result in the attachment we personally have to these images, while still maintaining a fun for everyone approach. “Art matters.” Or so they say. In their case, it is the truth. The history of the photograph is explored through Prince’s and Mann’s experiences.
Len being the fashion and celebrity photographer uses similar sets sometimes identical for both the commercial work and the Self Possessed Series. In doing this, they no longer mimic but transcend into that same space and time of the mainstream glitz. The lighting on the shots and Lens camera make the viewer wet in the light and shadow play. The staging being perfect at what it is then ready for the other. She walks in stage right robbed as it falls you seen it before. A naked Jessie Mann, but now all grown up. So familiar and unabashedly feminine, she centers herself no smile and click, hot work from a young hot girl with a hot name in photography. As they flip through pages of an Art history book or a POP magazine, they take and reestablish ownership of the images. The Birth of Venus is in the backyard next to the sprinkler. This girl has that intangible something. An ability to ham it up or shut down either way she seems to be exactly where she needs to be at the right time. Her strategy of being in front of the camera is something that is expected and refreshing to see again in context with the history of photography. As Jessie Mann headlines this exhibit, I wonder who does the majority of the work. Is it the model or the photographer? Who owns these images more? Alas, it is a community’s effort anyways and marked as such. Who is more powerful? Mann or Prince.
Mann must be the princess. Prince must be a man and do all the hard work. Judging from the majority of photos present was set at Princes studio.
Mann’s abilities though are not to be diminished for this must be second nature and a natural model that she is and has been. Through out her career she has been in the front exposed and so she is again. With issues that are strong in cases of authorship. What they do in the photos are pieces of the issue they make art about other artist. Embodying the content, the branding of the work as Jessie Mann and the secondary Len Prince they go further. They reach a place uncharted by Cindy Sherman, though starting from similar places in the end this truly is collaborators saying I like art.
This small hole that is constructed is one, which they push through on the Mann’s back.
Jessie Mann is Self-Possessed by what? Jessie Mann is consistently redefining herself sometimes with the photo cord sometimes with out. Their references spiral to the borders of accepted of images. She poses to the images that they hold near. As the art market holds her close we remember when this was the art world.