Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960

CEPA Gallery Transformational Imagemaking Robert Heinecken

Curated by Robert Hirsch

September 19–December 13, 2014

This extensive survey included more than 140 works by over 40 artists spanning nearly 50 years of artistic practice unified by a curatorial arc rooted in notions that deviate from the purview of traditional photographic practice. Citing Robert Heinecken’s practice as the genesis of conceptual handmade photography, this exhibition charted an intricate universe of artists whose practice dispenses with the self-prescribed limitations of conventional photography in order to mine the boundless potential of the photographic medium as a conceptual conveyance.

Transformational Imagemaking is the culmination of Hirsch’s lifelong exploration into handmade photography and the artists whose practices were formed on the principle of unearthing new possibilities. Hirsch sites the catalyst for the project as an article he published in exposure in 2003 entitled “Flexible Images:Handmade American Photography, 1969-2002”. It has since expanded into a comprehensive publication that includes personal conversations with each artist conducted over a six-month period during 2013. CEPA elaborated further by mounting an exhibition that featured a selection of each artist’s work.

This impressive group of artists included:

Transformational Imagemaking, also included the complete folio of Robert Heinecken’s seminal series Are You Rea (1966). Considered to be the grandfather of post-modern photographic practices and a major figure of 20th century art, Heinecken was a key figure in promoting new sentiments about photography as an art form, influencing artists such Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, and others. Heinecken’s rebellious spirit challenged conventions about the ways photographs represent the tangible world: “We constantly tend to misuse or misunderstand the term reality in relation to photographs. The photograph itself is the only thing that is real”.

Are You Rea, created by contact printing magazine tear-outs onto photographic paper, are ghostly compositions that layer sexually suggestive images of women with fractured text. This provocative body of work, sexually charged and evocatively ambiguous, reflects an awareness of desire as a commercial commodity that begs us to question the very root of our own desires.

Transformation Imagemaking Events

Transformational Imagemaking Opening Reception

CEPA Gallery
Friday, September 19, 2014

Artist Talk with Brian Taylor

UB Center for the Arts
Art Screening Room (CFA112)
Monday, September 29, 2014

As part of CEPA’s programming for Transformational Imagemaking Brian Taylor presented his work and discussed his practice as an imagemaker at the University of Buffalo’s Center for the Arts Screening Room located in room CFA112.

Brian Taylor Our Thoughts Wander Robert Hirsch CEPA Transformational Imagemaking

Artist Talk with Duane Michals

UB Center for the Arts
Art Screening Room (CFA112)
Monday, October 13, 2014

CEPA was very excited to present photographic pioneer Duane Michals as part of their programming for Transformational Imagemaking. This talk took place at the University of Buffalo’s Center for the Arts Screening Room located in room CFA112.

This event was free and open to the public and result in a standing room only audience.


Exhibition Checklist

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