On June 1st, Foley Gallery opens the 2023 edition of "the Exhibition Lab Exhibition," a group show featuring work by Brad Jones, Mayita Mendez, Claude De Backer, Ralph Salomon, Suzette Dushi, Nadide Goksun, Susan Lapides, and Jo Ann Chaus. The exhibition will feature photographers exploring various genres, from documentary, autobiographical, and surreal to new media forms, including mixed media.
As Brad Jones created his series of the Brooklyn bridge, he found himself surprised by the metamorphic experience that the monolith gave him. Diverging from his usual documentary approach, Jones had to learn to dance with the rhythmic push and pull that the suspended architectural space presented. Through Jones’ photographs, we can see that the quintessential landmark unites all New Yorkers as one, while simultaneously highlights the disparate and international character that defines the city and its inhabitants.
Mayita Mendez was born in El Salvador, grew up in New York City, and now lives in BC, Canada. Her international life experiences and longing for a sense of home is at the root of her photographic practice. These works specifically are influenced by Salvadoran poetry and the myths and legends of the region; Mendez presents women connecting with themselves while intertwining their bodies with the natural world around them. Simultaneously transitory and grounding, these photographs use natural elements like earth, water, air, fire, bodies, and especially light, to remind us that even as we struggle with finding our own identities, there always remains constant elements that can help us remember who we are.
Taken from train windows over the past decade as she traveled to visit her mother and her friend Jacob, Claude De Backer’s I-phone photographs depict fleeting landscapes from shifting vantage points. Her series WHIMPERS & SCREAMS: To my mother (d. 2013) and Jacob (b. 2013) examines her own personal exchanges, a polarized post-pandemic atmosphere, and the slow dissolving of post-industrial coastal areas. While mediating on the concept of “decontrol,” De Backer frees herself from her usual disciplined attention to framing, composition, and exposure, resulting in poignant, grim, and fascinating images.
Fifteen years ago, before ever setting foot in a boxing gym, Ralph Salomon set out to document the world of New York City’s amateur boxing communities. Over the trajectory of this project, Salomon has not only witnessed and captured moments of victory and lasting ones of tragedy, but developed lasting friendships with boxers, coaches, and referees. A majority of the photographs exhibiting were taken at the 2023 Ring Master’s Tournament, the premier amateur boxing event of the city.
Turkish artist Suzette Dushi’s work is an exploration into the strange and unexpected patterns that exist within the architecture that surrounds us. Her photographic series “New York,” presents diptychs of New York City buildings paired with distorted architecture reflected on car hoods. Through her use of light, texture, shape, and perspective shifts, fluid yet complex forms emerge. Juxtaposing realism with abstractions, Dushi’s work encourages us to seek the complexity within the everyday.
In her series “My Father’s Toys,” Nadide Goksun revisits her father’s toy collection, which as a child fascinated her, but remained just out of reach. After her father passed away, she became the keeper of the collection, helping her to reconnect with memories of her childhood. Her nostalgic and ethereal photographs at once give homage to the memory of her father, while also transporting viewers to our own childhoods, inspiring us to embrace the love, magic, and wonder that is all around.
Susan Lapides’s series, ““When the Kite String Pops,” uses portraiture paired with the subject’s phone screen to examine concepts of privacy, identity, illusions of control, and the extensive influence that technology has on us. Her photographs highlight the tension between public and private, and between the intimate moments captured within our phones, and the curated personas we construct online for public consumption.
Self-portrait artist, Jo Ann Chaus meditates on questions about time and identity in photographs from her series “Conversation’s with Myself.” Her images depict fragmented traces of herself –her shadow, her hand, her image through an obscured window– allowing the viewer to pause and reflect on the quiet moments they have with themselves. These photographs explore who she is, where she comes from, and where she is going. Accepting her never ending transformations, her work is about “finding the light to bask in.”