Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rosalind Solomon: Selected Works at Fridman Gallery, September 10-17, 2013

Rosalind Solomon, Bananas, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 1980
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1980, 20 x 16 inches
Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

Rosalind Solomon: Selected Works at Fridman Gallery, September 10-17, 2013
opening from 6-10; artist's lecture at 7 pm 

New York Arts Exchange will tour the exhibition on Wednesday, September 11, 1 - 3 pm.
Visit: for details

Solomon is not an ethnographic photographer.  She is a revealer of truths filtered through personal experience and interpretation. Her next exhibition Rosalind Solomon: Selected Works at Fridman Gallery opens on Tuesday, September 10th.  The evening will include a rare opportunity to hear Ms Solomon discuss her work with a slide presentation and a screening of her awarding-winning film A Woman I Once Knew, named the Best Experimental Short at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in 2010.

Rosalind Solomon, After 9/11, Self with Frozen Turkey, 2002
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 2003, 20 x 16 inches
Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

Born in Highland Park, Chicago in 1930, she followed the typical conventions of her generation: married well, had two children and perfected the roles that were required for upscale middle-class American women.  Although her husband resented any careerist moves on her part, she took up photography in earnest after a trip to Japan.  At the time, she was the regional director of the Experiment in International Living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, receiving students from abroad since 1961. In 1968 she traveled alone with a few useful phrases written in a book and a camera to communicate with her host family in Tokyo.  This occasion catalyzed her breakthrough. By 1969, she began to juggle her social and family obligations with a serious commitment to honing her skills in order to become a professional photographer. 

Then she finally cut loose in 1984 and established a studio living space right on the border of the emerging experimental art scene in the  East Village. When asked about this decision, Solomon remembers her mentor, American photographer Lisette Model's advice: “Lisette had strong convictions about everything. She gave blunt personal advice. The essence of what she said is: You are an artist. You must be selfish and not give too much time to others.”(Murphy)

An insatiable adventurer, Solomon is not adverse to taking risks that might endanger her life or her career.  She is our witness to the vast diversity of our contemporary cultural communities as she travels through India, Latin America, Israel and the deep South.  Whether photographing individuals or groups, she succeeds in capturing the essence of their humanity - that spark or spirit which connects us all.

Rosalind Solomon, Catalin Valentin's Lamb, Ancash, Peru, 1981
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1985, 20 x 16 inches
Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

When asked about her preference for black and white photography, Solomon explains: “My challenge is not format or color, but deepening my perception and range of ideas. I am interested in making expressive pictures.  Black and white pictures work for me as poetry and metaphor in a way that color does not. I have tried color and I have tried digital. Neither gives me the sense of depth that I feel with black and white.” (Murphy)

Her allegiance to black and white print marks Solomon as a Model disciple (along with Diana Arbus, Larry Fink and many others).   And yet, she does not cultivate a signature look.  Instead she expresses her feeling for the subject through manipulating light and composition.  Sometime she works up high contrast and sometimes she diffuses the light, obscuring the imagery in a haunting web of integral parts. In this respect, Solomon’s body of work is highly original and difficult to categorize stylistically.

In 1988 Thomas Sokolowski (then director of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, currently director of the Andy Warhol Museum) curated her solo exhibition Rosalind Solomon: Portraits in the Time of AIDS.  It took guts on both their parts to present this controversial body of work that spring.  Today the exhibition belongs to a landmark movement that also founded the annual December 1st “Day without Art,” which commemorates those lost to us from the AIDS. (In June-August 2013, Bruce Silverstein Gallery exhibited this historic series as Rosalind Solomon: Portraits in the Time of AIDS, 1988.)

Rosalind Solomon: Selected Works offers an opportunity to study the artist's range and to consider her more recent self-portraits within the context of her earlier photographs.  It's an intimate show, organized to stimulate conversations as, indeed, the works seem to converse among themselves--revealing truths on their own terms.


Beth S. Gersh-Nešić, interview with Rosalind Solomon, May 15, 2010.

Thomas Sokolowski  Rosalind Solomon: Portraits in the Time of AIDS, New York: Grey Art Gallery/NYU, 1988.  Chronology, Beth S. Gersh-Nešić.

Biography and Chronology, Bruce Silverstein Gallery.


Polish Shadow, Steidl 2006
Americans [1940-2006], Kunsthalle Wien, Gerald Matt, Peter Weiermair.
Chapalingas, 464 pages with 204 photographs by Rosalind Solomon, includes essays by Susanne Lange, Ingrid Sischy and Gabrielle Conrath-Scholl. Co-published by Steidl, Göttingen, Germany and Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Köln, Germany. 2003 (English, German and French.)
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California, 1986, Earthrites, Arthur Ollman
The Grey Gallery and New York University Study Center, New York, 1988, Portraits in the Time of AIDS, Thomas Sokolowski
Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, 1996, El Peru Y Otros Lugares, Peru and Other Places, Natalia Majluf and Jorge Villacorta
Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, Bilbao, Spain, 1993, Desconnections
Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Ariz., Rosalind Solomon, Photographs 1976-1987
Ikona Photo Gallery, Venice, Italy, 1982, Rosalind Solomon, Peru, Ljerka Mifka
The Corcoran Gallery, 1980, Rosalind Solomon: Washington, Jane Livingston
United States Information Service, 1984, Rosalind Solomon: India, Will Stapp

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