Under Our Feet As Above Our Heads, curated by Oscar J Rivera, features Harley Ngai Grieco, Lissy Mineo-Gonzalez, and Maria Del Mar Gil De Lamadrid, highlights images using processes that involve the manual manipulation of chemical processes, metalworking, and archival processes to engage with the ever-changing landscape of photography, and image-making.
Curator, Oscar J Rivera on Under Our Feet As Above Our Heads
Under Our Feet as Above our Heads, featuring Lissy Mineo-Gonzalez, Harley Ngai Grieco, and María del Mar Hernández Gil de Lamadrid, presents an exploration into alternative processes, stepping away from the now traditional forms of image-making, and revisiting the legacies of photography. While the early adopters of photography as an artform were men, this exhibit engages with the works of three exemplary female photographers making work that explores the themes of disaster and repair, the resilience and dependence of nature.
The artists presented in Under Our Feet As Above Our Heads, create images using processes that involve the manual manipulation of chemical processes, metalworking, and archival processes to engage with the ever-changing landscape of photography, and image-making. Their works force the viewers to contend with the ideas of object vs photograph and how that influences the consumption of the materials presented. Their works reflect a common desire to connect with nature, culture, legacy, longing, and ultimately decay.
Lissy Mineo-Gonzalez’s series “Take Only What You Need” confronts the abuse, commodification, and waste of natural resources, specifically herbs, by the Agriculture Industry. Mineo-Gonzalez mimics the process of growing herbs through the use of the Van Dyck printing process, which involves the use of ferric ammonium citrate, silver nitrate, tartaric acid to create a light-sensitive emulsion, which can then applied to a surface and exposed to light to create direct contact prints. Mineo-Gonzalez’s process relies on sunlight, much like the herbs in the photographs. The Van Dyck process results in rich, warm, brown tones and an image removed from time, highlighting the impact of food waste, over-consumption, and supermarket culture.
“Fragments, Portal, and Double Negative” by Harley Ngai Grieco, employ the use of sculptural photo-collage, copper-plate photogravure, and experimental large format photography. “Fragments” and “Portal” explore the intersection between decorative art history, archaeological decay, and traditions of landscape photography, by transferring photographs and drawings on ceramic and glass. Grieco focuses on the use of Eastern art objects and the visual language of Chinese export porcelain patterns to create images and photo sculptures that force the viewer to reconsider the relationship between image surface and object surface. “Double Negative” is a diptych experiment with multiple pieces of film contained within a single exposure; linear information on the left and tonal information on the right. Grieco also contends with the notions and the implications of the “American Landscape,” as a Chinese-American artist.
In the series “Nos veremos pronto,” María del Mar Hernández Gil de Lamadrid uses letters from her mother, which narrate the experience of life in Puerto Rico, pre- and post- the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. The letters were saved as keepsakes until the most recent natural events faced by the island in 2020, the earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic. Del Mar Hernández Gil de Lamadrid explores the ideas of memory, and photography through the use of manual manipulations, and the use of the text from her mother’s letters to connect back to her mother, to illustrate the delicate dance of disaster and repair that has become embedded into the cultural fabric of Puerto Rico.
En Foco is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, BronxCare Health System, The Joy of Giving Something, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund Culpeper Arts and Culture, New York Community Trust Mosaic Network & Fund, the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Aguado-Pavlick Arts Fund.