Ellipsis: Dual Vision by Stephen Posen
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The result is 'Ellipsis,' which consists of 174 paired, unedited images, culled from an archive of several thousand. Individually, the photos might seem ordinary; juxtaposed, they play with perception and negative space, transcending the dailiness of their subjects and approaching the realm of metaphor and optical illusion.
Vision, meaning is created through the pairing of photographs. The collection as a whole abandons narrative in favor of disparate and ostensibly unrelated images. Posen’s juxtapositions reflect a well-trained eye (he is also a painter with an affinity for abstraction and realism). With an emphasis on form, color, light, and texture, Posen asks the viewer to make connections between a urinal and a crocodile tank; a swan and a pool table; a graveyard and a merry-go round. Significance emerges out of this dual vision, or rather, the pairings allow for enough ambiguity that meaning is potentially infinite.
This tome shows his works in unique pairings of photographs where Posen uses color, form, content, or other interface, yet lets the viewer determine an association between them. Each of us may very well see something different in our minds view. There is an energy in these diptychs that is playful, poetic, and poignant.
In Ellipsis: Dual Vision (Published by Glitterati Incorporated), Stephen Posen’s first photographic monograph containing series of 174 paired photographs, the artist directly explored photography with a painter’s eye. Shifting the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical, Posen uses his photographs as a poet uses the word, each image acting as both the symbol and subject of a larger idea.
Like the grammatical ellipsis, the concept of what can be taken out of something and examined is the focal point as Posen lines up two artworks side-by-side on one to two pages. Concentrating on pairs, two images have something in common somehow, be it by color, size, shape, topic, or even exact opposites. The idea is for the viewer to concentrate on why the artist selected the pairs and what makes them similar.
A book form is really exciting and presents its own challenges. While my work had been running a parallel course between painting and photography, there came a point when I realized that my photography could stand independently, as my paintings do. At that juncture, making a beautiful book seemed to be the best way to communicate most broadly with an interested public.
Stephen Posen has been pursuing the slippery links between photography and painting for decades — his first solo show was at New York’s O.K. Harris gallery in 1969 — and he has continued to restlessly question how disparate images can engage with each other. Recent photographic experiments resulted in the work collected in the just-published Ellipsis: Dual Vision, from Glitterati Incorporated, with an introduction by Modern Painters executive editor Scott Indrisek, and an essay by Zac Posen, Stephen’s esteemed fashion designer son.
Strands of blonde hair over the shoulder of a cherry red sweater, the zig-zag of an airplane pillow wedged between woman and window: this is all we see of the passenger seated in the row ahead. Yet the photographer of this image, New York artist Stephen Posen, thickens the plot by pairing it with something completely different in his new book. This airplane shot was taken somewhere over the Atlantic in 2013 and he couples it with one he took a year earlier and thousands of miles away at a mosque in southern Turkey, where a chain-link curtain disappears behind a golden door. Juxtapositions such as these, at turns enchanting, amusing, enigmatic, and sobering, fill the pages of 'Ellipsis: Dual Vision,' Posen's first monograph.
Ellipsis: Dual Vision is the first monograph of Stephen Posen, with a preface by Alexandra Posen, premise Colin Cheney, introducing Scott Indrisek and edited by Zac Posen. The peculiarity of this photographer resides in the ability to capture unique shots in balance between realism and abstraction. He collected 174 photographs from his archive, representing a variety of locations and subjects, and he paged them in pairs associating them by color, shape, content, or some other mysterious connection. The viewer will have to understand the connections between seemingly unrelated images that together could have potentially infinite meanings."
"This is a clever book, we are asked to engage our intellect as well as our senses, the spatial awareness of puzzle solving, or the mapping of colour, pattern, texture to explore diverse images. Posen’s background as a painter is evident in the abstract approach to this body of work and yet the fundamentals of image making and photography frame the concept. Its essence may be the simplicity and fundamentals of pattern, line, form, colour, shape, texture, and light; but it is the juxtaposition and choice of how elements are paired that create this vision."