Photo: Woman at Beach, New Jersey Shore, 1967 Vintage gelatin silver, printed ca. 1967.
June 17, 2015
Steven Kasher Gallery present its summery show, Burk Uzzle: American Puzzles,the first exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery. The exhibition features over 70 vintage black and white photographs of the American social landscape from the 1960s through the 2000s. Like the photographs of the New Topographics, Uzzle’s work offers a formal simplification of the visual field with an emotionally complex rendering of American society. His puzzle-like images question and confront the tensions present in our individual and cultural psyches.
Uzzle’s work utilizes nuanced compositions, quirky and obscure. They feature a poignant yet empathetic sense of irony. Uzzle says, “These photographs are an appreciation of America. Their structure, like that of America itself, evokes a melody of movement and collage – not an explanation. Unlike documents, they play tag with layers of reality, both interior and exterior. America is like that, conditioning us to zig-zag and change with its constant, energetic barrage of many and various realities. But there is a melody in all the movement, and I can only feel it in America.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson advised Uzzle to study the Quattrocento painters which, as he says, erased his laser vision that riveted on a single headline moment and opened his eyes to the play of planes “to head me into confusion, riot, and the camera’s gluttony and the simultaneous distraction of the world.” Alongside of his artistic work, Uzzle has produced some of the most recognizable images we have of Woodstock, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cambodian War.