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Kim Foster Gallery opens exhibition of works by Susan Wides
Installation view.

NEW YORK, NY.- Drawing on an alliance with the Catskills environment, these works propose a renewal of vision, an experiential encounter between the self and nature out in the world, rather than an encounter mediated by technological devices. this: seasons reflects upon our distance from our imperiled environment in the anthropocene.

Working on-site, a camera and the unique focal properties of its lenses map the immediacy of sensory awareness and impermanence. Focal manipulations— from sharp depiction to defocused abstracted elements—indicate shifting and elusive perceptual awareness experienced amidst light, air, water, rocks and trees. The way the eye seamlessly darts from place to place, selective attention, memory, and the movement of the body through space all coalesce in a multivalent visualization of a site via the lens.

The photographs of this: seasons were made in the Kaaterskill Clove, the inspiration for the Hudson River School artists. Luminous color and light and a persistent sense of place animate both my photographs and the Hudson River School paintings. Those paintings were grounded in a vision of a grand, majestic nature that reflected 19th century ideas about imperialist expansion. Today, the dominance and acceleration of technology have deeply affected our relationship to time and space and have corroded our ability to be truly present. Created in a time when nature is degraded and in urgent need of preservation, this: seasons pushes us not to merely exist in our environment, but to directly engage with phenomena.

These photographs are inspired by the historic and cultural influences that vibrate in a setting and by how we gather up these bits of data to form an idea of a landscape. Merleau-Ponty wrote of Cezanne that he depicted “an object in the act of appearing, organizing itself before our eyes.” His words articulate my desire to capture the immersive act of beholding. Through manipulations of light and space in the photographs, I seek to slow down the moment of observing so we can see deeply into the experience and meaning of a landscape and contemplate where we are. --Susan Wides

“The perceptions we merge into a vision of the world are incessantly shifting, as is vision’s focus on that world...By freezing complex perspectives, Wides invites us to come alive to vision as a kind of inventiveness, an integrative faculty that, moment by moment, connects us to our surroundings and, ultimately, to one another.” --Quote from Carter Ratcliff’s essay, “Susan Wides: Seeing Seen,” in the catalogue accompanying this exhibition.

Susan Wides has lived and worked as a camera artist in New York City since the 1980s. Her second home in the Hudson Valley/ Catskills has played an equally important part in her work since 2002. Known for her urban and rural works, botanical garden and waxwork photographs, the artist draws on her ongoing fascination with the processes of perceiving and photography. Foregrounding the language of the lens and its conceptual, psychological and formal dimensions, she references cultural and personal memory and imbues her work with a transcendent sense of place.

Exhibitions include a 2011 mid-career survey at The Hudson River Museum accompanied by a 100-page catalogue. The show consisted of three interconnected bodies of work—urban photographs of New York City, landscapes of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley suburbs. A solo show at the Dorsky Museum paired the I, Kaaterskill photographs with reproductions of the Hudson River School paintings of similar locations. Currently her work is on exhibition in the Art in Embassies Program in Ankara, Turkey and The Haifa Museum of Art in Israel. In 2018 the artist will participate in the three-artist show curated by Gary Stephan, Somewhere, Somehow, at Studio 10 in Bushwick.

Previous solo exhibitions include Kim Foster Gallery, NYC; The Center for Creative Photography, AZ; Art in General; MTA Arts for Transit; PS122; Visual Studies Workshop, NY; John Jay College, NY; Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, NY; and Urbi et Orbi Galerie, Paris.

Group exhibitions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; High Museum of Art; Middlebury College Museum of Art; Pierre Bernard Gallery, Nice, FR; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery at Vassar College; Howard Greenberg Gallery; Cornell University Gallery; Julie Saul Gallery; Ronald Feldman Gallery; The Bronx Museum; Museum of the City of New York; Princeton University Museum; The Brooklyn Museum; The New York Public Library and Municipal Art Society, New York.

Work by the artist is held in public collections, including The International Center of Photography, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Art Museum of Princeton University, NJ; La Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, FR; The Haifa Museum of Art; The Center for Creative Photography, AZ; The Norton Museum of Art, FL; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Museum, NY; The New York Public Library; The New School, NY; Hudson River Museum; The Samuel Dorsky Museum; Indiana University Museum; Kenyon College and the Museum of The City of New York.

Anthologies containing the artist’s work include ‘New York in Color’ (Abrams), ‘A Photographer’s City’ (Rizzoli), ‘Lives of the Hudson’ (Prestel), ‘One Man’s Eye’ (Abrams) and ‘Here is New York’ (Scalo). Wides’ work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, Art News, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Camerawork, Village Voice, Le Monde, The Guardian, Doubletake, The Washington Post, Vogue, Harper’s and New York, among others.

Susan Wides is also the Director and Curator of ‘T’ Space, a nonprofit gallery dedicated to the crossinspiration of art, poetry, architecture and music in a natural setting in the Hudson Valley.

The exhibition is on view at Kim Foster Gallery through December 22, 2017.

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