Get ready to evolve. Convergent Evolution, a solo show by photographic artist Richard Chow at the Neutra Gallery in Silver Lake is a beautifully evocative mix of black and white images and a vivid color palette that show a wide and evolutionary range of Chow’s work.
Exhibiting images from radically divergent bodies of work, Chow takes bold risks in presenting disparate images that transcend beauty or social commentary, stimulating, challenging, and engaging the viewer in dialogue with the art.
Curated by Dulce Stein along with Chow, the work here features predominantly black and white images, making the vibrant full color photographs in Chow’s “URBANSCAPE” series a striking focal point.
“A New Angle,” above, is a strong example the artist’s exploration of how color and form can be reimagined within the construct of the urban landscape. Bold use of color is an essential component here, and it seems as if Chow is painting with his camera, using his surroundings as a palate. The intense colors and tight compositions that are characteristic of this series create compelling, dynamic images with an abstract modern aesthetic.
In sharp contrast, images from Chow’s more recently developed body of work, “Distant Memories,” are an ethereal black and white, crafted by inserting secondary lenses between the subject matter and the camera. In the series, the artist acts as curator of visual memories, questioning how they influence our individual humanity. Although the images, like the recollections they depict, are softy diffused and rely heavily on the use of light to convey emotion, the compositions are classic and strong.
“Memories,” Chow says, “are the result of a subconscious sifting through life experiences filtered through our emotional response. This process leaves them fragmented, somewhat indistinct.” The works, set against backdrops that are fertile ground for memories, explore subject matter that spans the emotional spectrum, triggering the viewer’s own memories.
Chow’s most recent body of work, “Into the Light,” returns to his architectural roots, but features black and white photography. These images, frequently larger in scale and devoid of color, allow the artist to plumb the depths of light, form, and function, exploring the urban landscape in relationship to those who inhabit it. While the series shares subject matter with its architecturally based predecessor, “URBANSCAPE,” here the photographer uses light, not color, to convey tone, atmosphere, and context – resulting in compelling images with an abstract modern aesthetic. No less vibrant and engaging for the absence of color, these images show Chow’s progression as an artist, the works becoming more experimental in nature. Chow makes extensive use of geometry to add structure and organization to images that are more abstract than his earlier works. These compositional techniques allow him to quite literally lead viewers into the light.
The exhibition closes Sunday, so add it to your weekend list. The Neutra is located at 2379 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake.
- Lisa Broadway with Genie Davis; photos courtesy of artist