INGE MORATH AND ENOC PEREZ’S CUT SHAPES
By Naomi Barling
Created half a century apart, the works by Inge Morath and Enoc Perez share a sense of humor, an interest in concealment and a passion for cutting and making shapes out of paper before then combining them with images. From May 7, 2015 to June 13, 2015 Danziger Gallery presents their work as a two-person show, showing photographs by Inge Morath and photo collages by Enoc Perez called Cut Shapes.
Inge Morath (1923 – 2002) is an Austrian-born photographer. She joined the photographic cooperative Magnum in Paris by invitation of Robert Capa in 1953 and was Henri Cartier-Bressons assistant before becoming a full member. Her work was widely published in magazines, including Life, Paris Match and Vogue, and appeared in numerous books. Morath’s achievements during her first decade of work as a photographer are significant. Along with Eve Arnold, she was among the first women members of Magnum Photos, which remains to this day a mainly male organization. Many critics have written of the lively surrealism that characterizes Morath’s work from this period. Morath’s work was motivated by a fundamental humanism, shaped by her experience of war as well as the shadow that cast over Europe post-war. In Morath’s mature work, she documents the endurance of the human spirit under situations of extreme duress, as well as its manifestations of ecstasy and joy.
Enoc Perez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1967. He currently lives and works in New York. He is recognized for his multi-layered paintings of modernist buildings and throughout his twenty year career, the artist has worked with a variety of subjects that appeal to him from voluptuous nudes to still-lifes of Don Q rum bottles. Enoc Perez’s work belongs to the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Art Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, among other significant institutions throughout America.
Morath along with the late New Yorker artist Saul Steinberg 1914 – 1999 created a collaborative series in the late 1950s and early 1960s of unique images where their friends and acquaintances wear paper bags that had charismatic faces drawn on them. The Artist and photographer would tweak the noses of their subjects in these playful portraits. They would then stage the subjects and get them to pose in an everyday setting. Morath’s straightforward, reportorial style is the perfect contrast to Steinberg’s charming, whimsical masks. The deadpan of the photography and the Paul Klee’esq humor of the drawing, and the fascinating secrecy of the figures convey both humor and an unnerving psychological depth. We don’t know who these people are but we know exactly what sort of person they are. Between Morath’s deadpan style and Steinberg’s flights of fantasy they created a varied encyclopedia of attitudes, postures, and mannerisms.
Enoc Perez’s new photo collages engage with social media, appropriation, and the artist’s consistent search for new way of working. Peres sources amateur selfies or professional images from the internet of nude women, then adds hand painted and cut collaged shapes to both obscure and enhance the picture. The cutout shapes function as censor’s marks hiding our ability to see the original image in its entirety while making it all the more attention-grabbing and voyeuristic. The collage makes the sexual images more playful, colors and forms replace a need for more visual information and remind the audience of the artist’s role in directing and delivering fresh ways of seeing.
Danziger Gallery will showcase these photographs by Inge Morath and photo collages by Enoc Perez from May 7, 2015 to June 13, 2015.