Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present Equipoise: Stasis and the Power of Suggestion in Still Life. Featured artists include David Dew Bruner, David Halliday, David Konigsberg, David Sokosh, and sculpture by Paul Katz. The exhibit is on view August 11 through October 1st with an artists’ reception on Saturday, August 12th from 5-7pm. All are welcome to attend.

The still life genre in modern art has primarily been the basis from which to experiment; the possibilities of technique, style, and form are pushed to greater limits when the subject originates as a tangible, if not relatable, object. The allure of the artists’ work in this exhibit is that it extends beyond the realm of mere representation for its own sake; it proffers a narrative, a history, and the suggestion of another, different or underlying state. Each artist flexes the power of their unique visual language, using objects and composition to punctuate a mesmerizing, organic conversation. The delicate push and pull of what to add versus what to omit is the modest force that transforms amorphous elements into something concrete. When this moment of equipoise is achieved, it’s cool, it’s collected, and it’s got pulse.

David Dew Bruner’s latest series of drawings are titled Morandi Bottles, referencing early 20th century painter Giorgio Morandi’s softly painted still life paintings of pastel-colored bottles. However, Bruner’s drawings rendered in graphite pencil and acrylic are forms at their most distilled, platonic ideals of bottles and jugs. A student of the Bauhaus aesthetic (his teacher studied under Joseph Albers), Bruner repetitiously spins variations of his design, pronounced by geometric mark makings akin to crystalline forms. He manages to portray multiple views of the object on the same plane. In Bruner’s case, the absence of an inherent underlying significance of the object itself is null. Yet these lifeless forms presented in unique vintage or contemporary frames seem to teeter with personality all the same. David Dew Bruner currently has a solo exhibit of collages at Saratoga Arts through August 26th.

David Halliday broods on the simultaneous banality and poetry of the shapes of things. Through careful visual organization, his photographs contrast minimal forms with compositions that are more complex in detail. A work titled Garden Chair features a rickety three-legged chair loaded precariously with gardening tools and an oversized planter in a manner that feels spontaneous and matter-of-fact. The overall distribution of color and form, however, is intentional in its balancing act. In a suite of richly pigmented sepia tone images, Halliday refines the form of a vintage tilt table. Whereas Cezanne might tilt the tabletop to reveal carefully composed elements from an impossible vantage point, Halliday upends the table completely. The elegant silhouette of a smooth oval floating above curvaceous legs is satisfyingly seductive. One could get lost in the solid epicenter of the image, which is penetrating and vast in its darkness. The artist more radically distills form in Stack No. 1, a graphic grouping of cream-colored circles; what originated as an inconsequential detail from an earlier photograph was extracted, enlarged, repeated, and placed in a new context. David Halliday continues to challenge our associations with commonplace objects by slightly manipulating the perspective to evolve our experience entirely.

In the latest paintings by Hudson based artist David Konigsberg, we observe in-between moments. There is suggestion of past and imminent possibility within each still capture. Konigsberg describes that his subjects are “animate – yet caught between actions – the raise of a cup, the flip of a page, in the crouch before the pounce.” Some of the paintings reveal a mixing of mediums; Konigsberg uses printmaking techniques to introduce qualities of spontaneity and surprise to his process. The addition of collaged monoprints emerges a new, defined silhouette of shapes in high contrast. While these graphic representations are contained, the paintings composed in oil spill beyond the confines of the canvas edge. A group of orange poppies are bold, expressive, and take up every inch of space. Bright, yellow lemons rest in a bowl that quietly reaches just beyond the frame; the vessel and its shadow cannot be restrained. The artist enjoys juxtaposing the minuteness and immensity in these works. David Konigsberg was most recently featured in a two-person exhibit with furniture maker Peter Superti at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY.

David Sokosh is a storyteller with a unique ability to internalize, synthesize, and recollect. If one of his tenderly photographed stills lifes was a tiny window into the workings of his mind, then on the other side you would discover a trove of collected treasures. Vintage teacups with cheeky quips and phrases fill shelves of props in the studio alongside antique busts, a skull, silver teapots, an old baseball signed by Babe Ruth; a mannequin donning a vintage, sailor uniform leans casually in the corner. His sustained preoccupation with material culture feeds his interest in photography and historical processes, making his knack for collecting the subject of his art. Sokosh has always embraced analog photographic methods, accepting heavy equipment and long exposure times as necessary mechanisms to antiquated production. In recent work, he creates prints from negatives using the 19th Century process of cyanotype. Relishing the physical qualities of hand-crafted prints, he uses chemistry and scale to manufacture variations on themes in signature, blue tones. Sokosh’s work is in numerous public collections including the Polaroid Corporation. He moved from Brooklyn to Claverack in 2015.

Paul Katz is an artist with many talents and a broad frame of reference for considering contemporary art and culture. He worked as a staff photographer for the Guggenheim Museum from 1962 – 1973, as a Lecturer in Art at Lehman College, as an editor at Art Now in the late 60’s, a private art dealer, and finally as a curatorial consultant at the Clark Institute. It was the amalgamation of a career analyzing culture and philosophy through the lens of visual art that led to a series he has been crafting for the last two decades. This exhibit will feature a series of objects that embody William Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem, “The Prelude”. The inspiration came from a photograph published in the New York Times in the days following 9/11 showing an office in which everything was covered in grey ash, rendering the site of ordinary things like computers and desks to appear as an exhumed archeological site. In response to this visual, Katz has since coated found objects in sand and plaster. The surfaces are meticulously painted with the words from the poem by Wordsworth, viewing the effect “as nearly post-apocalyptic as that photograph but with culture itself, in the form of poetry, settling like ash over everything”. Paul Katz lives in Bennington, VT with his wife and artist, Anima Katz.