The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition of recent work by Penelope Umbrico. With this new body of work Umbrico continues to explore the possibilities of abstractions in photography. However, whereas the earlier work referred obliquely to organic sources and man-made objects altered by blurred focus and decontextualization. In addition, the color of each object has all been transformed to standard blood-red. Photographer and grouped in this way, the appear as organic matter---the object becomes the body that produced it.
In another new work, Umbrico has found images of crowds of people, and cemeteries. In rephotographing, the original identity of the picture is blurred and therefore obscured, and cannot be distinguished one from the other-posting a dialogue between life and death cycles.
Umbrico's smaller biomorphic images have always resembled glass plates used to view specimens under a microscope. She has pushed this connection further by actually lifting images of hair and skin from magazines and transferring them to glass. These "glass specimens" are presented along with photographic contact prints made from them using the plate as a negative. The images have gone through numerous transformations-from body (where they were photographed from and presented in a magazine) to glass (objects), and back to the body (with contact prints). THese contact prints resemble photograms, with the light image against a dark blue background calling to mind celestial landscapes and throwing the scale into a completely ambiguous realm. Altogether, Umbrico's new work continues themes explored in earlier works, but with greater conceptual rigor combined with her unorthodox sense of color, form and scale.
Among many public and private collections, Umbrico's work is included in that of The Museum of Modern Art (permanent installation), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the INternational Center of Photography in New York. HEr work has been exhibited widely, including a solo show in 1992 entitled "Variants" at the ICP, "More Than One Photography" curated by Peter Galassi at MoMA, and "Content and Discontent" (currently on at the Bruce Museum in Connecticut), a show about abstraction in contemporary photography curated by Andy Grundberg and circulated by the ICI.
For further information or press prints, please call the gallery.