Eileen Neff: Between UsSeptember 7 - December 16, 2007
Exhibition Walkthrough with artist Eileen Neff and curators Patrick Murphy and Ingrid Schaffner
Thursday, September 6, 5pm. ICA Members Only.
Thursday, September 6, 6-8pm
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to present "Eileen Neff: Between Us." This exhibition of over thirty photographs by the Philadelphia artist Eileen Neff will be on view in the second floor gallery from September 7-December 16, 2007. Focusing on the past ten years, the exhibition traces a fascinating and critical shift from the camera to the computer. Five early works establish the foundations of Neff's photo-based practice in sculpture and painting. A video debuts a new foray into the moving image. This is the second major presentation of Neff's work at ICA. Following its debut at Artists Space in New York, her installation The Mountain a Bed and a Chair was presented in in 1992 at ICA.
Using the camera, the computer, and the space of the studio, Eileen Neff poetically reconstructs moments experienced outside of it. Clouds move from outdoors to in. Windows appear as apertures onto completely other places. The landscape doubles but does not mirror itself. A blur of motion is bifurcated by one strangely still tree. These arresting images show how unfamiliar the world can be. To cut these moments out of the flow of events and images that daily surround us, Neff uses the camera like scissors. And as the early works in this exhibition demonstrate, her practice is essentially connected to collage. Cul de Sac (1996) is literally a cutout: a photograph shaped like an armchair upon which is enthroned a tree. This work also conveys an essential theme in Neff's work: the collapse between interior and exterior spaces and conditions. More recently, the use of digital technology has made the cut-and-paste aspect of Neff's work more seamless and complex. However, she also has a knack for finding images that look constructed. The trees in the 2007 photograph Summer (The Couple) were seen as they appear, embracing each other in a field. Humor is a quiet, but constant component of Neff's art, in which scale and shape also play important roles. Slipping Glimpse (2006) is a narrow one-inch wide photograph that visually references the Abstract Expressionist painter Barnett Newman's famous "zips." The writings of Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau are some of the other touchstones for this deeply intelligent and beautiful work.
Eileen Neff (b. 1945, Philadelphia, PA) received an MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, a BFA in Painting from Philadelphia College of Art, and a B.A. in English Literature from Temple University. She has exhibited her photographic work in solo and group exhibitions nationally, P.S. 1 in Long Island City, Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, Artist Space, New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art among others. She has participated in artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire and La Napoule Art Foundation, La Napoule, France. She is the recipient of numerous commissions and awards including fellowships from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Pew Fellowships in the Arts. She is currently an adjunct professor in the MFA program in Painting at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, a Graduate Seminar instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a Senior Critic in the Graduate Fine Arts Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
This exhibition is organized by Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator, and Patrick Murphy, Director, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland. It is accompanied by a 64-page catalog with an introduction by Schaffner, a conversation with the artist and Murphy and an essay by Jeremy Sigler, a New York-based poet. The catalog is fully illustrated and includes a complete exhibition history.
This exhibition will travel to the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland in 2009.
Installation views at ICA. Photos by Aaron Igler. > click to enlarge
Conversation: Eileen Neff and Jeremy Sigler
Whenever Wednesday, October 17, 7pm
Artist and writer Eileen Neff and poet Jeremy Sigleris, Associate New York Editor of Parkett, will discuss the nature and process of Neff's work on view this fall in ICA's second floor gallery.
Location: ICA Tuttleman Auditorium
ICA acknowledges generous sponsorship from the Locks Foundation for exhibition and catalog support. We are grateful for additional funding from: Mari & Peter Shaw; Lynne & Harold Honickman; the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts; Dr. Karl & Patsy Rugart; Dr. Janice T. Gordon; Frances & Bayard Storey; and Sarah McEneaney. ICA thanks the following for supplementary funding: The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania.
Images, top to bottom: Eileen Neff, Night Falls, 2001, C-print, 40 x 110 3/4 inches, edition of 3. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia. Eileen Neff, Anecdote of the Tree, 1999-2000, C-print mounted on aluminum, 44 x 64 inches, edition of 5. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia...Eileen Neff, Circle in the Rain, 2007, C-print mounted on aluminum, 15 x 28 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.