April 3 - May 8 2011
Image: Erica Baum, Examined, 2009
Bureau is pleased to present a solo exhibition by New York artist, Erica Baum. The show will feature her newest photographic series, Dog Ear alongside examples of her rarely seen mid-90s series Blackboards.
Baum has a consistent inventiveness for creating stunning compositions, both formal and literary, when photographing printed material. In her new series, Dog Ear, as with her previous work, Baum samples from found, printed text. She begins by completing a simple operation: folding the page of a book, or ‘dog ear-ing’ it. Her photographs of these simply modified pages feature squares of text, bisected diagonally, composed of severed sentences opposing at ninety degrees. The images are bold and minimal, inviting the viewer to consider harmonic geometries of stark black lines of text stamped on toothy pages. The magnified scale of these pieces brings out the varieties of paper, ink and type.
These photographs also have a literary relevance, a partner to their elegant visual compositions, because like much of Baum’s text-heavy work, these pieces can, and should, be read. Baum uses an economy of means to create both subtly beautiful compositions and richly poetic language on the page. Kenneth Goldsmith, in his essay in her forthcoming monograph, ‘Dog Ear’, states:
All of Baum’s texts hold up to close scrutiny. It’s here that the crux of her practice is revealed; she has selected these dog ears equally for their visual and literary merits. [...] If she’s just visually fetishizing old books, any page would do. But it’s the bouncy resonance of the texts, combined with the striking beauty of these configurations, that gives this body of work the power that it has.
Two gelatin silver prints from her series Blackboards contrast the Dog Ear pieces, with their slate black surfaces seen filtered through a haze of gestural chalk lines and marks. These early works allow the eye to rest on expanses of empty blackness and lush swaths of dusty chalk between the squares of concrete poetry.
This exhibition will coincide with the release of a new monograph on Erica Baum’s Dog Ear series, with new essays by Kenneth Goldsmith and Beatrice Gross, published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
Erica Baum (b. 1961 in New York City) lives and works in New York. She received a B.A. in anthropology from Barnard College and an M.F.A. in Photography from the Yale School of Art. She has exhibited in New York, Berlin, Athens, Baltimore, San Francisco, Kansas City, Weisbaden, Milan, and Malmö, she has an upcoming exhibition at Circuit in Lausanne. Publications include, 'Vitamin Ph- New Perspectives in Photography', edited by TJ Demos, Phaidon Press, 2006, ‘Sightings’, One Star Press 2011 and ‘The Naked Eye’, with Kenneth Goldsmith, Free Association 2009.