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Indepth Arts News:

"Edmund Teske: Images Out of Time"
2004-07-08 until 2004-08-28
Stephen Cohen Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Edmund Teske: Images Out of Time explores work of the celebrated Los Angeles-based photographer Edmund Teske (1911-1996) at the Stephen Cohen Gallery, July 8 through August 28. The show, running concurrent with the J. Paul Getty Museum retrospective, features a wide range of Teske’s work, stretching from early black-and-white documentary images of street scenes and found objects, to impressionistic red-grey-brown duotone solarizations, to his signature surreal images that beautifully blur the lines between reality and fantasy.

A pioneering visual artist, Teske was born in Chicago in 1911, where his childhood interest in photography grew into a 60-year pursuit of artistic freedom. His early training at Taliesin with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s offered Teske important early inspiration from the master himself, and new ways of thinking about and seeing art.

After moving to Hollywood in 1943, Teske’s work took a unique turn. A contemporary of photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott, Paul Strand, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Teske distinguished himself by his experimental alchemy in the darkroom as much as by his visual acuity behind the lens. Mixing various concentrations of photo chemicals and then blasting intense concentrations of light onto high-contrast paper, Teske created dramatic color stains and streaking effects. The results of this imaginative, one-of-a-kind solarization process give many of Teske’s images a smoky, burnt umber, atmospheric quality where the image looks more like a tonal painting than a photograph.

Teske's deepening interest in Hindu Vedantic philosophy (which affirms the oneness of existence, divinity of the soul, and harmony of religions) is reflected in his increased experimentation with composite printing techniques (the sandwiching of multiple negatives), which characterized his mature work. These extraordinary unique, surreal photographs reconfigure our conventional ideas about time and space into a new visual and emotional reality.

His photographs are in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, LACMA, Museum of Modern Art (NY), San Francisco MOMA, Norton Simon Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art among others.

From his abstractions and portraits of the Hollywood glitterati (includingJim Morrison of the Doors), to figure studies and architectural tributes to mentor Frank Lloyd Wright, Teske’s versatile work transforms our visual perceptions.

A new Getty publication, "Spirit into Matter: the Photographs of Edmund Teske" by Julian Cox, will be available at the gallery on opening night.

Edmund Teske
Bill Allard, Composite with Mono Lake, 1970's

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