“Susan Derges and Lucas Michaels Open New Photography Shows at Danziger Gallery”
September 11, 2013
By Brienne Walsh
In an age when anyone can take a decent image using their smartphone and an Instagram filter, many fine art photographers set their work apart using analog processes not accessible to most amateurs. In the main gallery at Danziger Gallery in New York, British artist Susan Derges, best known for her photograms—camera-less images she makes by manipulating light sensitive paper with sound waves, water, ambient light, and plants she plucks from the fields around her home—presents new works that employ the symbolism of gates and bridges to suggest portals into other worlds. Less photographs than they are paintings using photographic materials (paper and light), the images resemble beautiful fairy-scapes, or reflections on still water.
In the project room at the same gallery, Argentinian photographer Lucas Michaels resuscitates Andy Warhol in “Polaroids,” a series of photographs taken with the Polaroid Bigshot Camera, the same device Warhol used to take commissioned portraits in his Factory. The exhibition is a combination of three bodies of work: “Golden Globes” (2013), which features portraits of celebrities such as Lena Dunham, Megan Fox, and Ben Affleck taken backstage at the awards ceremony for a New York magazine assignment; “Ladies and Gentlemen” (2005–13), in which contemporary female artists re-enact poses made by transvestites in Warhol’s eponymously named body of work; and “Six Appearing Acts” (2004), a video that captures the emergence of six Polaroid photographs. Imitating Warhol is something that many artists have done before, but still, Michaels photographs are tiny blips of joy.