The Flaxen Diary, 2002-2011 and Tree's Own 2011


Christian Vogt

March 22 - May 5, 2012

Rick Wester Fine Art is very pleased to announce the gallery’s first exhibition of work by Christian Vogt, marking the Swiss photographer’s return to New York after almost 25 years although he is well known in his home country and throughout Europe. With a successful career in advertising and editorial photography he was well known in the 1970s and 80s for his reductive, elegant yet subversive approach to the formal aspects of photography. Forever the visual jester, his vision is a combination of formal complexity and unusual treatments of classic subjects resulting in surprising and satisfying juxtapositions, creating a pictorial narrative that spreads from picture to picture.

The Flaxen Diary is one such fictional narrative, seemingly distilled from a memoir of adventures and acquaintances observed. The images are as diverse as a Magritte-like cloud suspended over Kauai and an unidentifiable woman in a skin-tight leopard skin pantsuit lounging in a perfect living room, disturbed only by a pool of dried candle wax defacing a sculptural glass table before her. Color plays an enormous role in Vogt’s photographic inventions, at once serene, subtle and strikingly on point in bending reality. Surreal twists are employed throughout The Flaxen Diary, as in the indelible image of a nude swimmer floating in midair, which is really a pool that becomes a pale blue sky over a forest as the image is presented upside down. It is a sly statement of the artist’s seditious intent: to overturn photography’s most basic function to document the world as it is. Christian Vogt simply sees the world differently than anyone else and is quite satisfied to be a catalyst and reminder that seeing is not a passive act.

Tree’s Own is the artist’s most recently completed work. A series of ten enameled metal plates reproducing black and white pen and ink drawings reduced and abstracted from photographs, the set is intended to be mounted to trees outdoors, as visual path markers. The images, simply graphic and totemic in nature are in this age of GPS an appeal to a layer of collective memory, more Hansel and Gretel than Google Maps.

Rick Wester Fine Art is a gallery of mid-career and emerging photographic artists whose collective vision has expanded the lexicon of contemporary photography in unique ways. We also offer a wide variety of secondary market pictures.

All works © Christian Vogt.