EBK/Hartford - Steven Holmes - Photography
February 20 – March 26
Well-known as the curator of The Cartin Collection and a former curator at Real Art Ways in Hartford, this exhibition marks his return to exhibiting his own work: it is his first solo exhibition in nearly 25 years. Curated by Eric Ben Kiki, the exhibition features photographs from negatives that were exposed in the early 1990s, but were only printed in late 2016 and a single, monumental photograph 4 feet high by 12 feet long, taken in late 2016.
Active as an artist in the late eighties and early nineties, Holmes stopped working as an artist in 1996 and became a curator organizing exhibitions and projects in Connecticut, New York, Boston, Berlin, Paris and Miami. A 2004 conversation with artist Sol Lewitt inspired his return to art making, but this return did not result in new work. Instead, he found himself drawn to the same austere, near-empty landscape of his work in the 90s. In a sense, time had stood still - subject, framing, tonalities, and a sense of absence remain virtually unchanged two decades later.
Ben Kiki selected all works for this exhibition, and directed their installation. This exhibition features eight photographs, seven of which are from negatives that were exposed in the early 1990s, but had remained unprinted and unseen until 2016. The eighth image was taken in November of 2016. The result is an exhibition made up of eight photographs that represent moments separated by more than 25 years, but only actualized and seen for the first time now. Says Holmes of this exhibition and the conversation with Lewitt that inspired it:
A lot of time has gone by since that conversation. In that time, I have finally come to terms with the fact that that the only art I can make is the art that I have only ever been able to make – records of very specific, fleeting moments of connectedness – sometimes in the most banal and sterile places. More importantly, I now realize that there is no hope of making the images I need to make unless I can learn how to first ‘be’. I have to be, before I can hope to see. … I am profoundly grateful to Eric for his willingness to show these works.
This exhibition continues EBK gallery’s commitment to showing work that connects, that bridges artists, communities, politics and ideas. Ben Kiki says:
“Steve has always been known as a curator at large for many years. What most people probably do not know is that he is also an artist in his own right. I think it’s rare to find an artist who after a lengthy dormancy reignites their artmaking life. A very difficult prospect for someone to do. It’s not as if you pick up where you’ve left off. It’s how your life has changed the way you perceive the world and how you take that first new step forward with no reassurance it will be a good thing to do. The beautiful images in this exhibit are intended and intelligent and cause me to disregard a pause in an artist’s career. But mostly, they cause me to contemplate.” -e