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Richard Learoyd @ Fraenkel Gallery

  • Fraenkel Gallery 49 Geary St, Suite 450 San Francisco, CA 94108 (map)
5 Jan 2017 – 4 Mar 2017
Opening reception: Thursday, January 5, 5:30-7:30pm
Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present the worldwide debut of new, large-scale photographs by British artist Richard Learoyd from January 5 – March 4, 2017. Featured are color studio portraits, still lifes, and black-and-white landscapes photographed in California and Eastern Europe. All of the photographs were made with room-sized cameras constructed by the artist.
Richard Learoyd’s singular working methods use a camera obscura to create remarkable extra-large-format darkroom photographs, up to 85 inches wide. Both in the studio and in nature, the focal point of the artist’s camera lens captures a nearly hyperreal level of detail, lending the person or landscape a heightened quality of presence. This is contrasted with the shallow depth of field, in which the subject gradually becomes out of focus as it recedes from the camera, as if to escape the visual acuity of the viewer.
In Learoyd’s most recent larger-than-life portraits, his subjects are turned away from the camera, seemingly unknowable. But the artist’s palpable curiosity manifests itself in the intensely rendered details. The photographs have a physicality and tactility that projects a desire for closeness. Subtle use of gesture, color, and pose become signifiers of the subject’s inner life, while the translucent qualities of skin and fabric suggest human vulnerability and fragility.