Mar 2–Apr 22, 2023
Silver Eye Center for Photography
The Aaronel deRoy Gruber & Irving Gruber Gallery
4808 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
1/5: Brake: 12 Aluminum Panels, 2022
2/5: In Absolute Space 105/107, 2022
3/5: Spectator 1914, 2014
4/5: Color Darkroom Print Viewing Filters, 2017
5/5: Untitled Color 0319, 2019
What defines photography? Defying conventional notions about photography's qualities, April Friges reimagines the possibilities of photographic processes, creating objects that assert their physicality as sculpture and collage. What becomes possible when we leave behind any assumptions about how a medium should be used?
The works in this exhibition speak directly to methods pioneered in photography's early histories. Friges creates work in the darkroom using photosensitive papers or traditional collodion wet plate techniques, utilizing light and chemistry without the use of a camera. Her work connects with the history of mid-19th-century practices–tintypes, contact printing–while advancing their future by experimenting with materials, technology, and site-specific installation.
Friges' investigations challenge our assumptions that photography is about pictures. While developments in early photography focused on stabilizing or flattening the image, this exhibition's three-dimensional objects are alive with performance—shape-shifting inside or beyond the frame. Recent works employing mirror-like surfaces invite each viewer to redefine their personal ideas about what constitutes photography.
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April Friges (b. 1981, Lorain, Ohio) artwork is made in various analog photographic darkroom settings, utilizing light and chemistry as the foundation for their exposure, without the use of a camera. She then applies three-dimensional construct methods with the material, such as assembling and sculpting the photographic prints, or working with heavy duty sheet metal tools to form her tintypes. Subsequently, the fragility of the darkroom papers and the rigidness of the aluminum plates employ a playful dialogue within contemporary photographic practices, such as expressing the object-ness and material aspects of the medium. Her works relate image, object, and perception to demonstrate how these theoretical concepts are central to the field. Friges received her MFA in studio art from The University of California, Irvine, and is associate professor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been teaching higher education lens-based courses for over fifteen years.
Her work has been included in venues such as LAXART, The Spencer Museum of Art, MOCAD, AIPAD, FilterPhoto and PGH Photo Fair. Permanent public and private collections include The Museum of Contemporary Photography, BNY Mellon and the Duane Michals Estate. Friges’ work can also be found at Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.