What Artists Give Us

Friday, February 25, 2011


Sze Tsung Leong. Alameda, México DF, 2009


First, please excuse the current lapse in posts. I was away on the west coast - about which more to come as soon as I get a chance.

Just before I left, however, I went to see the just opened show "Cities" by Sze Tsung Leong (at Yossi Milo) and was much taken by the craft and consistency of vision of this relatively new to the scene photographer. Leong - as you will see from his website produces vast serial bodies of landscape work sticking to a fairly rigid compositional format for each series. This in itself is nothing new, but Leong travels so far and to so many places that his encyclopedic breadth crossed with his pictorial skill combine to take us somewhere new.

A sure sign of this is that when I looked out of my hotel window in Los Angeles, I felt I was seeing a Leong picture! And as I thought about this, I realized that one of the things artists give us is a way of defining and ordering what we see. A sea horizon can be a Meyerowitz or a Sugimoto. A random gesture in a park can be a Winogrand. A tackily colored interior can be an Eggleston. And rather than taking away from the pleasure of seeing these things, for those of us who are not artists I think it actually adds pleasure. Recognizing the association is in itself a creative gesture. Thus the realization that the scene outside my window (below) was like a Leong was both a gift from the artist and a gift from and to myself.



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