See a review of Gwen Adler's work by Shana Nys Dambrot in Whitehot
My work features photographic memories and architectural fabrications, chronicling material culture and the experience of place. Weaving the contemporary visual world into art historical themes and compositions, I build digital montage images that derive from monumental altar pieces and architectural masterworks as well as the knick-knacks of civilization.
The process begins with photographing raw material, primarily in the urban environment, where aesthetic richness provides an endless palette of shape, texture and color. The huge collaborative creative effort that forms the shape of a city presents a visual record that is at once historical and current, as artifacts of our ancestors alongside the products of contemporary culture unfold.
I often shoot reflected images that catch gleams of light and layers of depth leaping from multifaceted forms, creating an interplay between positive and negative space, offering an illusion of penetrable and impenetrable space. Nature works its way in, anchoring layers of information as highlight or backdrop, direct or reflected, cultivated or wild.
My post-camera work involves constructing new forms which stretch the limitations of the camera’s format regarding framing and composition. This process allows me to vary perspective, creating spaces with perspectives of their own, where appearance bends to accommodate experience.
While photography is traditionally a narrative medium, I ask viewers to let go of the notion that a photograph is a picture of a particular thing, and to focus instead on the imagery that emerges from recomposed elements taking shape as an abstract visualization of thought.
Gwen Adler is a New York City based artist who holds a master’s degree in painting from New York University and an undergraduate degree in anthropology and photography from Washington University in St. Louis.
In addition to her career as an artist, Gwen has worked as a studio photographer and darkroom specialist, an art teacher, and a theatrical set and costume designer.
Her artwork appears in private collections in Germany, France, and in the US, in Los Angeles and NYC.