May 4 through June 17, 1990

Susan Fenton’s works do not surrender their secrets readily; instead these views of arrested moments and fragmentary episodes pique curiosity. Crafted from photographs of posed models and props which are then painted with subtle color, these are images of elegance and mystery. In choosing to construct her compositions rather than find them, Susan Fenton reveals her training as a painter; her toned silverprints serve as underpaintings, providing the forms and patterns which she accentuates with combinations of quiet tones. Her figures shield themselves from view, often turning away from the camera. Simple caps and minimal costumes obscure their personal identities, revealing their essential humanity. While props and body paint enhance the formal aspects of these compositions, the ambiguous figures are their focus, simultaneously demanding of and indifferent to attention. Directed inward, these figures invite contemplation and requite it with gentle insight.

Bruce Katsiff
Using a palette of bleached bones and dried flowers, Bruce Katsiff builds, then photographs, elaborate, fragile arrangements exploring transient beauty. As Katsiff says, “The ‘creatures’ I record with my camera reveal the structure beneath the surface …. When the texture and veneer of life’s exterior surface has departed, the structure beneath the surface hints at the mystery of life. Often the unseen elements of life reveal a design and grace that is beyond the reach of our ability to create and understand.”

An extension of his straightforward photographs of found animal bodies, Bruce Katsiff’s current work incorporates these animals with other relics in intricately balanced constructions. He explains, “I was not satisfied with the traditional approach of selecting my images from the natural world as I found it. By bringing my subjects into my studio, I am able to construct environments and to have complete control over the lighting and visual organization of the images.”

Bruce Katsiff’s printing in platinum marks him as one of those currently reviving the process, so popular early in this century. These photographs skillfully employ platinum printing’s rich tonal scale and delicate surface to different effect: a diffuse lambency intensifies the sculptural aspects of some constructions, while others employ a compressed tonal scale and brittle focus to etching-like effect. In his formal compositions, Bruce Katsiff combines once living organisms and architectural elements, juxtaposing their similar patterns to explore their essential order.

Anne Monahan
Curatorial Assistant

Checklist

Bruce Katsiff’s works courtesy of the artist Susan Fenton’s works courtesy of the artist and the Cava Gallery

Susan Fenton
Gray Profile with Satin Drape, 1989
Hand-painted Overprint, 24″ x 24″

Figure in Shadow, 1989
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Figure at Portal, 1989
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Black and White Profile, 1989
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Milkyway, 1989
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Black Turban, Red and Green, 1989
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

White Satin Helmet, 1990
Hand-painted Overprint, 24″ x 24″

Figure, Turned Against White, 1990
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Pink with White Poles, 1990
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Profile Against Gray, 1990
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Black Witch Hat, 1990
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Floral Striped Table, 1990
Hand-painted silverprint, 24″ x 24″

Bruce Katsiff
Frozen Flight, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

Shadow, Light and Birth, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

“Because I Do Not Hope to Turn,” 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

Flying Totem, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

The Trinity, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

The Golden Section, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

Pieces of a Life, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

Nocturnal Mandible, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

The Dream of Silence, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 12″ x 20″

Winged Equine, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

Helix, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

Feast of the Cabal, 1990
Platinum/palladium print, 20″ x 12″

The Sleep of Peace, 1988
Platinum/palladium print, 8″ x 10″

Barn Swallow’s Web, 1988
Platinum/palladium print, 8″ x 10″

Joan and Denver’s Cat, 1988
Platinum/palladium print, 8″ x 10″

Kitten’s Leap, 1988
Platinum/palladium print, 8″ x 10″

Artist Biographies

Susan Fenton
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, B.A., 1970
Tyler School of An, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, M.A.Ed., 1975
Mason Gross School of Art, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, M.F.A., 1980

Selected Awards
1989 Artist in Residence , Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California
1988 Philadelphia Art Now Bus Shelter Project; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship

Selected Individual Exhibitions
1989 Cava Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1988 AlIport Gallery, San Francisco, California
1987 Cava Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1982 La Galleria Temple, Rome, Italy
1980 Douglass College, New Brunswick, New Jersey
1979 Lawrence Gallery, Rosemont College, Rosemont Pennsylvania

Selected Group Exhibitions
1990
Philadelphia Art Now, Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, PA
Surface Appearances. The Painted Photograph, Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI

1989
Made Not Taken, Marian Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Blatant Image, Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Hard Choices, Just Rewards, travelling exhibition organized by the Levy Gallery, Moore College of Art Philadelphia, PA
The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

1988
The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

1987
Made in Philadelphia 7, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA

1986
Faces of the City, Art in City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Photographers International, travelling exhibition organized by the CIGNA Museum, Philadelphia, PA

1982-84
The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

1980 Opens Friday Series, Moore College of Art Philadelphia, PA

Bruce Katsiff
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1964
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, B.FA., 1968
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, M.FA., 1973
Oxford University, Seminars on Photography, Oxford, England, 1985,1987

Selected Individual Exhibitions
1989 Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1987 Booktrader Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1984 Bowman Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1979 Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
1978 Perks Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania

Selected Group Exhibitions
1989
Alternative Visions, Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
Prints and Photographs, The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

1988
Ironworks 88, Santa Fe Photography Center, Santa Fe, NM
Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL

1987
Lost/Found Object, Lawrence Gallery, Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA
American Photographers, Tianjin Institute, Tianjin, China
Pennsylvania Photographers V, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown Pennsylvania,

1986
Philadelphia Photographers International, travelling exhibition organized by the CIGNA Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1983
Pennsylvania Photographers III, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania

1982
Past and Present, Hicks Art Center, Bucks County Community College, Newtown, Pennsylvania
The Print Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The panel discussion scheduled May 5, 1 1990, Pushing the Limits of Media: Making Photographs, Not Just Taking Photographs, has been supported by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission and the Photography Sesquicentennial Project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Philadelphia National Bark

Morris Gallery exhibitions of the work of contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel, and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Other Morris Gallery exhibitions of contemporary American art are curated by the Morris Gallery Coordinator, Judith Stein. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibitions Committee are: Moe Brooker, Diane Burko, Diane Karp, Brian Meunier, Dr. Perry Ottenberg, Richard Sigismund, Ann Temkin; Academy staff Judith Stein, Linda Bantel, Susan Danly, and Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., Ex Officio.
Copyright, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art Philadelphia. 1990

Helen Mirkil

See Helen Mirkil's full Portfolio