Joel Meyerowitz | The Elements: Air/Water, Part I

New York

21 February — 12 April 2008

The Elements: Air/Water #1, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #16, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #13, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #12, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #11, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #10, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #9, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #8, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #6, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #5, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #3, 2007

The Elements: Air/Water #2, 2007

Press Release

The first installation of related video and photographic works by Joel Meyerowitz will premiere at Edwynn Houk Gallery from 21 February through 12 April. An opening reception for the artist will be held from 6-8 pm on Thursday, February 21, 2008.

The genesis of The Elements: Air/Water, Part 1 was sparked in July 2007, when Joel Meyerowitz was directing a video of Olympic divers from an underwater viewing room at a Florida pool. The repetition of dives had one thing in common; with every entry into the pool, an enormous plume of bubbles encased the diver. As each diver swam away, the bubbles coalesced into a cloud that rose to the surface and returned to the atmosphere. This small observation, about one Element's transition into another, led him to think about the individual qualities of the four Elements and their physical relationships. Meyerowitz responded immediately by beginning a study of the Elements and making a commitment to observe what these essential facts of life would look like in video and photographs.

Although related to earlier projects, The Elements: Air/Water, Part 1 represents a conceptual departure from Meyerowitz's groundbreaking work in color photography. Similarly to his previous work, the new video and photographs that make up The Elements continue to describe place, light and space. However, he feels that traditional pictorial means are not as relevant to a subject of this magnitude. In examining the phenomena of Air/Water/Earth/Fire, he says, "the challenge is to try to bring the power of the phenomena itself into the viewing experience." He attempts to do this by moving away from the horizon line and the illusion of deep space. These new works have a flatness that, in combination with their large scale, presents an image where the viewer can step into and more fully experience a sensation of 'being there,' in the Elements. The artist has already completed the filming of Fire/Earth and Earth/Water and plans to continue with the relationships of Air/Earth, Water/Fire and Fire/Air.

Joel Meyerowitz is an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. His first book, Cape Light, is considered a classic work of color photography. He is the author of 15 other books, including Bystander: The History of Street Photography and Tuscany: Inside the Light. Meyerowitz was invited to represent the United States at the 8th Venice Biennale for Architecture with his photographs from the World Trade Center Archives. A monumental publication of the World Trade Center Archives, entitled Aftermath, was published by Phaidon and released on September 11, 2006, the 5th Anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. A fully illustrated retrospective book will be released by Phaidon in Spring 2009. Joel Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards. His work is included in many museum collections including; the Amon Carter Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Centre Pompidou, France, International Center of Photography, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and The Whitney Museum of American Art amongst others. An internationally traveling exhibition of 120 works representative of Meyerowitz's transition from 35mm street photography toward a large format camera entitled, "Out of the Ordinary 1970-1980" originated at the Jeu de Paume, in Paris, France, in 2006. That exhibition is currently on view from 18 January through 5 May 2008 at the Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium.