Victor Schrager: The White Room

New York

11 December 2008 — 24 January 2009

Press Release

Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new photographs from Victor Schrager's latest project, The White Room. The show will take place from 11 December 2008 through 24 January 2009.

A master of still-life photography for more than 30 years, Victor Schrager embraces modernism while rethinking its components to create something new. Building on ideas first explored in Schrager's 2006 study of books, Composition as Explanation, the artist's newest series, The White Room, employs objects lifted from everyday experience and transforms them into studies of light, space, and shadow. Schrager writes, "The objects are as necessary and irrelevant as Morandi's pitchers, Stieglitz' clouds, Cezanne's fruit, Weston's peppers, or Penn's frozen food. The real purpose in making these pictures is addressing the box of space that sits in front of me, and seeing if it is once again possible to pull a compelling picture out of it." Schrager places little emphasis on subject matter, but rather on the objects' sublime interaction within the space of the picture plane.

Lit in front of seamless white paper and reflected upon a piece of black glass, Schrager arranges clear bottles of colored mouthwash, dishwashing liquid, roll-on deodorant applicators, and pieces of colored plastic. With an end result approaching abstraction, Schrager releases each object from its everyday function, and forces it to relate within the white room as its essential form. Light bulbs and bars of soap are rendered as items within a larger visual constellation, hard lines fading to pools of color, and function yielding to composition and visual experience.

Schrager writes that The White Room is an effort to explore the "inexhaustible plastic volume of space" available through still-life photography. In this manner, the picture plane is rendered boundless. Schrager's work encourages its viewer to navigate the photograph's expanse. The eye anchored by a single white bulb, or a bar of soap leading the viewer as semi-conductor of light.

A Harvard graduate, Victor Schrager (b. 1950) is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the MacDowell Colony Resident Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been featured in numerous one person and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Japan. His photographs are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Center for Creative Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Polaroid International Collection, The International Center of Photography, and The San Francisco Museum of Art. He currently lives and works in New York City.