Poultry and Raptor Suites
Mary Ryan Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Jean Pagliuso in celebration of her latest book, Poultry Suite (April 2015). On view is a selection of work from her newest book, as well as earlier photographs of owls, hens, and roosters from the ongoing Poultry Suite and Raptor Suite series that began in 2006 and 2011, respectively.
The unusual subject matter of the Poultry Suite and Raptor Suite, beginning as an elegy to her late father who raised show chickens during her childhood in Southern California, is presented through Pagliuso’s technical expertise and history in fashion and celebrity photography, taking on an element of documentary photography. Employing formal elements of photography and portraiture, Pagliuso emphasizes the plumage, stance, form, and countenance of each bird on a minimal background to give a certain air of dignity, sophistication, and luxury. The birds, which are equal parts expressive and distinguished, take on anthropomorphic qualities as Pagliuso ascribes a sort of humanness to each one. Pagliuso shot more than 30 breeds of chickens in her New York studio, using a medium-format camera.
Integral to her work is her traditional printing process. Pagliuso experiments with darkroom techniques, printing each photograph by hand in her studio. She carefully applies a silver gelatin emulsion onto handmade Thai Mulberry papers before exposing the negative. These carefully considered images are simplistic and minimalist in form, creating painterly photographs that are at once distinct and penetrating.
Jean Pagliuso (b. 1941, California) is an acclaimed artist who has photographed fashion, film, and celebrity portraits since the 1970s. Her photographs have been published in Vogue, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone. She has collaborated with film director Robert Altman and film studios, including Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers. Pagliuso’s photographic work of the last ten years, influenced by her extensive travels to Cambodia, India, Turkey, Mexico, and Peru, addresses the themes of time, nature and decay. Through these experiences, places of ritual and endangered environments intrigued her. She works most often with a Hasselblad camera, experimenting with printing papers and techniques for each of her projects. Pagliuso’s work can be found in collections around the world, including Susan Sarandon, Robert Altman, John Alexander, Edie Baskin, Eric Fischl & April Gornik, Agnes Gund, Kelly Klein, Bette Midler, Pfizer, Mobil Corporation, Jann Wenner of Wenner Media, and more.