FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Searchers April 30–May 28, 2005
Elizabeth Dee is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Miranda Lichtenstein in the gallery at 545 West 20th Street. A reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, April 30, from six to eight pm.
While undergoing hypnosis therapy to overcome a fear of flying, Miranda Lichtenstein tried to visualize a place of absolute calm and bliss. Later, she realized that this desired yet unreal location related in many ways to her photographic work, which long had focused on the utopic/dystopic aspects of the built landscape and on places of sanctuary, both wild and manmade. This revelation fueled an already growing interest in contemporary manifestations of the individual quest for some kind of meaning in life, often spiritual enlightenment, and often achieved through altered states of consciousness. Lichtenstein’s new series of photographs attempt to picture this quest, depicting people in varied and unconventional locations, situations, and attitudes on their journeys toward the ineffable. As a whole, this new body of work presents a portrait of a society in search mode, pursuing various paths to a common goal.
In one of these portrayals, a man meditates in a quotidian office, his eyes closed both to the watch keeping time on his desk and the print of a wave behind his head. In another, a shaman’s face, wreathed with smoke, becomes otherworldly as he concentrates on the ritual act. In Floater, the face of a woman in an isolation tank is strangely doubled, suggesting the reflective experience. From a tarot card reader to an adept of Pilates to figures in sensory-deprivation chambers, the images Lichtenstein has captured on film hint at interior activities that the documentary medium of photography cannot picture. She tries to represent the unrepresentable through the outward appearance of what are essentially interior travels. A single unpeopled view, Council Ring, shows a structure in a neighborhood park designed by the Chicago landscape architect Jens Jensen in the early 1910s. Surrounded by suburban houses, seemingly half forgotten in a darkling light, the stone ring sits as mute testament to an idealistic and communitarian vision, perhaps at odds with later searches for the self.
This is the artist’s fifth one-person exhibition in New York and her third with Elizabeth Dee Gallery. In 2003, she held a solo show at Gallery Min Min in Tokyo. Lichtenstein’s exhibition Sanctuary for a Wild Child was presented at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris in 2001, and her work has been included in exhibitions at the Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; the Stadthaus Ulm, Germany; the Madison Arts Center, Wisconsin; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Searchers coincides with the publication of an artist’s book of the same title by Regency Arts Press.