Cannibal Eyes is a group exhibition including the work of five artists who incorporate preexisting photographs into their own figurative-based photographic work. By introducing photographs retrieved from the past into their work, these artists subvert, challenge, and re-contextualize familiar, often loaded images and cultural icons. Exhibition curator Ron Platt states, “the cannibal eyes of the title belong both to these artists and to their cameras. By ingesting and incorporating photographic ‘prey’ into their own photographic work, the artists nourish their new compositions with these preexisting images.”
Pieced together from shards of x-rays or photographs of environmental debris, Tina Potter’s photographs examine the complex and contradictory interrelationships of organic and technological systems. Aura Rosenberg cuts images of nude women and men from magazines, decoupages them onto rocks, and then photographs them in natural settings. Her photographs speak of the fetishized body and its vulnerability in an exposed environment. John Schlesinger’s lush black and white photographs are constructed from a vocabulary of evocative gestures and expressions, often taken from films, intermingled and overlapped with more ambiguous imagery. The photographs hover at the edge of conscious narrative, yet remain elusive to interpretation. Potter, Rosenberg, and Schlesinger all live in New York. Worcester-based John O’Reilly’s War Series combine provocative nude magazine imagery, personal snapshots, documentary war photographs, and images from art history in intimate collages which memorialize young men killed in World War II. German Artist Joachim Schmid splices together humorous yet chilling composite human portraits from found photographs and negatives which animate his fascination with the darker possibilities of genetic manipulation and madness.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a roundtable discussion on future trends in contemporary photography with the artists and area critics was held March 26, 1992.
Catalogue with essay and texts on each artist by Ron Platt.