MAR 1–APR 19, 2014


Joe Shef­tel Gallery is pleased to present an exhi­bi­tion of new pho­tographs by Gil Blank, open­ing on March 1 and run­ning through April 19, 2014. This is the first exhi­bi­tion of the artist’s work at the gallery.

Five unframed pho­tographs, filled with fields of stars, are dis­played in the main gallery. Each of the five is from an ongo­ing project Blank began in 1986, com­pris­ing thou­sands of indi­vid­ual images of the night sky. At the begin­ning of each sub­se­quent year, all of the images recorded dur­ing the pre­vi­ous twelve months are incre­men­tally added to a sin­gle com­po­si­tion that itself is made up of all the images from years past, thus gen­er­at­ing a new sin­gle annual pho­to­graph. The five pho­tographs in this exhi­bi­tion rep­re­sent each of the last five years (2009–2013).

The often slight vari­a­tions from one yearly pho­to­graph to the next reveal a den­sity of accu­mu­lated infor­ma­tion that at first glance is hardly detectable. Whether the den­sity of stars or the empty space between them ulti­mately pre­dom­i­nates will depend on the con­tin­ued under­tak­ing of the pho­tog­ra­phy and the sum of expe­ri­ence it par­al­lels. The indi­ca­tion of each star is index­i­cally accurate—each dot rep­re­sents some quan­tity of starlight reg­is­tered on film or sensor—but the arrange­ment, as depicted, has no real­is­tic corol­lary to any exist­ing con­stel­la­tions. The black sky back­ground has also been removed from each pic­ture and replaced with a plain field of flat and obvi­ously syn­thetic color, dig­i­tally gen­er­ated at ran­dom.

All of Blank’s sub­jects are recorded with painstak­ing clar­ity and abun­dant pho­to­graphic detail, sug­gest­ing that access to appar­ently infi­nite infor­ma­tion can never suf­fice as a guar­an­tor of know­able expe­ri­ence.

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