Sep 7–Dec 16, 2007

Eileen Neff: Between Us

Eileen Neff, Night Falls, 2001, C-print, 40 x 110 3/4 inches, edition of 3. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
About

Eileen Neff, 2007

Eileen Neff, Night Falls, 2001, C-print, 40 x 110 3/4 inches, edition of 3. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.

This exhibition of over thirty photographs by the Philadelphia artist Eileen Neff will be on view in the second floor gallery from September 7–December 16, 2007. Focusing on the past ten years, the exhibition traces a fascinating and critical shift from the camera to the computer. Five early works establish the foundations of Neff’s photo-based practice in sculpture and painting. A video debuts a new foray into the moving image. This is the second major presentation of Neff’s work at ICA. Following its debut at Artists Space in New York, her installation “The Mountain a Bed and a Chair” was presented in 1992 at ICA.

Using the camera, the computer, and the space of the studio, Eileen Neff poetically reconstructs moments experienced outside of it. Clouds move from outdoors to in. Windows appear as apertures onto completely unexpected places. The landscape doubles but does not mirror itself. A blur of motion is bifurcated by one strangely still tree. These arresting images show how unfamiliar the world can be. To cut these moments out of the flow of events and images that daily surround us, Neff uses the camera like scissors. And as the early works in this exhibition demonstrate, her practice is essentially connected to collage. “Cul de Sac” (1996) is literally a cutout: a photograph shaped like an armchair upon which is enthroned a tree. This work also conveys an essential theme in Neff’s work: the collapse between interior and exterior spaces and conditions. More recently, the use of digital technology has made the cut- and-paste aspect of Neff’s work more seamless and complex. However, she also has a knack for finding images that look constructed. The trees in the 2007 photograph “Summer (The Couple)” were seen as they appear, embracing each other in a field. Humor is a quiet by constant component of Neff’s art, in which scale and shape also play important roles. “Slipping Glimpse” (2006) is a narrow one-inch wide photograph that visually references the Abstract Expressionist painter Barnett Newman’s famous “zips.” The writings of Wallace Stevens, Emily Dickinson, and Henry David Thoreau are some of the other touchstones for this deeply intelligent and beautiful work.

This exhibition is organized by Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator, and Patrick Murphy, Director, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland.

This exhibition travelled to the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland in 2009.

Books & Editions
In conjunction with Eileen Neff: Between Us, organized by Ingrid Schaffner, Senior Curator, and Patrick Murphy, Director, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland, this full color catalogue includes an introduction by Schaffner, a conversation with the artist and Murphy, and an essay by Jeremy Sigler, a New York-based poet.
10" x 9 1/2"
$15.00
Publication Date
2007
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
ICA acknowledges generous sponsorship from the Locks Foundation for exhibition and catalog support. We are grateful for additional funding from: Mari & Peter Shaw; Lynne & Harold Honickman; the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts; Dr. Karl & Patsy Rugart; Dr. Janice T. Gordon; Frances & Bayard Storey; and Sarah McEneaney. ICA thanks the following for supplementary funding: The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania.