September 24, 2020–May 15, 2021
Two Worlds: Illusion and Document features work by photographer Justine Kurland and her father, the late painter Bruce Kurland. Justine is widely known for her fantastical photographic tableaus of American landscapes as inhabited by real and imagined communities of girls and women. Bruce was a classically trained painter of still life based in Buffalo until his death from cancer in 2013. The paintings on view reveal his unceasing fascination with common objects and what they can say about life and death. In response to her father’s paintings, Justine presents text-based gelatin silver prints. Like pages of a memoir, the prints capture Justine’s memories of Bruce—joy and passion from his small victories as well as stinging pain from his illness and poverty. A formal departure from previous bodies of luscious, color photographs, this new work nonetheless continues Justine’s exploration of the sense of rootedness and belonging through a social unit, which, for all of us, begins with a family, in the widest and the most generous sense of the word.
Justine Kurland (born 1969, Warsaw, NY) received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York and her MFA from Yale University, New Haven. Her work has been exhibited extensively at museums and galleries in the United States and abroad. Her recent gallery exhibitions include Girl Pictures, 1997-2002 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2018) and Airless Spaces at Higher Pictures, New York (2018), which paired her work with paintings by her late father, Bruce Kurland. Museum exhibitions have included The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip at the Detroit Institute of Arts (2016); Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009); and Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC (2009). Kurland was also the focus of a solo exhibition at CEPA in Buffalo, NY (2009). Her work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, and the International Center of Photography in New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, among others.
Bruce Kurland (born 1938, New York City–died 2013, Buffalo, NY) studied painting at the Arts Students League of New York in 1959–1961 and at National Academy, School of Fine Arts, New York in 1961–1963. His small-scale still life paintings rendered in oil on canvas or panel captured the intensity of the artist’s vision in an increasingly full spectrum of colors. Throughout his career, he held solo exhibitions at Victoria Munroe Gallery, Claude Bernard Gallery, and Washburn Gallery in New York, and was the subject of a solo museum exhibition Insight into Still Life at the Burchfield Center for Western New York Art, Buffalo in 1983. He was the recipient of a number of awards from foundations and institutions such as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1988 and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in 1977. His monograph Illusion and the Little World from 2014 compiles paintings from his six-decade long practice.