STRIPTEASES and PENN CENTER PIECES, featuring rare multiple-image photographic works by Ray Metzker from the mid 1960's, into the early 1990’s, will celebrate Metzker's 25th one-person show at Laurence Miller Gallery. Most of the works on display have never been exhibited before.
Fifty years ago, Metzker challenged the reigning doctrine of photography, the "decisive moment." He wrote: "...I began thinking of the entire roll of film as one negative. Ten inch sections of film were printed onto long strips of photographic paper and then mounted in rows, forming a final constructed piece which I called a composite...What I am talking about is complexity...There is no particular point of entry or procedure to the seeing; it is a multiplicity of elements operating in an aleatory manner."
In 1967, the Museum of Modern Art presented a one-person show of 12 composites, and the museum is presently displaying Trolley Stop, 1966, as part of their current exhibition FROM THE COLLECTION 1960 -1969.
Living and working in a former 1851 Philadelphia fire house, Metzker printed many rolls of film, as well as individual multiply-exposed prints, from which he would cull the parts to combine into larger works. Quite often there would be surplus strips, as well as prints that defied his attempts to combine. In the years prior to his death in 2014, he recognized the playfulness and integrity of many of these strips, and the name Striptease was applied....as each strip was a tease for a potentially larger work. Production for his 1966 composite Penn Center yielded extra prints as well, which Metzker aptly named Penn Center Pieces.
This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Nathan Lyons who passed away on August 31. Nathan was among the very first curators to exhibit and publish Ray Metzker's work in the early 1960’s.