Filtering by Category: Jo Ann Callis

Video: Jo Ann Callis FotoFocus Spring Lecture from Cincinnati Art Museum

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Artist Jo Ann Callis spoke with our Director Rose Shoshana on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 in the Fath Auditorium at the Cincinnati Art Museum for a special FotoFocus Lecture. Watch the talk in full below:

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Visit Jo Ann Callis' ARTIST PAGE for more information on the artist.


Artist News, Jo Ann Callis New Life for Old Works & Cincinnati Art Museum Lecture

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This past week artist Jo Ann Callis and director Rose Shoshana visited Cincinnati, Ohio for a special FotoFocus lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum on 24 February 2016.

Jo Ann's work has had a resurgence of popularity in recent years.  Historically, during the 1970's, when Jo Ann was creating her provocative and playful photographs, feminism and women photographers were often criticized.  Open sexuality asserted by a female was a taboo subject, thus was overlooked by major museums, curators and collectors.  Jo Ann then began teaching at California Institute of the Arts with minimal exhibiting. She shares, “I was showing work, but not that particular work so much. Because I thought, ‘This is a really bad thing,’ — I got embarrassed about it.”

When Jo Ann moved to Los Angeles in the '73 she studied with Robert Heinecken, a professor who saw her inherent potential and her interest in fabricating imagery with tactile qualities.

“I was always interested in how things feel,” she says from Los Angeles. “That one (‘Hand and Honey’) was about how beautiful — and wasteful, of course — it was to spill out some honey, see where it goes and put your hand in it. You can imagine how it smells — it has a very sweet smell. And you can feel putting your whole hand in this thick, sweet pile of honey.”

Jo Ann Callis,  Untitled (Hand and Honey) , circa 1976 / Courtesy of the artist and ROSEGALLERY

Jo Ann Callis, Untitled (Hand and Honey), circa 1976 / Courtesy of the artist and ROSEGALLERY

Jo Ann is currently teaching at CalArts and has been exhibited widely in the States including The Contemporary Arts Center in 1983, solo and group exhibitions at The Cincinnati Art Museum and here at ROSEGALLERY.  Jo Ann's retrospective Woman Twirling was exhibited at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2009.

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Cincinnati : FotoFocus presents Jo Ann Callis

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"FotoFocus, a Cincinnati nonprofit organization that supports international photography exhibitions and events, will present its Spring 2016 Lecture and Visiting Artists Series with photographer Jo Ann Callis at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Wednesday, February 24 at 7pm.

As part of the lecture, Callis will speak in conversation with Rose Shoshana, Director of ROSEGALLERY in Santa Monica, California."

Left: Jo Ann Callis,  Woman with Wet Hair , c. 1977  /  Right: Jo Ann Callis,  Untitled , From  Early Color Portfolio , c. 1976

Left: Jo Ann Callis, Woman with Wet Hair, c. 1977  /  Right: Jo Ann Callis, Untitled, From Early Color Portfolio, c. 1976

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Artist Talk, Jo Ann Callis at FotoFocus Cincinnati Art Museum

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Jo Ann Callis will be speaking with Director Rose Shoshana as a part of the Lecture and Visiting Artist Series, Spring 2016 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Jo Ann Callis,  Untitled (Hand and Honey)  from  Early Color Portfolio , c. 1976.

Jo Ann Callis, Untitled (Hand and Honey) from Early Color Portfolio, c. 1976.

Wednesday February 24, 2016 at 7:00pm

Fath Auditorium, Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Free & Open to the public

FotoFocus event

Visit Jo Ann Callis' ARTIST PAGE


Another Magazine Stand Out Moments from PhotoLondon 2015

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Stand Out Moments from PhotoLondon 2015

By Olivia Singer

This weekend, London's Somerset House was transformed into a giant photographic fair, with over 70 exhibitors descending on the capital for the inaugral edition of Photo London. With galleries from around the world bringing their finest examples of photography from William Eggleston to Nick Knight, Malick Sidibe to Nobuyaski Araki (who, in fact, seemed to appear in almost every room) alongside a brilliant programme of talks and screenings, the fair was an opportunity to celebrate some of the greatest names in the industry as well as discovering some new delights. Here, we look over some of the moments that particularly stood out...

Untitled , from Early Color Portfolio, Circa 1976 Photography by Jo Ann Callis, Copyright Jo Ann Callis, Courtesy of ROSEGALLERY

Untitled, from Early Color Portfolio, Circa 1976 Photography by Jo Ann Callis, Copyright Jo Ann Callis, Courtesy of ROSEGALLERY

Jo Ann Callis' Other Rooms at ROSEGALLERY
Jo Ann Callis' strangely sexual images manage to capture an elusive eroticism, her wonderfully saturated palette and suggestive-yet-awkward posturing a beautiful exploration of sexuality, femininity and domesticity. Originally shot in the early 70s, it was not until 2014 that Callis decided to exhibit them when she produced book Other Rooms and exhibited a full series at Santa Monica's ROSEGALLERY, and their presence at Photo London was delightfully disconcerting.

Untitled  , from Early Color Portfolio, Circa 1976 Photography by Jo Ann Callis, Copyright Jo Ann Callis, Courtesy of ROSEGALLERY

Untitled, from Early Color Portfolio, Circa 1976 Photography by Jo Ann Callis, Copyright Jo Ann Callis, Courtesy of ROSEGALLERY

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Jo Ann Callis Featured on The Great Leap Sideways

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Sex is such a secretive and untranslatable activity – at once universal and private, delicate and unruly. Moreover, sex is inextricably wedded to touch and to sight, yet another unruly instinct which opens up avenues too risky to explore, but too irresistible not to contemplate. In her essay for Jo Ann Callis’s Other Rooms, Francine Prose describes sex as “the ultimate earworm, that song or musical phrase that we, our species, can’t get out of our minds.” The unwavering specificity of sexual drives and private attractions run like bedrock through the photographs in the book. They thrill in the incontrovertible force of physical attraction, which is embodied with great frankness, wry wit and artful invention.

Photography’s engagement with the depiction and sexualisation of the body emerged from painterly and sculptural traditions. In the turn of the century photographs of Bellocq, Stieglitz and Weston, the nude body revealed was always an implicitly feminine subject. The space within which the body was studied conformed to the order of a cloistered boudoir, or to scenic milieu of earthly and sculptural abstraction. The identity of the photographed subject was similarly shaped by diametric extremes, in which the subject was either an anonymous vessel of sensual form, or a facet of the autobiography of the artist.

Callis’s photographs depart from these conventions, both in the plurality of their subjects, the anonymity of their relationships, and the insistently theatrical setting of the work. In Stieglitz’s portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe we are given the outlines of a partnership replete with affection, doubt and strife, while in the nudes of Edward Weston we see the body rendered as a pretext for the triangulation of light, shadow and form. In Callis’s photographs we are thrust into the anti-autobiographical gesture of unbridled imaginative attractions, which are performed collaboratively in bizarrely non-descript interior spaces.

The sensual strangeness of Callis’s work flows from its microscopic theatre of bodily gesture, and from the emanating pulse of her pictures’ vivid and visceral colour. This colour tends toward a register of fleshly skin tones and warm golden light, and is counterpointed by an emphatically sexual use of shadow. While the setting of these pictures is definitively interior, the warmth of the lighting and the patterning of textures depart from conventions of domesticity. In Callis’s photographs we are placed within a private space that is loosely quotidian, and recognisably private, but utterly unconnected to any plausible intimation of domestic life.

Callis’s photographs neither have a basis in painterly conventions of the artistic nude, nor pretend to or reveal a diaristic relationship to the autobiography of an artist’s life. As Johanna Burton argued of the late work of Cindy Sherman, Callis’s photographs do not evoke an “illusion of familiarity … based on conventions” and do not “refer to any kind of stable codes.” Rather, their telescopic abstraction, and their frequent omission of outward indices of individual identity place us in an uncertain relationship to the body of an unknown subject. Her pictures are energised by an unwavering specificity, which mimics the fantasy of individual desire in the way that a romantic poet would rhapsodise the contours of the suprasternal notch.

The other rooms in which Callis’s pictures transpire seem sparse but credible spaces for an experimentation with desire, and her collaborations with each individual subject mirror the tender revelation of sexual fantasy. These spaces are energised by specific gestures that invoke the heated interplay of sexual attraction, and each object or element in the frame seems responsive to all others intersecting with it. Thus the thrusting brightness of a white-sheeted bed, which protrudes diagonally into a shadowy yellow room seems to mirror the unveiling of an unbridled and off-kilter assertion of desire. The ballooning shadow of the pillow and mattress emanates like an undercurrent along the base of the frame, as though the bed were dispersing some unconscious drive into the vignetted brightness of the room.

In Sand and Glove, or Woman with Black Line, the constriction or the languor of the prostrate nude body seems a direct response to the allegorical stimuli that trace the sweeping curves of naked flesh. A pile of grey dust may intimate gunpowder, as a thin black line draws our eye toward the slope of the spine, but these markings and residues recall to us the intimate sexual dance between subjection and mastery. The contrition of the gamine body in Woman with Black Line is echoed in the military propriety of the male back in Man with Lines, but subverted by the impish gathering of fabric in the cleft of his arse.

Thus Callis conveys a sense of the explosive dynamics of fetish, while lightly intimating the pleasures of the viscera that accompany the expiation of sexual desire. While her pictures are typically diminutive in their scale and framing, they express a tender fascination with the complexities of human touch, and show an obsessive attentiveness to the pliability of body and the malleability of the imagination. Fantasy is here indivisible from attraction, just as coercion is shown to be tied up with the generative thrill of vulnerability, in a series of pictures that Prose accurately describes as “either the prelude or the aftermath of an imagined act.”

The sense of sight conveyed in these images is that of an involuntary, creative and appetitive instinct, whose vicissitudes can be strange even to those who are authors of its own creations. Sight is unbridled and directed as in Woman with Open Shirt, or delectably performative as in Woman on Sofa, or seductive and playful in pictures like Hand in Honeyand and Figure under Bedspread. The frankness of each title mirrors the directness of each image, and they place us in proximity to the intimate obsessions of desire’s creative freedoms. These freedoms are indulged in an interior but adaptable and theatrical space, where great beauty emerges from some point between fevered dreams and the vestiges of remembered experience.