Mitch Epstein. American Power.

Mitch Epstein's latest body of work American Power is really taking shape. I put him right up there with the best of them ever since I seen his show Family Business back in 2004 (I think) in New York.

Heres some info on the fella.

Mitch Epstein, American. Born 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Mitch Epstein’s photographic work, which he has complemented with sporadic incursions into film and video art, is partly responsible for the New Color movement in the U.S. His early American photographs, Joanna Lehan writes, “bridge the gap between Winogrand’s street and Sternfeld and Shore’s big picture.” Epstein’s photography is conceived as projects for exhibition that are later recontextualized through their publication as artist’s books.

In 1972, Epstein began making pictures as a student at Cooper Union. He quickly subverted the tradition of 35 mm photography by using color at a time when it was considered a tacky tool of advertising. In the wake of William Eggleston, Epstein was instrumental in redefining color photography as art. His individual pictures are known for their layering of details and meaning within a both elegant and complex composition.

In 1996, he photographed his father’s failing fortunes in his seminal project, Family Business. When he realized that large-format photography would not be enough to tell his father’s complex, dynamic story, he added video to the project. The book Family Business received wide acclaim for expanding the limits of the photography book. Epstein organized a plethora of materials into a highly structured, non-linear narrative. The book, which includes still photographs, film stills, archival material, original text and interview dialogues, suggests a postmodern visual novel; and won the 2000 Krazna-Kraus Best Photography Book of the Year award.

Since 2004, Epstein has been working on “American Power,” a series of large-format photographs made on road trips to energy sites in the United States—what the artist calls “energy tourism.” These pictures investigate not just energy sites themselves, but how people live alongside them. Fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro-electric, wind and solar power are all explored. Epstein has taken up the challenge to make art that is political, but not didactic. American Power prints are very large at 70x92 inch (178x234 cm), both because the landscape imagery calls for it and because the bigness symbolizes the supersize-me culture that Epstein is questioning.

Epstein has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. In spring 2007, FOAM museum in Amsterdam exhibited a selection from Family Business and American Power.

On the occasion of the FOAM exhibition, art historian Rachel Esner wrote: “Much of Mitch Epstein’s work is…a reflection on America, on American values and ideology, on America’s place in the world today. It is the formal and associative elements in Epstein’s images that lift them to a higher plane. These are not documents in the strict sense, because they transcend and reinvent the objects photographed and in the process invest them with symbolic meaning.”

Among Epstein’s many books are Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988, Vietnam: A Book of Changes, Family Business, and the recent retrospective monograph, WORK. He has won several awards. Epstein was a Guna S. Mundheim Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, in spring 2008.

Epstein is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

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