Peter Blum is pleased to announce Coal Seam redux, the first solo exhibition of Miles Coolidge at Peter Blum Gallery, on view at 20 West 57th Street, New York. There will be an opening reception on Friday December 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition runs through February 4, 2017.
Coal Seam redux consists of two recent bodies of photographic works that are concerned with how scientific and industrial processes seep into the realm of art. The main gallery space will display five large-scale black-and-white photographs of the active working surface of a coal mine in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. This series, titled Coal Seam, Bergwerk Prosper-Haniel, was shot in 2013 with an 8 x 10 camera using long exposures that capture the terrain in the darkness of the mine shaft. These images are like a window into a dense field of pitch-black combustible matter, compressed over millions of years. The prints, which each measure 57 x 50 inches (145 x 127 cm), show a deep crack that splits the image in two parts. This division of the pictorial field recalls the formal concerns of minimalism as well as monochromatic painting.
The second group of works on view titled Chemical Pictures, consists of a group of color images that are inspired by the paper chromatographic experiments of the mid-nineteenth century German scientist, F.F. Runge. Coolidge follows Runge’s original instructions for combining various chemicals on the surface of paper to create saturated rings of color that are simultaneously controlled procedures and unique enigmatic images. These images call to mind tantric drawings, halos, and eyes. The titles for these works are derived from the instructions for each chemical combination.
Coal Seam redux addresses scientific, social and artistic history with a rich visual vocabulary. Coal is essential to these bodies of work both as a subject and as the material used to create the pigments on the photographs themselves. This conflation of subject and object is the crux of Coolidge’s nuanced investigations.
Miles Coolidge (b. 1963, Montreal) received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Recent exhibitions include Chemical Pictures, ACME, Los Angeles, 2016; Photographs and Chemical Pictures, Franz Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, Bochum, Germany, 2016; Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from the Met Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2015; Road Trip: Photography of the American West from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Musée des Beaux-Artes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France, 2014; American Scene Photography, NSU Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 2014. His work is included in many museum collections including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Orange County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others.