Art In America

Mariah Robertson

at 11R,
195 Chrystie Street

In Mariah Robertson’s exhibition, tintypes depicting male nudes, powerful in their understated rawness, accompany vibrantly colored, abstract photograms in precisely shaded white frames. Initially, there seems to be little relation between these two bodies of work. However, performance and collaboration underpin all elements of Robertson’s practice, and it is this that ties the tintypes and photograms together. The photograms are produced through choreography in the darkroom, as the artist uses her hands and feet to control the exposure of the prints. The tintypes she sees as an extended, more conceptually oriented performance, in which she reverses the typical gender dynamics of the nude portrait by subjecting these men to the female gaze. The skills of others are employed in both series, from the framer who produces custom settings for her photographs to the models and crew involved in making the tintypes. The juxtaposition of these works demonstrates the wide spectrum encompassed within Robertson’s practice, as well as her commitment to pushing at the boundaries of what photography can be. —Eloise Maxwell


Pictured: Mariah Robertson: 062, 2017, chemical treatment on RA-4 paper, 51 by 50 inches. Courtesy 11R, New York.

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