Press Release: Patrons, 2006
PATRONS / Photographs by Ryan Weideman?and Sarah Stolfa
Silverstein Photography is pleased to announce Patrons, an exhibition featuring photographs by Ryan Weideman and Sarah Stolfa. Shooting clients within their respective workplaces, Stolfa bartending at Philadelphia tavern McGlinchey’s, and Weideman driving a New York City taxicab, each of these artists has created a uniquely personal series of portraits. Patrons draws attention to the inexplicable yet natural ease that most city habitants feel in bars and taxis, depicting complimentary views of urban American experience and culture.
In 1980, Ryan Weideman cruised into New York City to become a street photographer. Having graduated with an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts, Weideman already had a style influenced by the great photographers of the period including Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. Though anxious to pursue a career in photography, Weideman's focus turned to the more immediate goal of earning money to pay his rent. Soon after moving into an apartment on West 43rd Street, Weideman met a neighbor who drove a taxi, leading him to his newfound profession. For the next 25 years, Ryan Weideman photographed the theatric riders, including models, poets, drag queens, and celebrities, all within the back seat of his makeshift photo studio.
Weideman's work is a part of such prestigious collections as the Brooklyn Museum, the Oakland Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship Grant (1992-1993,) a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1986-1987,) and a NEA Fellowship Grant (1984-1985).
In 1997, after touring with the band Delta 72 for several years, Sarah Stolfa moved to Philadelphia and began bartending at McGlinchey’s. Like Weideman, Stolfa began using her workplace as a photo studio. In doing so, the relationship between worker and patron became transformed. Taking advantage of the proximity, and in turn intimacy, which occurs between bartender and customer, Stolfa collected portraits of the diverse group of regulars. Her carefully composed images, often including a glass, mug, ashtray, newspaper, or money, are reminiscent of Seventeenth Century Dutch paintings in their color, lighting, and decipherable detail.
In 2004, Stolfa won The New York Times Photography Contest for College Students and several of the early portraits were reproduced in The New York Times Magazine. In 2006, she was included in the Second Woodmere Triennial of Contemporary Photography, alongside Arnold Newman, Naomi Savage, and David Graham. In 2006, Stolfa began her MFA at Yale University.