Bruce Silverstein is pleased to open the fall season with Eileen Neff: A Prologue, the gallery’s second exhibition of Neff’s work.
In A Prologue, Neff revisits her earliest photo-based works from the 1990s. These works either physically appear in the installation designed for the gallery, or are strategically placed within new photographs created for this show. Additionally, the exhibition includes her early photo-object, No Door, 1990 – a drop-leaf table affixed to the entrance wall of the gallery, topped with a mountain range of dirt collected at Mont Sainte-Victoire. True to the effect of Neff’s earlier installations, A Prologue proffers an uncanny phenomenon of viewing: the main gallery acts as a literal reflection of itself—a section of wall is mirrored in a photomural across the room, while other photographs depict Neff’s poetic images posed here in the gallery space or in her Philadelphia studio.
As used in literature, the title A Prologue speaks to the past as well as opens up to the future. Neff’s working method over the past twenty-five years (before it became the practice au courant for a number of contemporary photographers) involves the conflation of physical and photographic space. Neff’s artworks challenge the ways in which photography mediates perception. Her interest surrounds the overlapping of landscape and studio space, inside and outside. Neff’s work makes subject of the language of display and modes of presentation, assuring that each piece conceived is mindful of the space in which it will be exhibited.
Eileen Neff (b. 1945) studied English Literature and earned her B.A. from Temple University. Neff then trained as a painter at the Philadelphia College of Art and the Tyler College of Art from which she respectively received a B.F.A and an M.F.A. She has won many awards including fellowships from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Pew Fellowships in the Arts. She has had numerous solo exhibitions such as Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery, Pittsburgh; Philadelphia Museum of Art; P.S. 1 and Artists Space, New York; The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts; and The Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia. Neff was a contributor to Artforum International from 1989-2002.
Her work is held in many important institutions and private collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Hood Museum, Dartmouth, Pew Charitable Trusts, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Dietrich Foundation.