Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to announce Larry Silver From the Medium to the Message, an exhibition tracing the artist’s development over the past half century. Commencing with photo-documentary works taken in New York City and Los Angeles from the early 1950s, and ending with dark room manipulated images of man-altered landscapes shot in Iceland in 2005, From the Medium to the Message is a highly personal journey of an artist who has stood witness and reacted to the evolution of photography.
Larry Silver began photographing the streets and subways of New York City in 1949 at the age of 15, and studied photography at the High School of Industrial Art (1949-53). The School's proximity to Peerless Camera Stores enabled Silver to meet numerous members of the Photo League, including W. Eugene Smith, Weegee and Lou Bernstein, who became a strong influence on his work. In Silver's senior year, he won first prize in the Scholastic-Ansco Photography Awards and was granted a full scholarship to the Art Center School in Los Angeles (1954-56). During visits to the Santa Monica Beach, Silver photographed the local weightlifters, body builders, and acrobats. This celebrated series “Muscle Beach” (1954) was the subject of a solo exhibition at the International Center of Photography in 1985, and again in 1999 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Upon moving from New York City to Westport, Connecticut in 1973, Silver began a thirty-year project that would become Suburban Vision. Focusing on the isolating relationship between the inhabitants and the physical landscape of an evolving metropolitan suburb, Silver’s highly constructed images counterbalance the more satirical social depictions of Garry Winogrand and Bill Owens, who also worked during this period.
In 2003, Larry Silver began a series of water abstractions. By incorporating such factors as pollution, bacteria, and reflection, the images have little resemblance to water. For Silver, these works were the beginning of a conceptual leap – moving away from depicting people in their environment to the effects of people on their environments.
In 2005, at the age of 70, Silver created his most recent project. Traveling across Iceland by car, he shot images balancing the pristine landscape with human encroachment. At a time when Photoshop manipulation has become a standard practice, Silver altered the landscape in his images through experimental dark room techniques developed over the last 50 years. As result, a new landscape is born, one of which is dotted with Silver’s actual footprints on the paper itself.
Larry Silver's work is currently in over 20 museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Yale University Art Gallery, and George Eastman House. His work was also included in the recent publication "This Was the Photo League". Larry Silver is the father of Bruce Silverstein, founder of Silverstein Photography.