Eileen Neff: Photographs

  • May 24, 2009 – Aug 16, 2009
Eileen Neff, "Anecdote of the Tree", 1999-2000, C-print mounted on
aluminum, 44 x 64 in. Courtesy of the artist and Locks Gallery.

Eileen Neff: Photographs presents a selection of the artist's work from the last decade. Trained as a painter, Neff initially used the camera to produce pictures that she incorporated into early photo-objects and installations. Since 2000, her use of digital technology has facilitated her cut-and-paste approach to combining images into seamless collages, in which her essential theme of the collapse between interior and exterior space becomes apparent.

Neff's subjects seem at once familiar and arresting, a result of her using camera and computer, natural images and those constructed within her studio. One of her pictorial devices is the mirror image. In Narcissus (2001), a strip of river edged by lush forest is mirrored vertically, doubling the work's disorienting effect. Similarly in The Field and the Plane (2007), Neff produces a deep landscape by placing one image of a field on top of itself to meet an empty strip of sky.

A quiet sense of humor pervades Eileen Neff's work, as seen in a series of photographs entitled after famous writers. Dickinson (2004) shows a framed photograph of a long horizontal landscape hanging on a paneled interior wall, while a drawn-back curtain reveals an enlarged vertical sliver of the same landscape. The work speaks to Dickinson's self-imposed confinement and her deep appreciation for nature. Also from 2004, Thoreau poses a large landscape photograph resting atop a table in an otherwise bare room. Here, culture props up nature, much as it did for Thoreau as author, activist, and naturalist. The spare rooms of both works suggest the transcendentalist leanings of the two authors.

Eileen Neff has been exhibiting her work in this country and abroad since 1982, extensively in the Philadelphia area where she has lived and worked for many years.


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