Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Michael Itkoff: Where the concrete meets the soil

"Gowanus Canal Elevated Train," Michael Itkoff, All rights reserved

I was looking again at the work of the photographers who are sharing space with me at "Topos:Brooklyn. Eight Photographers Examine the Landscape of a Borough," a terrific show, now at Nelson Hancock Gallery (yeah, I'm biased). I'm particularly drawn to Michael Itkoff's "Overgrowth I" series. These pictures concentrate on what Itkoff calls "liminal zones," places in which messy nature meets human-constructed spaces & structures. Often shot from "inside" the tangled, unruly side of the divide, they show us sprawl in all its hallucinatory strangeness -- as a wild creature or an alien might see it from cover. I like how Itkoff goes right up against the scrim that separates the two worlds & peers through at scenes that become both beguiling & frightful.

"Pumping station, West Ham, London," Michael Itkoff, All rights reserved

Itkoff says: "These are photographs of a landscape under seige - meditations on the mesh of human society and nature that exist woven together. Within the clusters of growth there is life, and hope, that the tide of concrete and steel is high. A city or suburb allowed to lie fallow for twenty years would soon be swallowed by bushes and wildflowers poking up from gaps in the pavement…"

More work by Itkoff is here. He is also an editor at Daylight Magazine.

Don't forget, Topos: Brooklyn, which includes my Saints series, continues at Nelson Hancock Gallery till October 20th. If you're going to the DUMBO Arts Under the Bridge Festival this weekend, don't miss us.

No comments: