Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to announce a solo show of unique tintype photographs by Joni Sternbach culled from the artist’s ongoing series: Surfland. The exhibition, the artist’s first with the gallery, focuses on portraits of female wave-riders on the coasts of the United States, France, Australia and the UK.
Sternbach is a self-described “water woman” and meets her subjects on their way into or out of the water. Due to the nature of her technique, her studio is assembled on the beach and in the world.
The tintype is a wet-plate collodion process that dates back to the 1850s. A metal plate is coated with a silver salt solution, exposed in a large-format camera and developed in a portable darkroom on the spot to produce a direct positive photograph. The hand-poured technique drenches the scenes in creamy tones, tactile markings and a weathered aura.
Sternbach’s subjects are evocatively captured in potent stillness, posed naturally in their suits with their boards, their child, their horse, their tribe. This selection of images pays homage to women in the sport, celebrating and acknowledging them. In the early days of surfing, female surfers were trailblazers, competing in a male dominated sport. Today, women are a force in surfing, conquering waves, respecting the ocean and savoring the shared experience.
Echoing traditions of anthropological portraiture, the individuals (some anonymous, others iconic) transform into totems of modern surf culture. Collectively, the work could be described as an expression of home break—a colloquialism for the place one learned to surf or love the water.
“The surfers, often caught at the end of a session, pose with their boards, looking off to the ocean, into the distance or straight at the camera, sometimes emerging from water rendered smooth and ethereal by long exposures. The images are both creamy and detailed, rippling at the edges like the liquid in which they were formed. Surfing luminaries and elders are treated with the same respect and solemnity as ordinary riders and are mostly identified by only a first name—even if they are named John-John or Gidget.”
– Diane Cardwell, The New York Times
Joni Sternbach is a native New Yorker. She received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MA from New York University/International Center of Photography. Her work is included in many public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO; and Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. She is the recipient of several grants including the Clarence John Laughlin award and NYFA. Her new monograph Surf Site Tin Type was published by Damiani Editore in March 2015.
September 10 – October 29, 2016