Over the past forty-four years, Baden has produced dozens of bodies of work, both manipulated and documentary, from self-portraits to cliché-verre to street photography. Since 1984, he has been the subject of 16 solo exhibitions and has had work in five group exhibitions with Howard Yezerski Gallery and Miller Yezerski Gallery. In 2016, Baden unearthed a series of photographs dating back to before his partnership with the gallery, bringing to light another dimension of the many approaches characteristic of his work.
Thermographs 1976 is a series of vintage, black-and-white photographs that have maintained, if not increased, their mystery and vitality over the past four decades. Baden applied analog photo-manipulation techniques in-camera, to create images that verge on the abstract and ethereal, before such alterations became popularized and simplified through digital means. Through tonal manipulation and selective ‘halation’– creating a glowing halo in the highlight areas, the resulting work subverts conventional notions of photography as a form of documentation, rendering otherwise mundane features of urban and suburban landscapes with an otherworldly quality. The images bring to mind ghosts, auras, even radioactivity; representations of our world touched by something almost supernatural. Nominal subject matter is transformed in ways that strips it to essential forms, paring it down to grainy blocks of light and dark. This metamorphosis unhinges them from present reality and lends them an atmosphere of something captured in the hazy past or dystopian future. A 32 page illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition.
Karl Baden has been a photographer since 1972. His photographs have been widely exhibited, including at the Robert Mann Gallery, Zabriskie Gallery, Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Howard Yezerski Gallery, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Decordova Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Musée Batut in France, Photokina in Cologne, Germany, and The Photographers Gallery in London. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Kenan Foundation and Light Work Visual Studies. His photographs and visual books are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Addison Gallery of American Art, Polaroid International Collection, the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Public Library and the Boston Public Library. He has been on the faculty at Boston College since 1989.
February 10 – March 14, 2017