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Arthur Tress : Shadow

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By Sally Martin Katz I am delighted to present the work of Arthur Tress, an American photographer born in Brooklyn in 1940, who resides in San Francisco. He received a BFA from Bard College and attended film school in Paris. His work is included in major collections such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, LACMA, and the Centre Pompidou. After working as a documentary and ethnographic photographer, Tress embraced a more personal, theatrical approach to photography, combining elements of real life with fantasy. Aligning himself with the genre of “magic realism,” he stages tableaux that visualize dreams or scenes from his imagination. Influenced by shamanism and the work of artists like Duane Michals, Giorgio de Chirico, and graphic novelist Lynd Ward, his photographs take on a mystical and surrealist dimension. The 96 gelatin silver prints presented today are from Tress’s 1974 shadow series, which depicts the artist’s own shadow as the mythical protagonist of a shamanistic “vision quest.” Organized as a sequential visual narrative, the series is divided into thirteen sections that portray the shadow’s escape from confinement and […]

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