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Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson’ delicately stunning photographs have a dreamlike quality. Speaking of his work, he once said “The alchemy of photography lies in taking unimportant objects or events and surpassing their appearance.” Often working in sequences and playing with surrealism, during the years 1971 to 1998, Gibson worked on a long series of photographs called Infanta, which came about from Gibson’s fascination with feminine beauty, of which the “Child and Woman” diptych is part of. In this pair of silver prints, Gibson juxtaposes two eidetic images, one of a woman’s thighs and the other of a child’s face peering intently into the camera’s lens. Here Gibson illustrates his theory that when two images are placed side by side, they “coalesce” on the viewer’s retina to produce a third image that appears between the two original images. In this work, this surrealist tactic forms a powerful motif that captures the cycle of life from conception to birth, from the origin to the originated, from woman to child. The effect is at once both organic abstracted, powerfully emotive yet captured with the photographer’s cool eye for detail and design, highly personal yet universal in its relevance to us all.


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