Torkil Gudnason: Electric Blossom
Torkil Gudnason's crisp, sexy, fantastical photographs have made him one of the most compelling and influential photographers of our time. In his study of flowers, Torkil once more coaxes fresh, unexpected dimensions from a classic subject. Flowers have been willing models for artists throughout time - the "original symbol," as Torkil puts it. Canonical flower photographs tend to portray flowers as gorgeous exemplars of purity, distilled color and form. We look, we admire, if from a distance. Iconic images by Edward Weston, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karl Blossfeldt, Imogen Cunningham, and Irving Penn come to mind. Torkil takes the photography of flowers one feverish step further - seeming to jump from behind of the camera and into the flowers - capturing their floriferous essence from the inside. With his flowers, as is true in all of his work, there's a delirious undercurrent beneath the pure, angular surfaces, a magical something that transforms his images into experiences.
Torkil Gudnason recalls the long, dark winters of his boyhood in Denmark. Finally spring arrived with a burst of flowers and colors. "It felt like an explosion," he remembers, "an enormous burst of energy."
Flowers continue to astonish the photographer. "I'll glance out the window of my studio, and see a flower blooming in a most surprising place. Such a contrast - like magic. I think about how the flower got there and how it survives, how strong flowers are."
Torkil began his first work with flowers in the 1990s, a personal project to give respite from his commercial work. By employing the artifice of sophisticated studio lighting techniques on the flowers, he says, "I translate them into my fantasy world." He allows us to see flowers as if for the first time: I swear I can smell these blooms. His extraordinary eye and incandescent imagination allow us to experience the crazy power, sensuousness, energy, and strength that flowers exert - the potent magic that galvanized Torkil's Danish winters into kaleidoscopic explosions of color, fragrance and rapture.
Edelman Arts is delighted to present a fragrant bouquet of "Electric Blossom," by Torkil Gudnason. The exhibit will be on view from September 12 to October 27. An opening reception will be held on September 11, from 6-10pm. Cocktails will be presented by Bootlegger 21 New York, makers of a smooth, super-premium small batch vodka hand-crafted in New York's Hudson Valley.
Torkil Gudnason has had a successful commercial career and been a leader in beauty, fashion and still life photography. The Danish-born, New York-based photographer's work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Surface, and Allure. His fine art photography has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.
- Fayette Hickox