Thursday, November 1, 2012

Danielle Ezzo's "Invisible Cities" at Galerie Protégé

Invisible Cities: Photographs by Danielle Ezzo
On view through November 8, 2012
Galerie Protégé: 197 9th Avenue [Lower Level]

Invisible Cities: Photographs by Danielle Ezzo at Galerie Protege

The best way I can describe Invisible Cities, Danielle Ezzo's exhibition at Galerie Protégé, is transcendental. The artist goes beyond traditional concepts of contemporary photography by enhancing digital processes with salt printing, a mid-19th Century photographic practice.  Ezzo also uses salt prints and line drawings on blank negatives to transcend reality. These cameraless works reveal an alternative universal plane that showcases constellations of human interconnectedness. As we stand in what could be the apex of the social media age, these works illuminate the true meanings of interpersonal connectivity.

Diagram 2, 2011, Cameraless salt print,  6 x 9 in
Diagram 2, 2011
cameraless salt print, 6 x 9 in

Art-Chelsea spoke with Ezzo to learn more about the artistic process behind the works in Invisible Cities.  This is what she had to say.

Two Women, 2011, Salt print, 13 x 19 in
Two Women, 2011
salt print, 13 x 19 in

Giving us some background, Ezzo explains, "I learned a lot about the mechanics of the camera through digital photography and have worked my way back through history. Each era of photography has a whole different set of tools based on the technology that informs them. It's almost like each period is its own new medium all together. There's been an ongoing discussion about the ever-expanding field for this reason. I personally like to treat each process as its own subset within the umbrella of image-making."

Lovingly Distant, 2011, Salt print, 16 x 20 in
Lovingly Distant, 2011
salt print, 16 x 20 in

Comparing historically-based processes and digital photography, Ezzo says she leans more toward the former, mostly because they are "more tactile and closely tied to the act of making." Conversely, for Ezzo, digital photography "seems ostracized from form and ends up in the realm of the intangible." That said, the artist does not avoid modern techniques, allowing her work to utilize the best aspects of contemporary practices while simultaneously creating dialogue between old and new. 

Diagram 5, 2011, Cameraless salt print,  6 x 9 in
Diagram 5, 2011
cameraless salt print, 6 x 9 in

So what specific methods were involved in creating Invisible Cities? "I had the luxury of using a digital camera and doing light retouching work for all the more representational images. Then, I printed them out on digital negatives. Since the salt print is a contact print process, it allowed me to create images that were larger than I'd normally be able to get. It also allowed me to create the cameraless works, which are drawn directly onto blank negatives; marrying modern tools with arcane process."

Anonymity's Struggle, 2011, Salt print with gouache, 16 x 20 in
Anonymity's Struggle, 2011
salt print with gouache, 16 x 20 in

Here's one last poignant thought from Ezzo: "The more I photograph, the more I appreciate abstraction. Contemporary photography is so inherently tied to documentation that you rarely see its tools used in a way that pushes the bounds of popular aesthetic. I'm really fascinated with that grey area specifically."

Phrenology, 2011, Salt print with ink, 16 x 20 in
Phrenology, 2011
salt print with ink, 16 x 20 in

Invisible Cities is on view at Galerie Protégé through November 8th, 2012. For sales inquiries please contact Jaclyn Acker or Debra Kowalski at (212) 807-8726 or

Danielle Ezzo
Twitter: @danielleezzo

Galerie Protégé
Artist Page: 
Twitter: @GalerieProtege
Facebook: GalerieProtege

Written by Mike Starosciak

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