The Whip : enlightening animation of a mysterious or sudden source

Liz Liguori & Jessie Mann, Rivers Scott Fisher & Vienne Rea

June 13 - July 18, 2015

Press Release


Digital photography has taken over the representationalist work that photography once took over from painting. Just as painting, once freed from its responsibility to accurately reflect the world, expanded into impressionism and abstraction, so too have traditional photographic processes expanded their repertoire of image making styles once no longer responsible for naturalism or historical account. Instead of reflecting the world, photography is now free to explore the lines, te-xture, and color of the medium isolated from content; much as the abstract painters did with painting. Artists like Hiroshi Sugimoto, Gerhard Richter, Dirk Braeckman, Marco Breuer, Chris Mccaw, Sally Mann, Alan Jarai are reinventing photography as a method of abstraction.

Clement Greenburg outlines the hallmarks of abstract expressionism as "large and conspicuous rhythms, broken color, uneven saturations, exhibited finger marks, masses that blot and fuse", Mann and Liguori's work is an attempt to recreate these elements but with photographic processes rather than paint. It is a rediscovery of the elements of photography as they can be employed toward an abstract expressionist end. The electromagnetogram is an effort at isolating light, surface, saturation, and rhythm through the photographic process.

There are both large-scale and small-scale photographic works by Mann and Liguori featured in The WHIP. These 'electromagnetograms', a term coined by the two artists, are created using the chemicals and methods typically involved in photography. These chemicals used in new and unusual ways, along with Liguori's laser light system and Mann's painting skills; result in images that are lens-less photographs. Unlike photographs, there is no original image imprinted on the photo paper.

Alongside the electromagnetograms are paintings by Rivers Scott Fisher with elements of sculpture sometimes incorporated into the large-scale works by collaborator Vienne Rea. With no previous training in painting, Fisher felt Abstract Expressionism was not only a creative outlet, but a form of creative challenge as well. Painting offered a new creative language and a new artistic independence to him. Fisher had admired such painters as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, first generation painters before him. His paintings come from a place of intuition and pure emotion.

Vienne Rea often collaborates with Fisher on his paintings. Her sculptural sensibilities take the form of metal brackets, cords, and embellishments on these paintings. These additions bring another level to the vibrant collage of image, color and gesture present in the work. Sometimes emphasizing the edges of the canvas, sometimes breaching them, Rea’s contributions activate the texture and space in Fisher’s paintings. 

About the Artists

Jessie Mann is a painter and conceptual artist. Jessie literally grew up around and in art, the daughter and frequent subject of artist Sally Mann. She is a native of Lexington, Virginia (home to many acclaimed writers and artists such as painter Cy Twombly, an early mentor of J. Mann’s). Her conceptual works, created in collaboration with photographer Len Prince, can be found in the permanent collections of the Getty, the St. Petersburg Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. This collaborative work is an examination of the role of the subject in art from the perspective of the subject. As a painter, Mann has shown extensively throughout the eastern seaboard, from Birmingham to Woodstock. Her abstract paintings address the cognitive processes of image formation and the imaginative prodding of abstraction.

Liz Liguori is a photographer and lighting artist originally from New York. She worked as a photographer at Next magazine producing over a dozen cover images, and has shown her work in New York and Virginia. As a lighting artist she has had residencies at various New York nightlife staples such as Limelight and Webster Hall. She has been a guest artist with the Joshua Light Show as well. Liguori designed a unique lighting interface using lasers and prisms, and her lighting systems were used to create the collaborative works shown here.

Rivers Scott Fisher is an abstract expressionist painter, musician and creative visionary. He began classical guitar studies at the early age of four. Eventually Rivers would discover the world of Rock n’ Roll, which led him down a path into songwriting and performance. He was a Sony World recording artist on the EPIC Records Group label in his 20’s and continued to perform and record into his early 30’s. With no previous training he started painting constantly -- setting up a make shift studio in a stairwell outside his studio apartment. There, he painted what would become his first two series. In 2012, Rivers work began to depart from his traditional painting using new methods and mediums like digital illustration and photography to explore new ideas. He is the creator of the series DIRTY WATER, a collection of mixed media, Abstract Expressionism, and printmaking, based on the creative lifework of Baltimore-native, filmmaker, author and photographer John Waters who he befriended & collaborated with on the series. The series is a part of the Baltimore City Mayor's office permanent collection. River's work has amassed many prominent collectors including fellow Baltimorean David Byrne, lead vocalist and guitarist of The Talking Heads, River's works have been in exhibitions at the Washington Museum of Fine Art in Hagerstown, MD, Mudd & Metal Gallery in Baltimore, MD and currently a number of works are on view at Think Loud Studios in York, PA.

Vienne Rea is an American-born photographer and sculptor. Her recent metal sculpture series, 'Ladder' premiered in exhibition in 2013. She presents her metal and acrylic assemblage-style sculpture on her photographs and paintings by Rivers Scott Fisher. Vienne Rea is a co-collaborator with Fisher on numerous art series--including 'Dirty Water' and '33 RPM' and now COVERGIRL. Her meritorious breadth of work, over an expanse of thirty years, includes exhibited and published fine art photography and sculpture.