10/02/2014 02:27 pm ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

New Wave Women: Paris Photo Los Angeles


Corinne Vionnet layers hundreds of similar photographs of the same landmark to give an impression of a place we all know. She chooses locations based on travel brochures and tourism statistics, then culls anonymous snapshots from the Internet. Influenced by the mists of Monet and Turner, as well as early etchings of monuments, she hopes to create a portrait of collective memory.


Influenced by Robert Irwin, Robert Ryman and John Cage (especially his use of silence) Uta Barth's photographs resemble minimalist painting, "engaging the ephemeral, the ambient, and the subliminal," as she says. Her work implies peripheral vision, showing not obvious elements of a place, but details we come to know after living somewhere a long time. In one series she photographed light as it fell through a line of windows and across a couch in her own home, pale gold rectangles lingering on the wall, haunting empty space.

In another series she pays homage to an unexpected forebear: Vermeer. Reproductions of his work hung in her childhood home. Like Vermeer, Barth is drawn to quiet, domestic scenes, and the quality of light filtering through windows. Noting that the etymology of photograph is "writing with light," she tries to capture elusive, unnoticed moments. Her compositions are like poems whose lines are made of light: fragile, ethereal, on the verge of vanishing.


After her teenaged sister committed suicide, Nan Goldin moved to New York at fourteen, alone. "I am always searching for a family," she has said. Influenced by Larry Clark and Diane Arbus, she gravitated toward those on the outskirts of society, but insists they never saw themselves as peripheral. "We were the world," she says.

Shot against the backdrop of a downtown New York nostalgic for Warhol-era counterculture, her work has been described as a combination of "low-rent glamour, squalor and beauty," and as "invasive yet oddly solitary." She denies that all her portraits are self-portraits, but boundless longing pervades each one. Phyllis Reid writes, "Goldin has a gift for connection that is a product of her bottomless desire for it."

New Wave Women: Paris Photo Los Angeles