Seduction By Camera

bill-henson-photoTame! - Bill Henson at Robert Miller Gallery

After Australian photographer Bill Henson's recent show in his homeland in which images of naked adolescents were seized from the wall and the show was shut down, I was expecting a controversial reception here in New York. With our economy in shatters, no one put up a fuss. But why should they? This show is a beautiful, formal exhibit of powerful and pleasing images. There is nothing shocking or offensive. Instead it is a show of a mature artist presenting well-crafted and sensuous photographs.

Henson's twenty-three large color photographs (50' x 70') are a mix of landscapes, architecture, and figures with a few compelling still lifes thrown in. The presentation is quite elegant and fills the expansive gallery nicely. All of the images are all shown mixed together, not separated out. This placement accentuates the formal qualities of the works and creates a visual dialogue amongst the images. Subject matter seems less important than formal characteristics. The show is really about light and lighting. The subjects are either dark and dusky landscapes suggesting the mystery of the twilight hours or dramatic figures and still lifes that employ chiaroscuro. Although the work is reminiscent of master 16th century painters, the images also resemble stills from a film noir.

In many of the portraits, the eyes are closed or looking away, they are rarely confronting the viewer. What I was most struck by in the figures was the rich variations in skin tones, and the intensity of seeing the blood vessels, kind of like high definition TV with dramatic lighting.

This show is definitely worth a look. - Margaret Roleke

Robert Miller Gallery
524 West 26th Street, NYC
New York, NY
Now thru November 15th, 2008


Ms. Roleke is an artist who's work has been exhibited throughout the New York Tri-State region; she is also an independent curator.

the media is constantly

the media is constantly showing us images of naked and half naked girls in magazines, tv and on the internet, but nobody is calling any of that pornography. Open any fashion magazine and its the first thing you will see. Why should Henson's beautifully crafted photographs be taken away and deemed "inappropriate" while so many other things are being shown to society and go on completely unnoticed?

people think they know it all

The things that are all throughout the images is light and the use of it , the way that Ms. Roleke has stated the show being about art is a very good one. I find her review quite interesting and a fresh insite to al of hte negative energy that surrounds his photos at the moment. the human body was born naked for a reason , if people chose to think it is a horriable or as Kevin Rudd stated “absolutely revolting “ these kind of comments were produced by people that hadnt even seen the artwork, ie Kevin Rudd. The fact is that the media is a huge negative feed that places more negative thoughts within our minds , this is shown within the comment "Rolecke review of Henson show" people that dont have there facts correct always look stupid in the end , the girl was 13 not 14 . check it before you post ! Great Review =] from 1000 % Aussie

I saw only beauty; I guess

I saw only beauty; I guess you saw what you wanted to see.

Rolecke review of Henson show

This review is at about the level of my tv guide. Or a junior high school assignment.

"Subject matter seems less important than formal characteristics". Or "..the show is really about light and lighting".

Such a reduction to formal qualities merely exemplifies Henson's aesthetic subterfuge within which he embeds his child fetish.

Don't mistake the exhibited image for the whole story - the conditions of the making of images of naked 12 year old girl did not fool anyone in Oz.

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