December 6 – March 3, 2019
Reception December 6, 2018, 7-8:30 PM
Gallery talk on December 6, 2018 with Linda Troeller and J. K. Lavin at 6:15 PM
These photographs are seen through my eyes as sitter, as maker, and as a viewer from a time in photography I thought we might not wish to lose track of. The birth we give our life passes through archetypal wombs spun of fibers, glow, and exposed in the way we develop ourselves. Self-Portraiture and portraits of me by photographers provided insight to provoke me to express myself at moments of emotional shifts and curiosity. The self-portrait is a composition of structured forces and aspects of our developed knowledge of life. It is a guide toward “Who am I?” Working with the psyche is much more than narcissistic exercise, though it fulfills that role too. I experimented with ‘presenting’ myself to the camera to gain possession of powerful “self-hood.” When I see a print or screen image of myself, it is something real, something physical, and something that increases awareness. With this collection of photographs over time, I’ve a reference to compare and contrast and notice things I was not consciously ready to deal with before. – LT
Introduction to “Self Reflection”
by Toby Kamps, Director, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, Texas
“Artist. Model. Author. Muse. Linda Troeller plays many parts in her photographic life. Throughout a prolific career photographing and publishing books on female sexuality, healing-water spas, the AIDS epidemic, and her home in New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel, Troeller has regularly served as a subject for the camera, her own and those of her colleagues. The collection of images by Troeller and other photographers from the 1970s to today, is an intimate, illuminating assessment of one artist’s deep engagement with seeing and understanding herself through the camera’s lens.
The images are waypoints in Troeller’s aesthetic and personal evolution. Some are carefully planned; others are quick and spontaneous. All are telling responses to a time and place. Early self- and family portraits trace her progress as a young feminist carving out an identity in a male-dominated photo world. She shoots herself in a dorm-room mirror, as a Lolita-like gamine in a terrycloth robe, and in dramatic half-shadow with her proud father. Later images show her exploring her emotional and erotic sides and working as a model for other photographers. She depicts herself healing from a breakup in a Mexican hot spring and poses nude for greats like Eikoh Hosoe and Lucien Clergue. And current work shows her as a stylish, older woman living and working in an epicenter of creativity.
Troeller’s dual roles behind and in front of the camera make her an anomaly in a community where most hide behind their viewfinders. But her exceptional beauty, along with the strength, openness, and willingness to collaborate with other artists on subtle, spiritual levels manifested in each photograph, made it inevitable that she would inspire other photographers as a subject. In each fearless image Troeller depicts the creative arc of a soul in love with photography and life.”
Toby Kamps is the director at the Blaffler Museum and was curator at the Contemporary Art Museum and then curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection since 2010. He has curated some of Houston’s most acclaimed solo shows including Claes Oldenburg, Ellsworth Kelly, and William N. Copley.
Linda Troeller is a NYC art photographer with a relatively new book Living Inside the Chelsea Hotel published by Schiffer. Her exhibitions include the Laurence Miller Gallery, F-stop Festival, Leipzig, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and Coda Museum, Netherlands.
She is published by Aperture, Healing Waters, and Scalo, Erotic Lives of Women, (with writer Marion Schneider), reviewed in the NYTimes, “as one of the gutsiest books of the decade.” She lectured at Griffin Museum, Yale, Parsons and SVA. Some of her archives are at Syracuse University and the TB-AIDS Diaryis in the collections the Norton Museum of Art.