“SARAH CONAWAY and MELANIE SCHIFF” curated by Sterling Ruby

Dates: Sep 9 – Oct 4, 2014
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Modern (Piramide Bldg., Roppongi)

Taka Ishii Gallery Modern is pleased to present an exhibition of still life and landscape photographs by Los Angeles based artists Sarah Conaway and Melanie Schiff, curated by artist Sterling Ruby.

Sarah Conaway uses everyday objects to create exquisite photographic images that invoke both an inventive playfulness and a charged formality. Her work seeks to inhabit rather than mimic the art history it references, transcending its photographic nature to present an “objectness” and a “materiality.” The works on view reflect the artist’s recurring subject of folds and fabrics, tracing an art historical narrative from the sculpted fabrics of a Bernini sculpture to Joseph Beuys’ act of wrapping himself in wool in his performance “I Like America and America Likes Me.”

Melanie Schiff’s works span classical genres of portraiture, landscape, still life and performance, locating themselves within multiple histories of photography. Her work is deeply rooted in her intimate observations of places and their quality of light. Shot with an overcast sky, “Blood Bank” is a melancholic landscape taken near Vancouver, British Columbia, in which a felled tree covered with a stain of blood suggests the form of a fractured bone. For her “Natives” series, the artist sets up backdrops in outdoor locations, a technique inspired by Richard Avedon’s photographic series “In the American West.” Schiff’s spare and austere images of native California plants poetically linger between portraiture and landscape.

Sarah Conaway (b.1972 in York, PA) received her MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including solo and two person exhibitions at The Box, Los Angeles, Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich and Bellwether Gallery, New York, and in group exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, Richard Telles Gallery, Los Angeles, Prism Gallery, Los Angeles, Gallery Diet, Miami, 64bis, Paris, Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin and Gallery 400, Chicago. Her work was included in the biennial exhibition “Made In LA” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 2012. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Melanie Schiff (b. 1977 in Chicago, IL) received her BFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and her MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago. Schiff has held recent solo exhibitions at CAM Raleigh, NC (2013), University Galleries of Illinois State University (2012), Kavi Gupta Gallery, IL (2012) and was included in Jens Hoffmann’s “Lens Drawings” at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris. Her work has been exhibited at venues including MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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