Posted By Mariah Robertson


WRITING:  The New Yorker  

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Van Doren Waxter is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Mariah Robertson, on view from October 1 - December 19, 2020. Exploring themes of representation, reproduction, and the subversion of tradition, Mariah Robertson is known for pushing the boundaries of darkroom photography. The artist’s vibrant camera-less photo works, for which she is best known, are made from the basic elements of the traditional darkroom yet defy the dominant paradigm of photography as a direct observation of life. Examining the process of image-making from its interior, Robertson’s photographic practice offers a meaningful understanding of the medium, and its potential for experimentation and disruption. For Robertson, the concrete tools of photography are a system from which to work with, marking the passage of time, and creating tension between chance and plan.


Shown for the first time, this exhibition features new hybrids in Mariah Robertson’s ongoing practice of using unique hand-cut masks, color filters, and controlled light exposure. Working in complete darkness, Robertson precisely exposes her photo paper at two-second intervals, experimenting with the color balance of the enlarger’s filters and the movement of her exposure masks. While this technique is built into the very tools of traditional photography, Robertson pushes the potential of image-making into a visual codex compressing time and action onto a single object. Inherently temporal, Robertson records her physical movements, mental gesturing, and chance moments in each two-second exposure.


In a departure from earlier works, this new series of photograms are presented as multipart works, created from a progression of division via cutting, light exposure, repetition, and finally re-integration, as the artist brings together these irregularly shaped prints within a single frame. Emphasizing the impossibility of pure reproduction, the artist’s pairing of prints creates a new formal relationship between the separated parts, exploring the philosophical affirmation of difference and repetition – a central theme eponymous with the exhibition’s title. Here in these works, the relationship between serial tries and (literal) blind experimentation points to an important theme central to the work: the inevitability of progression through imperfect repetition and differentiation.


These new composites are each unique, formalizing the elements of playfulness and chance between the pairings – an important aspect to Robertson’s practice. In an exuberant progression from her last body of work, Robertson explicitly asserts the objecthood of this new group in specifically designed frames, on custom color-saturated mounts. These liminal works, existing both as representation and object, foreground Robertson’s intense exploration of the photographic process, picking it apart, compressing it, and doubling down on its endless ability to create.


Mariah Robertson (b. 1975) graduated from UC Berkeley (BA) and Yale (MFA), and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include M+B, Los Angeles, CA and Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN. Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Over the past decade, a group of young photographers from North America have taken photography in new directions, largely as a reaction to the ubiquitous presence of digital images, which now form the backbone of contemporary visual experience. Although their practices are diverse, these artists share an investment in placing photography in conversation with other artistic mediums—particularly painting and sculpture—to create hybrid works that are only part picture. In the process of forming this new photographic narrative, the artists have also provoked a re-examination of the medium’s recent history. This has lent further weight to works from the previous generation of photographers that reflects an engagement with materiality, allowing them to emerge as the current moment’s most influential predecessors. In this exhibition, images by these forerunners are shown together with significant works from this most recent generation of practitioners, asserting photography’s physical presence in a world overrun with dematerialized images.

Lucas Blalock/ Ellen Carey/ Ryan Foerster/ Jan Groover/ John Houck/ Barbara Kasten/ Owen Kydd/ Elad Lassry/ Mariah Robertson/ Erin Shirreff/ Josh Tonsfeldt/ James Welling/ Chris Wiley

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Arforum Pick!  ​

Hartford Courant:

Curated by Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky and Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff.

Kendall Baker, Isidro Blasco, Rachel Harrison, Leslie Hewitt, Jon Kessler, Anouk Kruithof, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Erin Shirreffand Letha Wilson

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Posted By Mariah Robertson​

By Proxy is an exhibition of the instances when an idea needs more than just an artist to take form.

Marcel Duchamp called it "aesthetic osmosis", the process by which an artist, through an artwork, transfers responsibility and agency to a viewer. A viewer's position — where they're coming from — shaped the final meaning of many of Duchamp's works. His revolutionary idea gave viewers authority to complete the process he had started. His objects, "through the change from inert matter into a work of art", were evidence of the strength of this shared enterprise.

In the century since, production, outsourcing, interaction and appropriation have
become mainstream modes of artistic expression; the shared enterprise has become a
fragmented contract between the artist and other factors, not simply between the artist and the viewer. An artwork's form and meaning take shape outside the artist's hands in countless ways: in context, fabrication, tools, reproduction.

By Proxy is an exhibition in which technology, other artisans, context, chance and culture have a role in the making of the work. The exhibition takes an interest in the primacy of an idea, the possibilities of that idea as it moves through its making, and the resulting object. It pays tribute to the purity of good ideas and the inherent peculiarity and magic of every collaboration, with the proof in the pudding.

The exhibition will include artists incorporating work from the past century to the present day. Artists include Francis AlÿsAlighiero BoettiJohn CageMarcel DuchampWade GuytonLee Mingwei, Sol LeWittOliver Laric, Yoko Ono, Jon RafmanMariah RobertsonSiebren Versteeg, and Xu Zhen.


Posted By Mariah Robertson

Posted By Mariah Robertson

Michele Abeles, Lucas Blalock, Sam Falls, Ryan Foerster, Amy Granat, Rachel Harrison, Leslie Hewitt, John Houck, Barbara Kasten, Jason Loebs, Nick Mauss, Ken Okiishi, Arthur Ou, Anthony Pearson, Marina Pinsky, Mariah Robertson, Matt Saunders, and Chris Wiley

Artforum critic's pick

The New Yorker

Posted By Mariah Robertson


Process Priority

Press Release     Review

July 11 – August 30, 2014

Featured Artists:
Josh Brand
Matthew Brandt
Bryan Graf
Tamar Halpern
Barbara Kasten
Eileen Quinlan
Mariah Robertson

Questioning the expectations of photography

Posted By Mariah Robertson



Contemporary Poetry Marathon Reading

The NADA Contemporary Poetry Marathon Reading from May 10, 2014.



Contemporary Poetry was a marathon reading featuring thirty emerging and established poets, which took place on May 10, 2014 at NADA New York. This is a podcast of the program with portraits of the poets by Mariah Robertson, which also serves as the announcement for Contemporary Poetry Too, a postscript to the first reading.

Participants for Contemporary Poetry included, in this order: Alina Gregorian (with Monica McClure), Ana Božičević, Andrew Durbin, Ben Fama, Billy Merrell, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Daniel Feinberg, Deanna Havas, Ed Spade, Dorothea Lasky, Elizabeth Reddin, Emily Skillings, Hansa Bergwall, Jamie Townsend, Joseph Bradshaw, Karen Lepri, Leopoldine Core, Matt Longabucco, not_I (Ana Božiĉević & Sophia Le Fraga), Monica McClure, Sophia Le Fraga (with Lanny Jordan Jackson), Paul Legault, Rickey Laurentiis, Saeed Jones, Simone Kearney, Ted Dodson, Zachary Pace, Stephen Motika, Svetlana Kitto, and Adam Fitzgerald.

Contemporary Poetry Too will function as an ongoing inquiry into the poet as artist. It will take place July 10th at the Andrew Edlin Gallery, from 6 to 8, with a reception afterward featuring special guest DJs S&M (Shannon Michael Cane & Matt Conners).

Participating poets for Contemporary Poetry Too include Alan Longino, Alina Gregorian, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Bianca Stone, Emily Skillings, Greg Purcell, Ishmael Klein, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Jess Arndt, Juliana Huxtable, not_I (Ana Božiĉević & Sophia Le Fraga), Paul Legault, Simone Kearny, Stephen Boyer, Willa Carroll, Sampson Starkweather, and Zachary Pace.

The Contemporary Poetry Series is curated by Sam Gordon, in collaboration with BOMB and NADA.

Posted By Mariah Robertson

There is a short bit of writing or COMPILING, I did in The PhotoBook Review 006

bruno aperture
Jane Mount, Ideal Bookshelf #706 Bruno Ceschel /

Posted By Mariah Robertson


“What Is a Photograph?”

1133 Avenue of the Americas
January 31–May 1

Letha Wilson, Colorado Purple, 2012, concrete, C-print transfer, C-print, wood frame, 21 x 21 x 2".

Many of the artists in this expansive exhibition place an emphasis on the physicality—or lack thereof—of photography rather than on its capacity to represent the outside world. As a whole, “What Is a Photograph?” might be taken as a diagnostic inquiry, with the title reading as a rhetorical question. Curated by Carol Squiers, the exhibition includes twenty-one artists, ranging from Gerhard Richter and James Welling to Liz Deschenes and Eileen Quinlan, and has tasked itself with surveying the medium since the 1970s.

The work of both Matthew Brandt and Letha Wilson exhume a long-standing tradition of American landscape photography with fresh invigoration. In Brandt’s large-scale Grays Lake, ID 7, 2013, Technicolor abstractions stem from an actual processing bath in the depicted lake waters, while Wilson’s monolith Grand Tetons Concrete Column, 2012, employs industrial concrete to sculpturally engage her iconic views of the American West. Draped through the gallery’s foyer is Mariah Robertson’s 154, 2010. This single photograph measures one hundred feet in length and has been meticulously hand-processed by the artist in a highly toxic photochemical environment. The remarkable result validates its production, as every inch of this dangling photograph reveals a labyrinth of glowing hues and pictorial intricacies.

Parallel to romanticizing the darkroom are the several artists who wholeheartedly embrace the more conventional, digitalized avenues associated with the medium. Travess Smalley’s Capture Physical Presence #15, 2011, exploits the imaging systems of a flatbed scanner to manipulate his collages into what he describes as mind-numbing “feedback loops.” Kate Steciw’s approach in Apply, 2012, takes advantage of a Google-based research method, purchased stock imagery, and sculptural tack-ons that recall the slick advertisements of commercial photography. Elsewhere in the gallery, a wall text accompanying Jon Rafman’s eerie and unadorned busts reads, “The age demanded an image / Of its accelerated grimace, Something for the modern stage / Not, at any rate, an attic grace.”

— Gabriel H. Sanchez

Posted By Mariah Robertson