Wisconsin Tavern League by Carl Corey
& Urban Wilderness by Joseph O. Holmes
Exhibition Dates: 12/08/11 - 01/11/12
Opening Reception: 12/08/11, 6-8pm
Book signing of Wisconsin Tavern League by Carl Corey
“In rural Wisconsin, these taverns could be the only place where a community can gather,” says Corey, 57, who was here to open his show, “and for the tavern owners they are like their living rooms.”– SFGate.com interviews artist Carl Corey.
With a view both familiar and undeniably unique, perceptibly eerie but somehow warmly inviting, photographer Carl Corey’s pictures in “Tavern League: Portraits of Wisconsin Bars” capture the Wisconsin public house as it is today. Carl’s photographs, shot with medium format film and a Hasselblad, are awash with a sense of place — the lingering tang of cigarette smoke, the feel of a gritty floor as a bar stool is pushed back, the ease of sinking into a dimly lit womb of good company and cold beer. Supernaturally vivid colors intertwine with distinctly average vignettes to reveal the magical, and fleeting, quality of these singular places and the people who love them.
A stunningly evocative collection of documentary pictures, “Tavern League” serves as a sociological snapshot. Our bars are unique micro-communities offering patrons a sense of belonging; many are the only public gathering place in the rural communities they serve. These simple taverns provide the valuable opportunity for face-to-face conversation and camaraderie, particularly as people become more physically isolated through the accelerated use of social networking, mobile texting, gaming, and the rapid-fire of email. The Wisconsin tavern presented here is an important segment of the Wisconsin community — one whose evolution, and even continued existence, stands in question in a young twenty-first century.
Carl Corey’s work is exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, as well as in numerous private and public collections. Carl will be at the opening reception signing copies of his book “Tavern League” as well as teaching a workshop at RayKo while escaping the Wisconsin winter. Sign up for his course “A Sense of Place: Working in the Documentary Style” being held on Sunday, December 11th.
Besides a cozy bar, one also appreciates a good winter storm and the silent aftermath of deep snow and solitude. When Joseph O. Holmes walks deep into Brooklyn's Prospect Park on the first snowfall each year, he finds himself transported to the winter meadows and hills of his childhood and to the hikes and backpacking trips around the tiny Pennsylvania factory town where he grew up. At first glance, many of the snowy spaces in “The Urban Wilderness” might be mistaken for those rural scenes: stark white meadows rimmed by low hills and bare trees. But upon closer inspection, street lamps come into focus, hints of park benches appear and backpackers are revealed to be dog walkers. The wilderness and the urban details are an incongruous mix: the juxtaposition of pristine emptiness with hints of the immense human presence lurking just outside the frame. Luckily for Joseph, New York City has been buried in snow for the last few winters and he brings this glory to San Francisco this holiday season.