John Brill

Kent Gallery

Several generations after the pictorialist aesthetic, which first asserted photography’s claim to the status of art, was banished by straight photography’s insistence on the objective rendering of form and the unmanipulated shot, blurry, evanescent images have resurfaced as a major mode of picture making. John Brill’s recent series “ennui” constitutes a self-conscious attempt at a contemporary pictorialism. The photographer has said that this body of work “continues and takes to the extreme my exploration of the subjective and equivocal nature of meaning. . . . Eschewing and ultimately freed from the representational and narrative functions presumed to inhere in photographs generally, these minimal scapes exist only in the photographic print.” Rather than define his medium as the capturing of unique, real-time encounters between photographer and object—Brill turns the print into a unique

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