By Christabelle… @CBellesCloset
When I think of attending art studio/gallery opening receptions, I tend to sometimes clench my jaw and start speaking like Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan’s Island (which you can imagine is not the finest look for me). But when invited to the very exclusive reception for the work of Paul Solberg at Casa de Costa in Lower Manhattan a weeks ago, the only thing my jaw did was support the smile that came across my face. I have heard the rumbles about this trendy penthouse atelier and have been yearning to be one of the lucky few to be added to their prominent guest list. Well, it finally happened. And what I saw, was nothing short of brilliance.
As I stepped off the elevator, I felt as though I was walking through a time machine; staring at the solemn faces of soldiers from another era. Soldiers that, perhaps, are now long gone. Military men from generations gone by. Or so I thought. In reality, what hung before me was the (solo) photography exhibition of artist Paul Solberg. A body of work, completed in 2010, consisting of 20 portraits of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines – shot just a mere three years ago. Intrigued, engaged and thirsty for the truth behind the images, Casa de Costa‘s Jason Costa, Josh McNey and Matthew Degnan generously shared the tale-behind-the-work…which I now share with you below.
During the 2010 “Fleet Week” in New York City, Solberg captured a series of austere portraits on vintage Polaroid SX 70 film. In a flurry of activity, the artist met and photographed literally hundreds of young service members. Working tirelessly for days, Solberg bicycled in and around Times Square creating the portraits. What he didn’t know at the time was that something truly unexpected would happen: the unstable vintage film stock began to deteriorate within days. The images began a rapid degeneration and most were lost entirely. Of the hundreds of portraits, Solberg was able to scan and salvage this small selection.
The faces in Service look almost as if haunted by experience, by innocence lost too soon. In their world, courage and fear, invincibility and vulnerability are close companions. The fading, ephemeral quality of Solberg’s images speaks to the often-unseen trials, sacrifices made, and burdens borne in the name of service to country. “In this exhibition, Paul has created a series of portraits that evoke a sense of the fragility of life, and encourage us to reflect on the motivation to serve,” said Jason Costa, founder of Casa de Costa. “This body of work simultaneously honors our men and women in uniform, and also encourages us to reflect on the realities of sending our young people to war.”
“Photographing these young people was a moving experience, and I definitely gained a deeper understanding of their world, and respect for their dedication to service.”
This is truly one NOT to miss and lucky you, you have over a month to make the trip to Casa de Costa and peruse the live installation for yourself and purchase a Solberg for yourself
(or me – my favorite is the first image in this post).
Paul Solberg Exhibit
March 7, 2013 thru April 18, 2013
Casa de Costa
11 Stone Street
Open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm
Paul Solberg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and moved to NYC in 1996. He studied anthropology in Cape Town, South Africa. Some of Solberg’s published books include Bloom (2005), Puppies Behind Bars (2006), Tyrants + Lederhosen (2010), and Tattoos, Hornets & Fire (2012), the last three publications in collaboration with Christopher Makos. Solberg’s photographs have been published in Publisher’s Weekly, Le Figaro, La Lettre, Ocean Drive, WSJ International Edition, Conde Nast Traveler, and other publications in the US and abroad. Solberg’s work has been shown at numerous exhibits in the US and internationally, including museum La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Galeria Moriarty (Madrid), Christopher Henry Gallery (New York), Karl Hutter Fine Art (LA), Galerie Catherine Houard (Paris), Galerie Sho Contemporary Art (Tokyo) and Hitawsky Gallery (Berlin), among others.
This is Solberg’s first exhibition at Casa de Costa gallery.
Follow Paul Solberg
Casa de Costa is an art studio that works with visual artists from around the world. The studio gallery occupies the penthouse and rooftop garden of a pre-war building on historic Stone Street in Lower Manhattan. Casa de Costa was founded in 2008 on the premise that the market for fine art in New York transcends traditional white-box galleries and channels of distribution. Casa de Costa brings a fresh voice and offers a truly unique setting in which to experience original artwork of the highest quality.