Throckmorton Fine Art (www.throckmorton-nyc.com) will present an exhibition of photographs by Guggenheim Award winning Brazilian photographer Valdir Cruz (born 1954) at its New York gallery from September 18 to November 1, 2014.
“Guarapuava” is Throckmorton Fine Art’s sixth solo exhibition of works by the documentary-photographer, Valdir Cruz, and one that is the culmination of a thirty-year project.
Spencer Throckmorton says, “Cruz’s exquisite photographic essay on ‘Guarapuava,’ the photographer’s hometown, bears out Tolstoy’s observation that to be universal one only needs to talk about his own village. With unremitting devotion, Cruz has chronicled the lives and lifestyles of this ephemeral and evocative place. The images are the result of his close investigation of its people and landscapes.”
Among highlights – “Guarapuava” showcases a photograph entitled, “Gypsy Woman I.” It is not merely a portrait; it is a confrontation. As though her unkempt hair, her shirt of asymmetric wildflowers and her pose of apparent control were not enough, what grabs the viewer’s attention is her perturbing gaze.
In “Tropeada I” the photographer immortalizes an extinct way of life as gauchos and cattle recede into the horizon. The distinctive landscapes and magnificent waterfalls of the region complement this body of work.
Although Throckmorton Fine Art is known for its silver, platinum, and vintage prints, this exhibition is a collection of large-format pigment on paper. Over the course of twelve years, Cruz and his master printer, Leonard Bergson, have developed a proprietary printing process by which to create exquisite original artworks. The exceptional quality of these prints catapults them into a niche of their own.
“Hands” beautifully represents the absolute wide range of black and gray tones—from delicate charcoal shades to pitch darkness—resulting in a striking composition. It is also a visual and cultural commentary of a solitary gesture that models human complexity.
Spencer Throckmorton adds that, “The photographs that comprise this body of work are his most collected; they have been acquired by The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, and other institutions and private collections.”
Valdir Cruz says, “I have a great appreciation for Spencer Throckmorton and Kraige Block. They have given me opportunities in my life because they believe in my work and welcome the chance to show it. Spencer is a gentleman and a good listener. He is also a very strong man and very generous. He knows his trade so well; I have never met anybody like him.”
Cruz was born in Guarapuava, in the Southern State of Paraná, in 1954. Although Cruz has lived in the United States for more than thirty years, much of his work in photography has focused on the people and landscape of Brazil. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 for Faces of the Rainforest, a project documenting the life of indigenous people in the Brazilian rainforest from 1995 to 2000. Cruz shares his time between his studios in New York City and São Paulo.
It has been said that Cruz’s interest in photography began when he first viewed some of George Stone’s photographs in National Geographic magazines in the 1970s. “Stone was a master teacher and it is thanks to him that I became a photographer.” Cruz adds that it was George Tice who helped him become a good printer. At the Germain School he studied photography, but he gained technical skills from George Tice at the New School for Social Research, in New York. He later collaborated with Tice in the authorized production of two important Edward Steichen portfolios, Juxtapositions (1986) and Blue Skies (1987) before focusing largely on his own works. Valdir Cruz developed a deep understanding of how 20th century photographers such as Edward Steichen and Horst P. Horst expressed their creativity in photography. He says, “Mr Horst was not only a great photographer, but a gentleman. I remember the 80’s with affection. Those were years of learning and growing tremendously in my vision - and photography – and in my life! Those were the years dedicated to New York City…and learning photography.” Valdir Cruz’s work has been the subject of more than fifty solo exhibitions.