Bruce Wrighton: An Exhibition of Photographs at Laurence Miller Gallery, Extended Through May 26th

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Photographs with an immediate presence... magical portraits and peculiar interiors from a small American town.

Bruce Wrighton: At Home celebrates an outstanding but relatively unknown document of a time and place in America that has never completely vanished

Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to announce the one-month extension of Bruce Wrighton: At Home, the most complete exhibition to date of Bruce Wrighton’s powerful and uniquely American color images taken between 1986 and 1988 in and around Binghamton, New York. Seventy prints, including street portraits, tavern interiors, courtrooms, church confessionals, and cityscapes, will be featured.

In the two years prior to his death at age 38 in 1988, Wrighton photographed extensively near his home, using a cumbersome 8 x 10 inch tripod camera. He would ask the most ordinary of people, from a Woolworth shopper to a security guard, to pose for up to six minutes while he got everything in his viewfinder correct. Combining a strong sense of formal design with empathy for his subjects, he produced a singular body of work that is a unique document of a slice of America.

Binghamton was formerly a thriving industrial city. IBM was founded there. But by the 1980’s it had fallen on hard times. Bruce Wrighton sensitively captured its former dignity that to the casual onlooker would appear as merely worn out and tired. In the basement of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, proudly standing under a floating Christ figure, he discovered a 1955 Wurlitzer jukebox. Despite its age and broken glass, it still glowed its majestic blue and red lights, while offering tunes from the Beatles to Sinatra.

At the local Woolworth store, he photographed customers and sales clerks, including a woman in front of a red wall wearing a pink scarf and white coat with mismatched buttons. Inside the Union Hotel, he photographed once-charming bedrooms, where the rich patterns of the wallpaper, flooring and bedspread are Matisse-like in their juxtaposition. And while visiting the Salvation Army recreation room he photographed its quirky combination of pool cues and balls, orange sofa, portrait of Christ, and a handmade sign declaring NO POOL PLAYING NO TELEVISION SUNDAY.

Bruce Wrighton: At Home celebrates an outstanding but relatively unknown document of a time and place in America that has never completely vanished. Wrighton’s unique and potent feel for color is further revealed in a handsome limited-edition monograph with 80 full color reproductions that was recently published in Berlin and is now available in the United States for the first time.

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Vicki Harris
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