Gallery Y and Gallery X: “Tom Van Eynde: Some of Everything, A Retrospective”
November 13, 2015 – January 16, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, November 13, 2015, 6-9pm
Artist Remarks: Saturday, December 5, 2015, 2-5pm
Linda Warren Projects is pleased to present “Tom Van Eynde: Some of Everything, A Retrospective,” spanning the four-decades-long photography career of gallery artist Tom Van Eynde. From the vintage portraits of late 1970s subcultures to vast panoramas of Egypt in the 1980s and the intimate studio practice he continues today, Van Eynde employs a documentary-style approach to his subject matter. However straightforward his compositions appear, the contents are far from simple. From landscapes, to still lifes, to portraits, Van Eynde’s subjects vary widely, though his signature manner of capturing images with masterful clarity, while also withholding explanations, permeates each of his series.
The earliest examples of Van Eynde’s career in this exhibition are “Santa Fe Speedway” (late 1970s – early 1980s) and “Photographers Welcome” (mid 1970s). The artist’s lifelong passion for racing makes an appearance in “Santa Fe Speedway.” Van Eynde’s works are a firsthand account of this eccentric scene of folks posing proudly with their dinged-up helmets and hand-painted vehicles. In these works, Van Eynde gives us an image and occasionally a name of the men and women of this long gone dirt racetrack, and little else in terms of identifying details. Likewise, “Photographers Welcome” embodies the artist’s MO of “showing” but hardly “telling.” Taken during a time before the more sterilized gentleman’s clubs of today, these works document the strip shows that encouraged any and all spectators to photograph their performers. Van Eynde catalogs these strippers (and their attentive audiences) with precision, though everyone and everything in the compositions remain anonymous.
Ambiguity plays a large role throughout Van Eynde’s oeuvre, and that aspect of his vision is manifested in a variety of forms. When Van Eynde creates black and white panoramas of Egyptian ruins and the Megaliths of Western Europe, he’s capturing not only the beauty of their physical presences, but the unknowability of the structures’ ancient purposes. A series the artist refers to as “Early & Contemporary Night Flash Photos,” taken between 1976 and 2013, are mysterious formal studies taken from life. His “No Info” series of untitled panoramas of miniature landscapes indeed provides us what the title suggests: no information. Van Eynde happily leaves the majority of interpretation up to his viewers.
Gallery X features the latest of Van Eynde’s series, “Nu Dutch.” Here, the artist’s family, friends and colleagues from the art world are the sitters for contemporary, photographic versions of Dutch Golden Age portraits. Each of these modern-looking subjects is adorned with a unique, handmade collar, further exaggerating the tension between the antiquity of the art historical reference, and the hyperrealism of Van Eynde’s modern photographic technology. While historically, it was the more affluent members of the mercantile class that commissioned portraits from an artist, in “Nu Dutch,” Van Eynde carefully seeks out his subjects –though his reasons for choosing them remain enigmatic.
Tom Van Eynde is a Chicago-based photographer whose artworks can be found in the collections of such venues as the Block Museum, the Illinois State Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His work has been exhibited throughout the country, including exhibitions at Roland Gibson Gallery in Potsdam, NY; Scripps College in Claremont, CA; Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, PA; The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH; Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery in Chicago; Chicago Cultural Center; and N.A.M.E. Gallery in Chicago. Van Eynde has also served as a Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Field Photographer for the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, at Luxor, Egypt. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition at Linda Warren Projects.