Words by Diana McClure / Photographs by Anders Jones

Ornamentation of the Joint is a quiet photography exhibition in a sprawling corner of a large industrial complex called the Pfizer Building, located in Brooklyn. Formerly, a pharmaceutical factory, the building now houses a bevy of food start-up companies, while carving out an ample portion of raw space on its 3rd floor for semi-DIY exhibitions.

Ornamentation of the Joint is currently on view through May 21st and features four innovative photographers, Jude Broughan, Mark Dorf, Penelope Umbrico, and Letha Wilson, who are pushing the boundaries of the medium into hybrid forms that combine concrete, installation, sculpture and painterly touches.

For die hard photo enthusiasts eager to get a rare peak at Wilson’s concrete photographs and the work of highly regarded Umbrico, the journey to this off the beaten path informal space with floor to ceiling windows and poured concrete floors offers an experimental experience.

Letha Wilson’s work is concerned with the intersection of nature and architecture.  Two works on view at the size of 22”x18”x2” offer a glimpse of the innovative nature of her process, which is described as concrete transfer and concrete.  Her photographs of natural landscapes and floral imagery are transferred onto abstract concrete structures that give the feel of multilevel terrain and relief sculpture.  In this exhibition the images offer lustrous purple hues in contrast to the cool grey of concrete.  In the past, Wilson has made work that can weigh a few tons, requiring Herculean efforts to install.

Jude Broughan’s work offers a take on collage that combines photographs and natural and synthetic materials. A group of images on view in Ornamentation of the Joint, are encased in what appear to be frames with canvas over them. The canvases have organically shaped cutouts through which we can see Broughan’s photographic imagery and are made of high gloss white vinyl offering a pleasing polished completion to the rawness of her quasi-3D collage style.  An added touch is the painting of the interior edges of her frames with vibrant colors, only visible upon closer inspection.

Penelope Umbrico is known for her critiques of consumer culture via grid-like imagery built from repetitive images like sunsets and moons gathered via the Internet. Her work for this exhibition offers up an installation of broken and blank television screens for sale culled from consumer-to-consumer websites such as Craigslist and eBay. Collectively they offer a panorama of faded deep pastels and black reminiscent of the days of old school television watching.

Ornamentation of the Joint was curated by Allison Peller and presented by the MA in Curatorial Practice program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). 

(original blog post)