Christopher Rauschenberg is best known for capturing visual puns and other unexpected forms of levity that he encounters while traveling. For this exhibition, however, the photographer points his shutter inward toward the realm of the artist’s studio. Studio Photography highlights selections from a project that Rauschenberg began in 2006, recording the intriguing things that artists collect and draw upon for inspiration. The photographer thereby trades the backdrop of international travel for the interior of the artist’s workspace and mind. Despite this shift in subject, Studio Photography nonetheless continues his investigation of the everyday: it offers a glimpse into the daily lives of some of the art world’s most recognizable names, including Chuck Close, Robert Frank, Shirin Neshat, Robert Rauschenberg, and the workshop of Gemini G.E.L.
Rauschenberg treats his camera as a magnifying glass to find amusingly happenstance compositions formed by tools and other objects commonly found in studios. In a peek into fellow photographer Robert Frank’s studio, for example, he crops images of Frank’s spouse and sculptor, June Leaf, to appose a colorful target and bottle of marbles. The altarpiece-like composition of this work evokes and encourages spiritual rumination. As Rauschenberg explains, “I am happy to find myself in artists’ studios often. I’m primarily there to look at their art, but I love to savor the delightful conjunctions of objects and images in those studios--two and three-dimensional collages that create and result from the powerful artistic charge that is the lifeblood of an artist’s studio.”
Based in Portland, Oregon, Rauschenberg received his B.A. from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. His work has been exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA), the Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), the International Center of Photography (New York, NY), and the George Eastman House (Rochester, NY) among many other major institutions. An exceptionally active leader in the Northwest arts community, he has taught at Marylhurst College in Lake Oswego, Oregon for many years and cofounded both Nine Gallery and the photography nonprofit Blue Sky Gallery.