Buzz art contributor and photographer Megan Derry recently visited Irving Penn: Burning Off the Page, at the Pace Gallery at 1201 S. La Brea Ave. The exhibit runs through September 3.
As yet another long, hot Los Angeles summer nears its end, the Pace Gallery on S. La Brea Avenue offers a respite from the heat with a distilled curation of the legendary Irving Penn’s photographs, augmented with original hand-written notes and ephemera pertaining to his work in Vogue and other publications.
Even if you are not aware that Penn was the maker of so many iconic photographs, you will undoubtedly recognize his imagery as both familiar and timeless, all at once. Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in Morocco, languidly attired in loose linens, glances slyly at the lens with an eye that is drawn with an impeccable thin black line. We instinctively know that Penn has composed the photograph with the idea of a painter arranging a canvas for a royal, yet informal, sitting.
Classically trained as both a painter and a sculptor, Penn continued to apply these disciplines to his work as a photographer, beginning in the postwar era all the way through to his death in 2009. Throughout the arc of his remarkable seven decade career, Irving Penn pushed his art to reflect moving towards elevating photography beyond simply capturing a moment in time, but towards creating feelings and emotions, which could range from exaltation and admiration to decay and repulsion, as portrayed in his series of Large Female Body “Epic Proportions”, and images such as “Polar Bear” and “Lipstick.”
Pace Gallery has curated an exhibition that showcases the very best of Irving Penn’s work but, more importantly, also shows the remarkable range of this legendary artist.
“When I started to work, it was important to make a document, to make pictures that were timeless, then would burn off the page.” – Irving Penn
Irving Penn: Burning Off the Page
July 30m – September 3, 2022
Pace Gallery 1201 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles 310.586.6886
Megan Derry is a photographer and art enthusiast.