FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibition: December 11, 2008 through January 17, 2009
Reception: December 11, 2008
Steven Kasher Gallery is honored to present Venus Revisited: The Photography of Wingate Paine. This is the first solo exhibition of the work of Wingate Paine (1915-1987). It will feature over 75 vintage prints from his personal archive, most drawn from his acclaimed 1966 book Mirror of Venus, text by Francoise Sagan and Federico Fellini. The show is accompanied by a catalog with 82 illustrations, and essays by Michael Boyd, Gabrielle Boyd, Lisa Eisner and Lee Kaplan (Chicago: Wright, 2008). The catalog also includes appreciations by Barbara Walters, Tierney Gearon, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Mitch Glazer, Dmitri Levas, Jeff Ayeroff, Roman Alonso, Steven Kasher, Brad Dunning, Doug Lloyd, and Katy Rodriguez.
In Mirror of Venus Wingate Paine created an icon of the 1960s Sexual Revolution. Though innocent by today’s standards, Paine’s photography pushed the limits of what was considered acceptable art photography. The book illustrated playful, strong, modern women posing in flagrante delicto for an enamored photographer. With the help of his wife, Natalie Paine, who directed a major New York modeling agency, Paine enlisted three remarkable models as collaborators: Sandy Brown, Carla Moliere and Scarlett ?. Printed in ten editions and four languages, Mirror of Venus gave the world a glimpse into a private realm that was both elegant and earthy, both sexy and pure.
Paine viewed his models with appreciation and respect, as well as desire. Paine’s women stand on the threshold of 60s’ feminism. One foot remains in the sexist realm of men (as expressed in the text of Fellini), while the other foot enters a more empowered women’s sphere (given voice by Sagan).
Paine succeeded in his ambition to produce a modern erotic classic, true to his time. And it is still graceful in ours. Mirror of Venus has influenced several generations of photographers. They have imitated Paine’s graphic ideas and elegant desires. Venus Revisited: The Photography of Wingate Paine offers another entry into Paine’s boudoirs. In an era when even the most shocking images are considered unremarkable, Paine’s gentle, sincere eroticism feels like fresh air.
Born in 1915, Paine was a member of a Mayflower New England family with ties to law, banking, and the ministry. He broke from those traditions and became a Marine captain, connoisseur of French wine, devotee of Hatha Yoga, and finally a gifted photographer. Paine was one of the hottest advertising photographers in New York in the 1960s, commanding fees bested only by Avedon and Penn. He was the photographer of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle ads, considered a touchstone of modernist print advertising. In the mid- 1960s Paine set aside his successful advertising career to devote himself to his magnum opus, Mirror of Venus, which he described as a “confirmation of my feelings toward beauty and beautiful women.” After finishing Mirror of Venus and overseeing its many editions, he retired from photography. Paine became a spiritual teacher, authoring two books: Tilling the Soul (Santa Fe: Aurora Press, 1984), and The Book of Surrender(New York: Prentice Hall, 1987). He passed away in Santa Fe in 1987.
Venus Revisited: The Photography of Wingate Paine will be on view December 11 through January 17, 2009.
Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 6pm.
For more info or press requests please Kat Jones at 212 966 3978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.