Shows & Events

  • Solo show

    Lines and Lineage solo show in Paris, Baudoin Lebon gallery

    Lines and Lineage solo exhibition from 16 May to 29 June, 2019

    Vernissage (artist reception) Wednesday, 15 May from 6:00pm to 9:00pm

    galerie baudoin lebon
    8 rue Charles François-Dupuis
    75003 Paris
    France

    Tel.+ 33 (0)1 42 72 09 10

     

    About the work

    Lines and Lineage takes aim at America’s collective amnesia of history. The work addresses the missing photographic record of the period when Mexico ruled what we now know as the American West. To visualize the people and places from the remarkable yet unseen Mexican era, I chose to photograph the region with glass plates and a 19th-century wooden camera. Portraits of direct descendants of early inhabitants of the West—mestizo, Afro-Latin, indigenous, Crypto-Jewish—are paired with photographs of landscapes inside the original border and architecture from the Mexican period. Lines and Lineage lifts the pervasive fog of dominant Western mythology and makes us question the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West.

     

    Reviews and praise for Lines and Lineage

    “…Using a North American map from 1839 (the same year that photography is thought to have made its debut in Europe), Mr. van Houtryve traveled along Mexico’s old northern border to meet families who have lived in the region for centuries.

    His equipment in the Instagram age? A 19th-century camera he found in a Paris antique shop. He stocked up on the glass plates and pungent potions needed for the wet-collodion process, a technique invented in 1851. Doing so, Mr. van Houtryve conjures what the West may have looked like in the Mexican era…”

    — Simon Romero in The New York Times

     

    “His portraits are carefully researched and historically relevant – all of his subjects are descendants of the area’s original Mexican inhabitants. Quiet and dignified, the images pay tribute to Nadar, whose powerful portraits Van Houtryve admires. He focuses on his subjects’ eyes, conveying a sense of their interior life. He presents the work in diptychs that juxtapose portraits with romantic landscapes, reflecting an intimate connection between humans and nature…”

    — Elisabeth Biondi in Photograph Magazine

     

    “…Photographing the descendants of families who live on the once-Mexican territory, Van Houtryve proves their existence within a dominant narrative that often ignores them. Using traditional nineteenth century photographic techniques, like wet plate glass negatives, the artist taps into the aesthetic of the 1800s…”

    — Zachary Small in Hyperallergic

     

    About the gallery

    The baudoin lebon gallery was founded in 1976 in Paris. It is a leading dealer of Modern and Contemporary Art, including painting, sculpture and the most significant international photography. The gallery supports radically different works with an enlightened eclecticism.

     

    Download the exhibition invitation PDF.

    More info.


  • Group show

    Lines and Lineage in New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine

    Six gelatin silver prints from my Lines and Lineage series are on display in the group exhibition, Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls, in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City from February 14 to June 30, 2019.

    The Cathedral Church of
    Saint John the Divine
    1047 Amsterdam Avenue
    at 112th Street
    New York, NY 10025
    USA

     

    About Lines and Lineage

    We often forget that the boundary between Mexico and the United States was not always where it is today. It used to be 1100 kilometers farther north, following what is now the state line between Oregon and California and running east to Wyoming before zagging southeast to Louisiana. Originally home to the indigenous peoples of the region, much of this land was Spanish and then Mexican territory for centuries before becoming what we now think of as the American West.

    Spanish colonists and missionaries settled here beginning in 1598. In 1821, Mexico won independence from Spain, and by the middle of the century, it was in some ways far more advanced than its neighbor to the northeast. It abolished slavery shortly after independence; black Mexicans soon gained prominent positions, including the governorship of California. Indigenous people were given the right to vote. All this came to an end in 1848, when the United States attacked Mexico, seized half its land, and created the border that we know today.

    At the time, the war on Mexico was emphatically opposed by prominent Americans, including Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams. Henry David Thoreau penned his groundbreaking essay on Civil Disobedience after his arrest for nonpayment of taxes, an act of defiance of what he called an “unjust” war that aimed to “expand the slave territory.”

    Mexican administration was cut short before photographic technology, revealed in Paris in 1839, arrived in the region. The well-known visual record of the American West—dominated by photos of cowboys and white settlers, the Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroads—was created after 1848. Images from the Mexican era, on the other hand, were never fixed in our memory. Using glass plates and a nineteenth-century camera to photograph landscapes along the original border and create portraits of descendants of early inhabitants, this project imagines what that history might look like. It questions the role that photographs—both present and missing—have played in shaping the identity of the West.

     

    About Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls

    The  group show focuses on the right to shelter, and beyond that, an exploration of what shelter and sanctuary mean in a world divided by sectarian discord, cultural migration, and ongoing refugee crises. Participating artists include Louise Bourgeois, Alicia Eggert, For Freedoms, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lewis Hine, John Moore, Tomas van Houtryve, and Alisha Wormsley.

    More info.