Joe Schmelzer: New Photographs / 2004

June 24 - July 24, 2004 Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, June 24 from 5:00 - 8:00 PM

Western Project is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles artist/photographer, Joe Schmelzer. An MFA graduate and current teacher at Cal Arts, Schmelzer catalogues his domestic life with two mates. As a triad, they travel frequently across America - staying in motels in the Northern California woods, cabins in Cape Cod, or in the desert at Joshua Tree. The settings are generic family accommodations, and the images could be anyone’s vacation - but are something more – moments of intense looking by an artist that intimately understands his surroundings and those people around him. Be it a clock on the table, or mate smoking a cigarette, or three redwood trees, the images are lush meditations on the wonder of ordinary life. It is this sense of ultra normalcy that permeates all of Schmelzer’s work. The work defies sweetness or irony by the artist’s immense sense of generosity – the world he is documenting is one of choice, and a continuous journey of feeling. It is these two qualities which separate his work from other contemporary male photographers – Schmelzer points his camera away from drama and exoticism as he is interested in the ecstatic equilibrium of his relationships and his eternal sense of home.