Austin-based photographers Anna Krachey, Jessica Mallios, and Adam Schreiber are fascinated by the transformations that occur when the visible world passes through the camera’s lens. Capturing an image on film, they believe, is always an uncanny process because the photograph inevitably differs from what the artist perceived at the moment of its making. Using highly manipulable, large-format box cameras and a wide range of architectural, technological, and household subjects, they create images that acknowledge the mysterious slippages, distortions, and blendings of real and unreal inherent in photography. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is pleased to present Perspectives 168: Anna Krachey, Jessica Mallios, and Adam Schreiber, the first museum exhibition for these artists.
Krachey, Mallios, and Schreiber—friends and colleagues who work independently but share interests and approaches—are aware that, because of the instantaneous nature of exposures and the architecture of cameras with origins in Renaissance camera obscuras, all photographs distort appearances as they record light reflected from three-dimensional objects on a flat surface. By employing unusual framing, extreme close-ups, and idiosyncratic points of view, the artists seek to remind us of the artificial, enigmatic nature of photographic images. “We’re more interested in how the medium of photography invents something than how it records something,” says Schreiber. Subtle disturbances of perception and cognition pervade the artists’ work. Likening their images to mirages, Krachey, Mallios, and Schreiber make photographs that evoke heightened or estranged versions of the visible world.
Anna Krachey concentrates on her domestic sphere, making images of oddball objects she purchases on eBay or finds in ignored corners of her house and neighborhood. Creating a homespun Surrealism, Krachey’s work is filled with arresting juxtapositions of places and things that suggest a personal hall of mirrors in which questions about intentionality and accident, play and seriousness, abound.
Jessica Mallios studies collisions of the natural and artificial. She records architectural junctures where simulations of natural forms meet mundane industrial surfaces, and where faux finishes designed to evoke emotional responses collide with cold functionalism. Mallios also stages tabletop experiments that poetically replicate many of the dynamics of the process of making photographic images.
Adam Schreiber draws much of his imagery and inspiration from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, a library and museum dedicated to the humanities. There, he has photographed cultural artifacts ranging from the first known photograph taken in 1826 to a variety of other industrial and historical oddities.
About the Artists
Anna Krachey, born in 1979 in Nashua, New Hampshire, holds a B.S. in studio art from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and an M.F.A. in studio art from The University of Texas at Austin.
Jessica Mallios was born in 1976 in Austin, Texas, and graduated from Pratt Institute, New York, with a B.F.A. in photography and from Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, New York, with an M.F.A. in photography.
Born in Milwaukee in 1976, Adam Schreiber received a B.F.A. from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and an M.F.A. from The University of Texas at Austin. Krachey, Mallios, and Schreiber have participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at galleries and alternative spaces in Texas and the United States. Perspectives 168 is the first in-depth survey of their work, and its accompanying catalogue is their first scholarly publication.