Born in the United States but raised in Brazil, Paul Clemence has cultivated relationships in both countries.
Now he’s organized and curated an exhibition of Brazilian photographers due to open on March 2.
It will feature the work of 20 photographers, with 51 images printed on paper, wood, and brushed aluminum, most produced by the German printing company WhiteWall Lab. The show is slated for a month-long run at the Consulate General of Brazil in New York 225 East 41st Street.
“I said very casually that I’d like to do an exhibit there, because they do cultural and local Brazilian community events in the New York City area,” he says. They got excited and interested.”
The exhibit is Clemence’s first curatorial project. “I see so much work and so many talented artists out there,” he says. “And I’m always making connections about what I see, so it came very natural to me.”
These may be Brazilian photographers but they have connections to other places, including Mexico City, New York, and Miami. Clemence is seeking to connect a number of different areas, places, demographics and regions, all through the eyes of Brazilian photographers.
“Most of them I already had a connection with through an exhibit or online,” he says. “One was on a panel discussion with me, another was on a panel in the Brazilian Center in Mexico, and two were recommended by different sources.”
He didn’t request submissions, but researched the photographers’ work and thought about what appealed to him. “I’d have positive, gut reactions to the work and then it began coming together – I was thinking about what would go well with what,” he says.
He was creating a narrative mentally, and telling the photographers what work he was interested in. “In my mind I saw a thread – it’s visual – like where photographer João Farkas’ work is about carnival costumed subjects looking deadpan at the photographer, with rich colors,” he says. “Then another, Josemias Moreira, photographed some people in a similar way but in black and white – it’s different in color, but the connection is in how they approach the subject matter.”
Another pairing features a photographer from Rio, Luiz Baltar, who creates layers of one image over another in a textured way. “Then there’s another, Júlia Pontés, who captures images of mining disasters in Brazil – hers is very textured too, so there’s definitely a connection there,” he says. “When I’m dealing with curatorial connections, it’s very abstract, but there’s a thread connecting them.”
It helps, of course, that Clemence is a seasoned architectural photographer – in New York, South America, and Europe.
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