As Above, So Below opens February 28th at OHWOW and marks the gallery's representation of the Robert Mapplethorpe Estate. The show has been lauded as a 'resurgence' however the classic, sexually subversive imagery of Mapplethorpe was never really forgotten. His ability to cast light and dark in an image or subject - photographically and figuratively - is forever embedded in the art psyche. Thus, decreeing Mapplethorpe as one of the most important photographer's of the 20th century.
Comprised of 50 'lesser known' images, the OHWOW exhibition invites viewers to go beyond the controversy and the cult of cool that envelops his iconic status, to view his photographs from a different perspective:
"The “as above, so below” concept posits humankind as a midpoint of the cosmos. . . . Considered from this perspective, Robert Mapplethorpe’s work and his artistic motivations suggest that he employed a particular method; the symmetry and compositions achieve a sort of proportional perfection, as outlined by the golden ratio theory, but they also translate unification between ideologically opposing subjects. Attempting to persuade that a shared aesthetic exists between photographs of what some consider obscene and what most agree to be beautiful – that they both embody visual perfection – may only resonate to others as a viable argument if geometry is considered."
Viewing Mapplethorpe's work through a Hermetic lens, as this exhibition suggests, means decoding the intent and relationship between the photographer and his varying subjects. Therefore, a seemingly candid image of a child, the study of flora and portraiture of the leather clad becomes about recognizing his consistent mastery of visual balance.
OHWOW Gallery, 937 N. La Cienega, LA, CA