Judy Dater: Portraits of Women, 1964–2004
November 19th, 2004 through January 22nd, 2005
Opening Reception: Friday, November 19th, 7-9 pm

Michael Dawson Gallery
535 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90004
(323) 469-2186, FAX (323) 469-9553
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Judy Dater, Twinka Thiebaud, 1970

Michael Dawson Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Judy Dater. This display of vintage prints traces Dater’s long-term investigation of the portraiture of women, including herself. Inspired by such masters of the form as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham,   and August Sander, Dater was drawn to portraiture early in her career, and has continued to explore the power of the photographic portrait. She is fascinated by the capacity of the medium to achieve what photographic historian James Enyeart has described as the “realm of psychological characterization”. Dater says :“People tend to reveal themselves to the camera and express something about themselves, perhaps even something hidden from themselves.”

Included in the exhibition are a number of images shown at Dater’s 1972 solo exhibition at  the Witkin Gallery in New York. These pictures of women, taken between 1969 and 1972, articulate  a profound sense of emotional energy, sexual tension, and assertiveness emblematic of the era. Early in her career , Dater understood that portraiture could  not be primarily concerned  with the projections of the photographer. Instead , the manifest presence of the photographed woman  is channeled from subject to photographer and thus to the viewer.

Dater’s concern with the difficulties of representation led to a sustained project of self-portraiture between 1980 and 1983. During numerous trips to the desert regions of the southwestern United States, close to the country’s border, Dater explored the boundaries  of her form. The portraits that emerged, grounded in landscape, evoke ritualistic performances and earthworks, and led to Dater’s sparse and experimental approach to photography in the late 1980s and 1990s.

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