Clifford Ross: Water | Waves | Wood


July 9 - August 16, 2015




Gallery at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
(Enter on Rockwell Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
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  • Photo: Elizabeth Ferrer

  • Photo: Abigail B. Clark

  • Photo: Chloe Pulido

  • Photo: Chloe Pulido


Clifford Ross: Water | Waves | Wood  was a solo exhibition of monumentally scaled photographs printed on wood by the American photographer and multimedia artist Clifford Ross. The focus of the exhibition was seven images of hurricane waves that Ross originally shot on the East End of Long Island in 2008. To produce these works, Ross waded into the water while tethered to land, capturing dramatic, crashing surf during severe coastal storms, and then reinterpreted the images by printing them on wood—a material that has rarely been used in association with photography. Furthermore, the photographs were printed as large-scale triptychs which insert narrow breaks into images that would otherwise be seamless. The resulting seven pieces capture the power and enormity of nature while also expressing the sublime.

Ross has said that “shooting waves in the middle of a hurricane, may seem crazy, but for me it was the natural outgrowth of my fascination with the power of nature. Making these images was an ecstatic experience. My aim is to deliver to the viewer the same drama that I felt while in the water."

Ross chose to print his photographs on wood as it “confounds the image.” The materiality and physical attributes of the surface of the wood disrupt the image to some degree, forcing the viewer to make a greater effort to see the artwork and in turn, demanding they interpret and experience the image at a heightened level. Ross’ use of wood as a physical support for his photographs and to create “wood prints,” as he calls them, brings him back to his roots as a painter who loves the physicality of that medium. It also pushes the boundaries of his photography further. “I love the fact that real nature is bonded to my image of nature. By using wood as a substrate for my images in this way, I’ve tried to create a new type of portal for the viewer that is no longer a photograph, but a pathway to someplace new,” he explains.

Clifford Ross: Water | Waves | Wood consisted of seven large-scale triptychs printed on custom veneered plywood—four of which will be composed of three 74 x 46 7/8 inch panels, two were composed of three 74 x 37 inch panels, and one was composed of twelve 74 x 37 inch panels.

A variety of public programming accompanied this exhibition.

Clifford Ross was born in New York City in 1952 and studied art and art history at Yale University. He began his artistic career as a painter and sculptor, creating his first photographic works in 1994. This led to Ross’ first major series, Hurricane Waves, beginning in 1996. Ross’ photographs are held in private collections and museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Recent works include a stained glass installation, The Austin Wall (2013), with architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, for the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Austin, Texas, and a multimedia installation with Pan Gongkai, president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou, China in 2014. Ross is a visiting artist at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Interactive Telecommunications Program and serves as Chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.  Ross is the author of The World of Edward Gorey (Abrams) and editor of Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics (Abrams).

Special thanks to generous supporters NBA Cares, and Jennie & Jake Blair.

Lead Sponsor: Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Venue Information:

The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators. 

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