Arthur Tress – Kent on Slide, N.Y. (1979)

As much as I like Tumblr, I think spending a lot of time on here ends up being a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, it’s reasonably on-point when it comes to keeping abreast of new work and new artists making work in lens based visual arts.

Unfortunately, the volume is such that I can’t always properly follow up on various makers.  I mean I have around two dozen names of people whose work resonated with me strongly after only a glance.

Tress’ name is on one of those post-its. I remember a while back Getty released a spate of images Tress made during the 60s where he staged children’s nightmares for his camera.

I was extremely impressed with several of the photss but ultimately haven’t made time to return to his work because it didn’t seem to fit the purview of this project. I’m now seeing my mistake.

Some of his more surrealist inflected work is nothing short of stunning. He takes a Minkkinen-esque approach as far as mood and tone but his images seem more grounded in an even-handed incisively observed eroticism. In other words, the work adopts the structure and form of a glimpse from a dream but it retains the same fluidity that inspires the dreamer to remain unaware that they are dreaming.

Lastly, Tress is clearly EXTREMELY familiar with photo history. Were I a photo teacher, I’d assign an essay wherein students could pick between Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Rodchenko or Ed Ruscha and compare/contrast with Tress.

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