When photographer Jordan Sullivan returned to New York City after spending 12 months in “middle-of-nowhere Texas,” working construction in the land of ranches and wide-open places, the urban setting proffered a profound jolt, placing him on a new path of artistic investigation.
“I wanted to explore our relationship with nature at a time when I was feeling particularly disconnected from it,” Jordan says about curating “The Wild & The Innocent,” the photography exhibition currently at Clic Gallery in Manhattan. So through the unique perspectives of 30 photographers, he investigated this modern dichotomy, which in fact had interested him since his teenage days. The resulting featured images reflect the duality that exists in this rapport. Rather than taking the simplistic solution of damning one side (urbanity) or sanctifying the other (nature), the images express the infinitely nuanced ways in which we experience opposing realities.
Humanity becomes part of nature and nature is represented in a very human way. If Skye Parrott’s picture of a palm tree speaks a lively language, the objectification of Brea Souders‘ sun-burnt back emits a sense of peace. Bodies are juxtaposed with landscapes in a thoughtful way, redefining the conflict rather than marking it; Alexis Gross’ provocative shot of a naked female in a men’s workshop perfectly balances Samantha Casolari’s dreamy, abstract flower prints.
Jordan’s curation is lighthearted, and the juxtaposition of purity and darkness reads as a gentle reminder that the beautiful is beautiful principally because the ugly exists. Further underscoring the exhibition’s theme is the wide array of photographers—both established and up-and-coming—featured, bestowing the show with a true sense of community and exploration. “I selected work that not only fit with the theme but also that I had some sort of emotional or spiritual connection with,” Jordan explained. “I think this show brings together a small group of people whose work exemplifies what’s really great about photography right now.”
The Wild & The Innocent runs through April 15 at Clic Gallery. 255 Centre Street, New York, New York.
Above image by Samantha Casolari.
Left: Image by Brea Souders. Right: Image by Kohey Kanno.