BETH SCHIFFER ARTISTS + CLIENTS
The spontaneity of the Abstract Expressionists, culminating in the emotional intensity that defined their movement, is epitomized in the work of Scott Alger. Alger’s photographic process, a beautiful performance piece in itself, relies on chance and impulse. Subjects are positioned by Alger and then, action: the lights flash, twist and turn as he dances around the posing figures, lights in hand. This intricate caper may last up to fifteen minutes depending on the intended size of the piece. It is not until the rolls of film are processed that their contents are revealed. Through this method, Alger is able to connect three-dimensional space and its contents, using immaterial light and chance.
Scott Alger’s most recent series of works, Manhattan Trendsetters: Supermodels, Musicians and Artists (Summer 2009), draws from the canvases of 18th century France and the decorative arts of turn of the 20th century Russia. The grandeur, elegance and luxury of the Rococo stance, prominent in such famous works as Francois Boucher’s Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s The Death of Hyacinth, inspired the figural composition for Alger’s piece “Kabala Assistants.” Alger injects this dramatic Rococoesque arrangement of figures with the lights of modernity; the grunge of youth and beauty; and the symbols of the supernatural, appearing mid-air as if floating down from the third dimension. In this photo, he connects the past and present with the speed of light.
In a similar vein, Alger’s piece “Faberge Opera” draws on the plush decorative arts of the Russian Tsars. Featuring a young New York-based Opera starlet and three Russian strippers, Alger successfully merges and juxtaposes the concepts of a gritty modern reality and an antiquated regal dreamland.
While the condensation of spans of time and space into a single modern image has remained a vital component of Alger’s work since he first began creating his mesmerizing photos, the period of focus continues to change. In his Summer 2009 collection, Manhattan Trendsetters, Scott Alger merges the trendoids of yesteryear with the fashionable of now using a mere light bulb.