Photographs by Verena Baumann, Vivienne Flesher, Tama Hochbaum, Liz Rideal, Canan Tolon, Roy Tomlinson, and Mark Williams

NO SUBJECT is an online exhibition of photographs by seven artists, selected by Nina Zurier. The title refers to a type of photograph in which image takes precedence over subject (or object). These photographs are documents (as are all photographs), but they are not "documentary" in the sense of recording places, people, or events. These photographs have been chosen for their quality of "image as image", as described by Charlotte Cotton in her excellent book The Photograph as Contemporary Art. Some of them are staged, some are collaged and incorporate drawing, and some are simply beautiful images taken with an iPhone.

Verena Baumann was born in Solothurn, Switzerland in 1964. She began making experimental photographs on her own as a teenager. In her early 20's she studied graphic design in Berne, but her driving interests were in the fine arts. She embarked on a career as a painter for the next 26 years, having her first solo exposition in Olten, Switzerland in 1994, which led to 8 other solo expositions. While in Paris in 2005, Baumann bought a digital camera to document her paintings, and soon found herself photographing on her daily walks. Suddenly her teenage love of experimental photography blossomed.

Vivienne Flesher’s photographs and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Kennedy Center’s JAPAN!. She is currently working on a series of large-scale images for an exhibition that combines painting with photography at Stir Gallery in Shanghai, China.

Tama Hochbaum came to photography from painting, on a road that began with drawing and printmaking. Her first drawing class was with Michael Mazur, at Brandeis University, and she went on to study at Atelier 17 in Paris and Queens College in New York. Many of her recent images are taken by moving the camera while shooting, a method through which she attempts to capture a sense of speed, of motion, and the passage of time. She lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Liz Rideal was inspired by Borromini’s elegant twisting helicoidal staircase at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. Her quest was to experience his balanced, formal spaces and to animate them with drapery, using it to highlight the spatial ambiguities of his architecture, to complete the circle and to stand at the point where the spectator is implied, even invited by him. Borromini’s restrained decoration, unique interpretation of architectural language, and his mathematic logic became the perfect foil for the subtleties of the ephemeral, coloured transparent silks that billow and twist with sublimated sexual energy. The gauze veils and reveals details of his buildings, and tantalisingly implies the human presence, evoking fleeting figures and a variety of emotional states. The chaotic movement of the drapery contrasts with the deliberate grace of Borromini’s details, while the rich colour complements his light spaces. Rideal lives and works in London.

Canan Tolon's recent series Fugues is a series of digitally manipulated prints, where she revisits her earlier paintings.  She uses both meanings of the word “fugue”: a musical composition that denotes a recognizable fragmented structure, and a fugue state which is a disassociation from reality, where a strong impulse to escape triggers the confusion between reality and imagination. Tolon is known for her work with random and premeditated inventive processes inspired by architectural spaces in conflict with natural elements. Her painting technique simulates that of photography, revealing a vision of a problematic world often overlooked. Tolon was born in Istanbul and raised in France. She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Roy Tomlinson has a particular fascination with objects and environments that have accrued the evidence of history over time. His interest lies in the presence and origins of historical residue and their effect on how we respond to a given moment. This is territory he has been navigating in his work as an artist for years. His paintings, as well as his work in other media, are made by layering information. The transparent nature of his working process allows previous layers to be discernible, creating a visual archive of formal, personal, and conceptual decisions. He derives much of his imagery from photographs and films. Recent sources have included photographs of ruins from the World War II bombings in Europe, the periphery of crime scenes photographs, and a burning house appropriated from film footage that has deteriorated with age. Tomlinson earned his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and MFA from UC Berkeley, where he was awarded the Eisner Prize. He is the recipient of a Gottleib Foundation Grant, and his work has been included in many exhibitions, including: Photoo: The Subvention and Subversion of Photography at the Oakland Art Gallery, Surface Tension at the Mills College Art Museum, and Being There at the Oakland Museum. His solo shows in San Francisco include the Stephen Wirtz Gallery, Gallery 16, and the SFMOMA Artists Gallery. Tomlinson taught painting and drawing at the California College of the Arts for twelve years, and now teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland Oregon.

Mark Williams is a painter who also takes photographs. His paintings and drawings are abstract geometric constructions with a refined yet intense sense of composition and color. He uses a limited range of colors—-two or three at most--within a single work, but overall his chromatic range is wide and beautifully bright. The three photographs in No Subject were taken with an iPhone. He lives and works in New York.