This second Dallas solo exhibition for Jeffrey Silverthorne spans work from the 1970’s to present. The range of black and white and color photographs that will be exhibited represents this artist’s prolific career.
Several series will be represented. His transvestite series was done in the early 1970’s; at the same time Diane Arbus and Peter Hujar were exploring the unseen. He sought the provocative. In the Providence area he found his subjects willing to reveal their private lifestyle and intimate home settings.
The haunting series of the Missing is another part of this show. In the 1980’s, Silverthorne began documenting posted fliers of abducted children and missing adults. But after the World Trade Center tragedy he went to New York to document the new signs of the Missing. It is interesting how loved ones use mostly formal portraits of the missing, rather than candid snapshots. Clearly, the use of photographs in art, family life, and science reveals the huge impact of the photographic medium.
Silverthorne’s new work is rich in color, reminiscent of Rembrandt. The painterly quality of his subjects with dark background conveys the influence of Caravaggio. These images tell a story with frictional subject matter of past and present, undoubtedly rich in psychological references.
Silverthorne states that his work is not to surprise or shock him or the viewer, but simply to see/to witness.1 As stated in the forward essay by Annie Proulx, in Silverthorne’s recent book, Directions for Leaving, “Witnessing can mean involvement and an effort to understand, to grasp the history of what one sees. Silverthorne makes each of us who looks at these photographs a witness with him in the spirit of Goya’s terse words, “I saw it.”1
Sandy Skoglund, Patients and Nurses, 1982