CLAMP is pleased to announce “Simply Scintillating: A Retrospective,” an exhibition of photographs by Meryl Meisler, the artist’s second solo show with the gallery. Twenty-five signature photographs celebrate fifty years of Meisler’s documentation of the world around her with a refreshingly witty, queerly straightforward, quirky eye.
September 1973: Inspired by the work of Diane Arbus and her father Jack’s family albums, Meisler enrolled in a Photo101 class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where exposure by Prof. Cavalliere Ketchum to Lisette Model, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Brassaï, and the FSA/WPA documentarians ignited the spark that burns brightly to this day.
Employing a snapshot aesthetic on vacations home to Long Island, Meisler photographed the people she knew and loved and the nearby city she both feared and longed to discover. The earliest vintage print included in the exhibition is a 1973 diptych of subway riders en route to Times Square. Upon moving to NYC in 1975, Meisler studied with Lisette Model, continuing to photograph her family and friends representing her LGBTQ and Jewish identities, NYC street life, and nightlife adventures. The photographs, a personal memoir, were kept private until retirement from her three decade career as a NYC public school art teacher. Then, the work emerged like a bat out of hell!
In recent years, Meisler returned to her analog roots, using film cameras, printing in the darkroom, and revisiting self-portraiture and NYC nightlife now. Children at play in burnt-out 1980s Bushwick, Go-Go bar beauties, disco divas, sassy suburbanites, clandestine celebrities, close family, or perfect strangers all possess a common element that caught the artist’s attention: an exuberant expression of joy and simply scintillating human spirit.