Figure and GroundPhotographs by Richard Renaldi
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Richard Renaldi is a photographer in love with that fleeting moment when a stranger opens his life to him. His trust in the empathic ability of the camera verges on that of his nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century predecessors. Richard Renaldi: Figure and Ground presents portraits and landscapes taken from coast to coast, across the United States, a collective portrait of a diversifying population. Renaldi photographs individuals we might traditionally view as Americans—a Britney Spears look-alike toting a Louis Vuitton bag through a Greyhound bus terminal, a rodeo cowboy with elbows akimbo, standing determinedly against the dirt-filled horizon—but also those we need to more readily consider as part of our identity. A woman in a burqa and Timberland boots is set against the faded geometry of a Newark street; a transgender girl works the counter of an L.A. fast food joint, lit in the sad-glamorous glow of fluorescent light. Renaldi's work melds two classic photographic genres—portrait and straight landscape—into a single descriptive frame, one that speaks as much to a sense of the individuals before the lens as it does to the spaces they inhabit.
Richard Renaldi graduated from New York University with a bachelor of fine arts in photography in 1990. He has been included in numerous group shows, including Strangers: The First International Center of Photography Triennial of Photography and Video, New York, and the traveling exhibition . His work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, in winter 2006.