There is always a certain allure inherent in the after dark and its subcultures. Ves Pitts has been documenting aspects of this world for more than 18 years. His lens has traveled the clandestine nocturnal enclaves in New York, New Orleans, London and Paris underworld. Last April 12, 2012 Arte Fuse infiltrated that world with the opening reception for “MEOW” at Christopher Henry Gallery and Jason LeBlond curated this show.
The still photography evoked the primal orgasmic energy of the subversive world inhabited by alluring personalities of burlesque acts, performance artists, erotic and gay subculture. Pitts captures the insouciant attitude and taboo elements of this particular world with an unerring eye towards arresting color and well-calculated composition. He gravitates towards his subjects with unabashed brevity in celebrating their freak flag to the max. Instead of being repelled by the very sexually deviant context of the image, Pitts skillfully weaves you into a mesmerized state of being fascinated and lured with your defenses down.
Along with the collection of still photography, Pitts worked on collaboration with Joe E. Jeffreys for the video projection piece “ALTARS”. The series of video segments populated with various personalities left alone in a room where each subject interacts with their own reflection while preparing themselves to take on their chosen characters. The distilled truths and poignant moments when make up gets caked on or taken off, dressing or undressing, and framing themselves into character is an in depth opportunity of peeking behind the velvet curtain.
There will always be something perverse about the subculture underground world that Pitts has documented with his photographs and that stands as a record of grotesque beauty. There is a reason why glitter, sequins and feather boas get piled on to the hilt. The transcending power of creating your own person and the world you see will be the crux of the fascinating misfit. It is in the process of real acknowledgment of one’s inner freak that it can roar gloriously.
VES PITTS: MEOW / On view: April 12 – May 6, 2012
Gallery Hours: Wed- Sun (11 am-6 pm), Mon & Tue by appointment
Christopher Henry Gallery
127 Elizabeth Street. New York, NY 10013
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan