When looking at a piece of artwork, it’s common to focus on the textures, colors and subject matter rather than the actual hand that created the work. Sotheby’s new sale of limited-edition photographic works by Aubrey Mayer captures six contemporary artists at work in their studios, offering an intimate, behind-the-scenes window into the artistic process of Ed Ruscha, Raymond Pettibon, Jonas Wood, Jacqueline Humphries and Mark Grotjahn. The works included in “Aubrey Mayer: New Portraits” have never been exhibited or offered for sale until now.
Printed on aluminum, paper, linen and occasionally as monographs, the photographs reveal each artist’s personal space and way of working. Mayer’s multi-image compositions, which he refers to as “contact sheets,” elevate the traditional portrait format and document the stages of creation and the artist’s movements. In these remarkable pieces, Mayer captures Wood painting a large canvas that is propped up on colorful crates and Humphries painting an abstract black-and-white painting from a short step ladder.
“I’ve been taking photographic portraits of other artists for the last 15 years, and as my body of work has expanded, I’ve begun to see it evolve as a double portrait and my archive as source material to explore my own interests as an artist,” said Mayer. “Along those lines, the contact sheet format became a natural evolution of the portraits, as I started to take more photographs, with the feeling that I didn’t want to miss a moment in the artist’s process. To my surprise, they took on a role and narrative of their own, and have become Warholian like—in that the images are repeated over and over again.”
The works can be purchased now on Sotheby’s website.