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Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Lori Grinker: Distant Relations, an exhibition of 19 intimate color photographs. Taken in Lithuania (2002), South Africa (2005), Ukraine (2008), and the US (2011), the works create an impressionistic map of her family’s migration since its dispersal in the late 1800s from Western Lithuania. The exhibition will run from September 7 through October 15, 2011 at The Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, Suite 704. The opening reception for the artist will be held on September 13 from 6 to 8pm. Gallery hours are 11am-6pm, Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment.

Using medium format color film, Grinker chronicles her family’s diaspora with landscapes, portraiture, and interiors. Concentrating more on particular environments than people and practices, her landscapes and interiors focus on the atmosphere of the place. These fragmentary images stir the viewer’s memory and emotions and trigger wonder about our journey in life. Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, Lori’s cousin and a professor of Anthropology at The George Washington University, calls these carefully composed images “an absent presence,” and George Slade, former curator at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University speaks about them “constructing moments in which absence is a salient property and memory seems to be in the process of taking hold.” Grinker embeds philosophical questions within quotidian events, endowing personal stories with broader meanings of other peoples’ cultural identity, geographic belonging and life-world rootedness. The present show is only the first chapter of Grinker’s search. Future work will take place in Argentina, Israel, the United Kingdom and Germany, reconnecting the family and forging links between past and present. 

Lori Grinker began her career while a student at Parsons School of Design, documenting the rise of a thirteen-year old future heavyweight championship boxer, Mike Tyson. She joined Contact Press Images in 1988. Author of two books, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (JPS, 1989 - 6 editions) and AFTERWAR; Veterans from a World in Conflict (de-MO, 2005), a fifteen-year project documenting the physical and psychological wounds of frontline war veterans in the last century. The latter garnered international awards and grants, including a Hasselblad Foundation grant; the Ernst Haas award; a New York Foundation for the Arts grant; Project Competition, Center, Santa Fe, and a W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Fellowship. Her photographs have been featured in major magazines around the world, and are held in many collections including the International Center of Photography, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Jewish Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam; San Francisco MOMA.