Rose A. or Jay R. Deutsch



Maggie Steber and Carlos Rene Perez collaborate in a combined exhibit, Presence and Absence.

Leica Gallery is pleased to present a dual exhibition by Maggie Steber and Carlos René Perez, entitled Presence and Absence.  The personal nature of both presentations acts as a common bond and theme and deals with issues of isolation. A secondary bond is that until the mid-nineties the two photographers had lived together for over two decades and their continuing friendship creates a system of support and influence.

MAGGIE STEBER: Maggie Steber’s exhibit, Rite of Passage, is an intimate recording of her mother’s voyage through the melancholy of dementia.  An only child of an only parent, Steber oversaw her mother’s care for nine years.  She used photography as a therapeutic tool to survive this longest goodbye. The fact that Steber never intended to share the work publicly makes the intimacy far more pronounced.

It was the surprise ending that changed her mind about exhibiting the work: Steber discovered the real Madje, not someone defined by the role of mother.  As the walls between mother and daughter fell away, revealing unseen aspects of Madje’s character, a gift appeared: the gift of a last chance to love.

“To see who someone really is and was, and to be left with a heightened sense of appreciation can change one’s whole life experience,” Steber observes.  “This was something I had not expected and is a remarkable legacy, the most important legacy left to me by my mother.”

This work, accompanied by her own narration, appears in a multimedia film produced by Mediastorm entitled Rite of Passage, which premiered at the Galapagos Art Space, in DUMBO, Brooklyn in June 2012.

Steber has worked in 63 countries as a freelance magazine photographer. While working as Director of Photography of The Miami Herald, the paper’s photo staff won a Pulitzer and were twice finalists for this coveted award. Her extensive work in Haiti in the 1980s and 1990s was published in an Aperture monograph entitled Dancing on Fire. Steber’s work is included in many private and museum collections as well as the Library of Congress.  She has been a recipient of grants from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the Ernst Haas Foundation and the Knight Foundation.

CARLOS RENÉ PEREZ:  In a remarkable contrast, the diversity of Perez’s work exemplifies the role of the photographer as artist.  During almost 20 years of Leica Gallery’s existence, Perez has been a regular contributor to its calendar.  With this exhibition, An Artist’s Life, he shows a remarkable multiplicity of style, vision and technical control, all along maintaining a truly personal perspective.

His work spans 45 years beginning with traditional street photography but then veering off to fanciful tabletop toy adventures, and on to gilded masterworks inspired by Renaissance illuminations.  In recent years his photographs have been influenced by Edward Hopper's paintings by focusing on the solitary experiences and encounters of individuals in intimate and introspective moments.

In particular Perez’s photographs Hamburgers, 1967 and Military Plaza, 1968 are examples of his early attempts at documenting a sense of existential isolation. The concept reappears in his more recent works like 1904 Newsstand, 2006 and John’s Deli, 2010.   Perez refers to these images as moments of presence and absence. To a greater extent they represent the circular nature of his creative journey.

An Artist’s Life presents a highly diverse and mature vision. “For me,” Perez explains, “the creative odyssey is a cyclical undertaking. Start one place, move on, and start again: The creative circle.”

Carlos René Perez has consistently exhibited his fine art photography over the years in New York and in Texas and his work is in many private collections across the United States.  Commercially he has worked with Associated Press, USA Today and US News & World Report; Pratt Institute and Columbia University; New York Presbyterian and New York University Medical Centers; Bloomberg News; and 20 years covering New York fashion shows.

The exhibit opens Thursday April 18, 2013 and runs through June 1, 2013. Hours for the opening are from 5-8pm. Regular gallery hours are from Tuesday through Friday, 12-6pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.