Zeke Berman has been making singular, studio-based photographs since the late 1970's, when, with his camera, he began to depict his sculptures. The formal range of his work and his inventive use of materials is varied, original and idiosyncratic. His photos reflect a long-standing interest in the evolution of visual cognition, the deep mystery of optics and an intersection between sculpture, photography and drawing.
If an artist can be said to possess esthetic values, his would best be described as epistemological. Writing in the New Yorker magazine, Vince Aletti says:
Berman’s meticulously constructed, cleverly confusing photographs echo Cubist collage and anticipate digital manipulation. Using simple materials, he introduces Braque to Jasper Johns in a fun house.
Berman’s work has been collected, exhibited and published widely by museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim, Metropolitan and Whitney Museum. His awards include Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA and McDowell and Yaddo colony fellowships.
Chief curator, Photography Department, Museum of Modern Art, NY 1962 - 1991
Photography’s first still life was a picture of a table set for a simple meal, made by Nicephore Niepce in about 1827 --years before the world even knew there was such a thing as photography. Daguerre made one 1837. Henry Fox Talbot was a little tardier, completing his his first before 1840.
These all seem to me remarkably good and one might think that by now the problem might have been finally solved, or at least exhausted, but is, on the contrary full of life, as demonstrated by the work of Zeke Berman, Joan Fontcumberta, Lee Friedlander, Jan Groover and Abelard Morrel, as well as that of Irving Penn, the old master. The subject of the book.
From the introduction to a book of Irving Penn Still Lifes.