Stephen Wilkes: A Witness to Change at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, NYC




Stephen Wilkes, Coey Island Boardwalk, Day to Night, 2011. Image courtesy the artist

Bryce Wolkowitz will open its doors to the third solo exhibition of photographs by Stephen Wilkes in his continuation of his global photographic project, Day to Night. From capturing cities and natural parks to wildlife and endangered species, it has become the artist’s mission in recent years to extend a heightened and humane awareness of global climate change, particularly its effects on species beyond our own.

Stephen Wilkes, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Day to Night, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist

The Project visualizes an entire day in one image, with Wilkes photographing from a fixed perspective from dawn until night ~ capturing myriad moments in extraordinary locations around the world. While the earth rotates on its axis, Wilkes’ camera absorbs the changes in light and color, exploring the space-time continuum within astonishing two-dimensional still photographs.

Stephen Wilkes, Central Park Snow, NYC, Day to Night, 2010. Image courtesy of the artist

The aestheticized historical documents that began in New York ten years ago have led Wilkes further afield, taking his practice literally out into the world as his focus has shifted from fast-paced cityscapes to the rapidly changing natural world. This recently took him as far away as to Iceland, Africa and the wilds of Bella Coola, British Columbia, where climate change has left the rivers hotter and drier, leading to fewer fish for grizzly bears to feed on. Wilkes was recently in Greenland where he worked to capture the historic glacier melt for his newest Day to Night photograph.

The Day to Night series began as an expression of a lifelong love affair with New York City. Early photographs from the series are a visual celebration of iconic locations, like Coney Island, but soon became something of an historical document as New York continued its furious and perpetual metamorphosis. This capturing of a moment of a symbolic city in flux connects Wilkes with the advent of photography and the heroic artist-inventors of the mid-19th century.

Stephen Wilkes, Grizzly Bears, Bella Coda, British Columbia, Canada, Day to Night, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist

“As technology evolves along with photography, says Wilkes, photographs not only communicate a deeper meaning of time and memory, but they compose a new narrative of untold stories, creating a timeless window into our world.”

The works in Day to Night exemplify understanding through narrative imagery, and also: the interconnectivity of everything. As past and present merge into each photograph, Wilkes questions the future of our environment, both urban and natural.

Stephen Wilkes, Lesser Flamingos, Lake Bogoria, Kenya, Africa, Day to Night, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist

Since opening his studio in New York City in 1983, photographer Stephen Wilkes has built an unprecedented body of work and a reputation as one of America’s most iconic photographers, widely recognized for his fine art, editorial and commercial work.

He is also the director of the new documentary, Jay Myself at the Film Forum, documenting Jay Maisel’s move out of the historic 190 Bowery (Germania Bank Building in Soho)  ~ and on view through August, 2019.

Stephen Wilkes, Lesser Flamingos, Lake Bogoria, Kenya, Africa, Day to Night, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist

His work is included in the collections of the George Eastman Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Jewish Museum of NY, Library of Congress, Museum of the City of New York, 9/11 Memorial Museum and many more. His editorial work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Time, Fortune, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated among others. Wilkes awards and honors include the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography and TIME Magazine Top 10 Photographs of 2012, Sony World Photography Professional Award 2012, Adobe Breakthrough Photography Award 2012, Prix Pictet, Consumption 2014.

Stephen Wilkes: A Witness to Change will be on view from September 12 to October 26, 2019 at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 505 West 24th Street, NYC. The exhibition will coincide with the publication of Day To Night as a monograph by TASCHEN.

View a few images from Stephen Wilkes second solo exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in 2017.