December 2 – January 27
Michael Crouser can make you fall in love with photography again (if you’ve ever fallen out of it in the first place). His carefully printed darkroom objects, slow creations, and long-term observations are a welcome break in the present era of quick consumption and overly produced images. Crouser knows just when to hit the pause button to reveal the poetic moment. He takes us to a time where the beautiful black and white print can invoke a sense of wonder.
The exhibition title Sin Tiempo – ‘Without Time’ is apt not only for the subjects Crouser chooses to document, but also for his way of seeing. He seamlessly connects the present moment to the magic of street photography from earlier decades. This exhibit combines three portions of Crouser’s large body of work, including some of his street work, and also two in-depth projects, Los Toros, and Mountain Ranch. Bringing a gentle vision to fairly typically masculine scenes, he observes man and bull, in two different countries and two entirely different cultures. In the comparison, the ranchers appear as hard-working shepherds in contrast to the adversarial dance of the bullfight arena.
Crouser’s projects, and his way of working, feel refreshingly outside of the art hustle. One gets the sense that he would make these photographs, regardless of any acclaim or if anyone ever saw them, out of his own pure fascination. These slices of time are an available element of life, but it takes the patient observation of a tuned-in soul to preserve them as they are in Crouser’s prints.
Michael Crouser was born in 1962 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN) in 1985. He began making photographs in earnest at the age of fourteen,
when he set up a darkroom in his parents’ basement. After college he worked for several years in various Minneapolis commercial photography studios as an assistant, before setting out on his own. While working in the commercial world, Crouser began work on a personal project that would ultimately take fifteen years to complete and which would eventually become his first monograph, Los
Toros (Twin Palms Publishers 2007).
At the 2008 International Photography Awards Los Toros, an exploration of the bullfighting around the world, was awarded first prize in the category of Fine Art Book. Crouser’s second book, Dog Run (Viking Studio 2008), a series on the intense play of dogs in urban dog parks, was equally well-received, and was listed as a top ten photography book of the year by the International Photography Awards, PhotoDistrict News and Communication Arts. Currently, Michael is nine years into work on a new book, called Mountain Ranch, which explores the disappearing world of cattle ranching in the mountains of Colorado. He has exhibited his photographs nationally and internationally, and in January of 2012 Leica Gallery of New York exhibited “Michael Crouser: A Mid-Career Retrospective” which featured four distinct series from twenty-five years of his photography. Crouser has taught at The International Center of Photography in New York, The Minneapolis Photo Center and The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. When not on the road he lives in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.