About Alan Chimacoff
Architect, photographer and former educator Alan Chimacoff has a long history of expertise in all three of these subjects. In addition to leading his own architecture practice in the town of Princeton, NJ and designing numerous structures for a variety of academic facilities, he also has many years of experience lecturing as a professor of architecture at Princeton University. In addition, Chimacoff has built up a prolific resume of awards, competitions and exhibitions for his photographic work from a wide variety of institutions and organizations.
Chimacoff seeks abstraction in the constructed, natural and ordinary, exploring explicit geometries as well as the faceted, ambiguous spatial characteristics of cubism, an avante-garde artistic movement which confounds the obvious in a push toward the non-objective. His perspective as a photographer is shaped by his architectural knowledge of real and illusory space as well as his love of materials.
Chimacoff’s photos in this exhibition are a selection from a continuing series on cities of large and small. The city, which both builds on and destroys itself, is one of humankind’s greatest creations, as a monumental record of humanity’s tumultuous history and the stage on which the theater of urban life plays out. Chimacoff’s photos, though, are distinctly devoid of human presence: and without people, the background becomes the foreground. However, the pictures reveal that an absence of people is not an absence of humanity, as they emphasize that the city’s size, complexity and density offer endless opportunity for discovery and surprise – ultimately confirming humanity’s presence.
Seeking abstraction in the constructed, Chimacoff’s photographs explore explicit geometries as well as the fated, ambiguous spatial characteristics of cubism — confounding the obvious in a push toward the non-objective. He photographs the city as an architect, fascinated by the physical city, as he sees the city as one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments. In his eyes, a city’s walls tell stories; a city has layers of truths and secrets that speak to age and transformation.
Artist Personal Website: www.chimacoff.com
My photographic perspective is shaped by my knowledge, as an architect, of real and illusory space, a love of materials and the making of things, and an abiding interest in an inherent contradiction between clarity and ambiguity. Seeking abstraction in the constructed, natural and ordinary, my photographs explore the explicit geometries as well as the faceted, ambiguous spatial characteristics of cubism—often confounding the obvious in seeking the non- objective. I am enchanted by the abstractions of Aaron Siskind, Paul Strand, and Minor White—how their photographs combine strong geometric constructions with lyrical moments of reality.
“The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world “picturesque.” —Susan Sontag, On Photography, pg. 55
I photograph the city as an architect, fascinated by the physical city itself—and because the city is one of humankind’s greatest accomplishments. A city’s walls tell its stories—of its values and styles, politics and economics, and history: conservative…radical…reactionary…avant-garde. The city’s palimpsest exposes its truths and secrets in layers—of age and transformation.
COLLAGE: City explores the city. Collages are assembled to convey aspects or themes of the city, sometimes simple, sometimes complex, with no expectation of a thorough explanation. With greater impact than individual photographs, the collages illustrate the city’s endlessly rich complexity as we experience and understand it—as random collections of large and small details, seen over time.
Influenced by a cinematic sense of time and sequence, the linear compositions are inherently street-like, and the abstract nature of collage offers the freedom to explore flatness, perspective, real, implied and illusory depth—essential components of all two-dimensional visual explorations.
Excluding people, whose presence commandeers center stage, background becomes foreground; stage set becomes performer. The idiosyncratic beauty and mess of the city are the principal subjects, focusing attention on the extraordinary things people have made and, sadly, too often left to decay.
The title is indebted to the seminal book, “Collage City,” (by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter) that, with great complexity, revealed simple truths about the essential nature of cities—as idiosyncratic, a- conceptual assemblages of ideas, policies, politics, spaces and buildings.
- Ithaca Fence Project. COLLAGE: City; Public Street Exhibition; Ithaca, NY 2019
- Steel Evocations. Anderson Library Gallery; George School; Newtown, PA 2016
- Bi-Coastal. FXFowle Gallery; New York, NY 2016
- Steel Evocations. Morpeth Contemporary Gallery, Hopewell, NJ 2015
- Princeton Underground: 2020, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ, 2014
- JAMuse. Cornell University Johnson Art Museum. Ithaca, NY. 2013
- Tapestries. CO Architects Gallery. Los Angeles, California, 2013
- abstract.hyphen.realities . University of Texas,Arlington Gallery, Dallas, TX, 2012
- abstract.hyphen.realities. FXFowle, Architects Gallery. New York, NY 2010 — 11
Two Person Exhibitions
- UNDERLYING Structure. With photographer Danielle Picard-Sheehan; Art Times Two Gallery; Princeton, NJ 2014
- METALLICA. With sculptor Joel Perlman. Gensler New York, Architects Gallery. New York, NY 2014
Three Person Exhibitions
- SLEEP IS USELESS. With photographers Michael Massaia and Jenny Montgomery; J. Cacciola Gallery; New York NY; 2014
- Preservation Design Partnership. Philadelphia, PA. Architectural Photographs. 2014
- Maclean House at Princeton University. Princeton, NJ. Princeton Buildings. 2014
- Harding Loevner. Bridgewater, NJ. 2013
- Director’s Cut Exhibition; Atlanta Photography Group Gallery; January 2020
- SoHo Gallery 2019 National Competition; Julie Grahame, Juror. 2019
- Sightings; Alfa Art Gallery; New Brunswick, NJ; Juried Exhibition; Andrew Darlow, Juror. 2019
- Revealing the Real: Atlanta Photography Group Gallery; Juried Exhibition; Anna Walker Skillman, Juror. 2016
- Summer Group Show; Twenty-Two Gallery; Philadelphia, PA; 2015
- Firing The Canon; Exhibition on Greek and Roman Classical Art; Cornell University; Ithaca, NY; 2014-15
- CONCEPTS; Anything Goes; Juried Exhibition; Erica Jamison, Juror; Atlanta Photography Group Gallery; Atlanta, GA; 2014
- Expressions of the Natural World; Juried Exhibition; Monmouth Museum; NJ; 2014
- Portfolio Show; Juried Exhibition; Paul Martineau, curator; Atlanta Photography Group Gallery; Atlanta, GA; 2013
- Your Greatest Hits; Juried Exhibition; PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2012
- Windows and Mirrors; Juried Exhibition; PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2012
- Faces, Places, and Spaces; 2012 Summer Exhibition; Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities; Arvada (Denver), Colorado; 2012
- PhotoPlace Gallery Portfolio Competition 2012; Juried Exhibition; PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT. 2012
- PhotoPlace Open Awards 2012; Juried Exhibition; PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; on-line gallery; 2012
- Anna Skillman Selects. Juried Exhibition; Atlanta Photography Group Gallery; Atlanta, GA; 2011
- The Poetry of Shadows; Juried Exhibition; PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2011
- Surreal/Subjective: Photographic Gifts From Alumni; Cornell University Johnson Museum of Art; 2011
- Art in Architecture; International Juried Competition; Center For Contemporary Art; Bedminster, NJ; 2010
- Denver Modernism; National Western Complex; Expo Hall and Hall of Education; Denver CO 2010
- The Architect Within; Michele Mosko Fine Art; Denver CO; 2010
- Silvershotz Atlanta Showcase 2009. Mason Murer Fine Art.; Atlanta GA. 2009
- Cover Photograph: FLATIRON SKY, 2011; The Architecture of Ethics; by Thomas Fisher; Routledge 2019
- Your Greatest hits; Catalog of Juried Exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT 2012
- Illustrative Architectural Photographs for: Fit; An Archit ec t’s Mani festo ; by Robert L. Geddes; Princeton University Press 2012
- Windows and Mirrors; Catalog of Juried Exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2012
- Faces, Places, and Spaces; Catalog of 2012 Summer Exhibition; Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities; Arvada (Denver), Colorado
- Photoplace Open Awards 2012; Catalog of Juried Exhibition; Photoplace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2012
- The Photo Review 2011 Competition Issue: CITY WIRES . March 2012
- Photographer’s Forum Magazine; Best of Photography 2011; Finalist
- Cover Photograph: NEBULA 4, 2009; Ethics in Global Health; by Ruth Macklin; Oxford University Press 2011
- The Poetry of Shadows; Catalog of Juried Exhibition at PhotoPlace Gallery; Middlebury, VT; 2011
- Contract Magazine Interview; November 2010
- Cover Photograph: GRANITE 2008; Studies In American Culture; 33.1 October 2010
- Silvershotz: The International Journal of Fine Art Photography; Atlanta Showcase 2009. Volume 6 Edition 3; 2010
- Cornell University Johnson Museum of Art
- Princeton University Collections
- PNC Bank Corporate Collection
- Private Collections
Competitions & Awards
- The Photo Review 2015 Competition; Online Exhibition
- Photographer’s Forum Magazine; 35th Annual Spring Photography Contest 2015; Finalist
- IPA International Photography Awards 2014; 3rd Place; Architecture—City Scapes
- The Photo Review 2014 Competition; Online Exhibition
- Epson International Pano Awards 2013; Five Bronze Awards
- Photographer’s Forum Magazine; 33rd Annual Spring Photography Contest 2013; Finalist
- The Photo Review 2011 International Competition. Selected .
- Photographer’s Forum Magazine; 31st Annual Spring Photography Contest 2011; Finalist
- Epson International Pano Awards 2011 —Built Environment. Two Bronze Awards
- Epson International Pano Awards 2010 —Built Environment – Bronze Award & Nature – Bronze Award
Cornell University, Bachelor of Architecture
Harvard University, Master of Architecture