Sara Greenberger Rafferty: Views from Somewhere

Saturday, Nov 6 – Dec 18, 2021
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1709 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622

DOCUMENT is pleased to present Sara Greenberger Rafferty’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.

In the bootleg stock photos of Lens Light, 2021, women are no longer laughing alone with salad. Instead, a woman rotates a camera lens in one hand like a fidget gadget. The sequential images are fused into slim lengths of colored, translucent glass that encircle the gallery space, enacting a basic animation. Sometimes the object is clearly legible as a lens, with a clear view through the aperture to the other side. Sometimes it’s just a piece of black plastic. Rather than the manicured nails of white women in stock photos, we get something closer to the media used as training data for computer vision, an unmanicured middle-aged hand.

Proportionally, the glass invokes color negative film and the late 20th century’s post-color pre-digital period, channeling 1980s Yashica camera advertisements. Their tints cycle through the hues of the rainbow to cast colored shadows on the wall below. In the solar panel-like grid of Reflection Piece (2021), we might see the dry plates of silver bromides too, but their polished surfaces suggest the black mirror of a fingerprint-smudged phone screen. Stylized shadows on each panel meanwhile suggest the skeuomorphic icons of flat design. They are the neon yellow of tennis balls and hi-vis vests, an indexical color that points as if to say look through my lens. Can you see what I see

This is a spare monologue, not an ensemble production. It is a show about managed expectations and the human scale of a single artist working alone during a pandemic, or a woman reading alone in a room. It’s not trying to overwhelm you. It distills down to a line; a continuous stripe of highlighter against the white gallery walls, like a blank page.

—Rahel Aima


About Sara Greenberger Rafferty

Sara Greenberger Rafferty (b. 1978) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In October 2021, she opened a solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA. 

In 2017, Gloves Off, a solo museum exhibition accompanied with a fully illustrated catalogue opened at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, NY and traveled to the University Art Museum in Albany, NY.

Other solo and two person exhibitions include DOCUMENT, Chicago; JOAN, Los Angeles; the John Young Museum of Art at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa; Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York; kim?, Riga, Latvia; The Kitchen, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; Eli Marsh Gallery at Amherst College, Massachusetts; The Suburban, Illinois; Fine Arts Center Gallery at University of Arkansas; and a commissioned sculpture for the Public Art Fund. 

Rafferty has participated in group exhibitions including Sculpture Milwaukee 2021; the 2020 Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie in Mannheim, DE; the 2014 Whitney Biennial; the Hammer Biennial; the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center in Georgia; Galerie Andreas Huber, Vienna; the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; Gagosian Gallery, New York; and The Jewish Museum, New York, among many others. 

She is included in the collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT; the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Photography at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.