Alone Together: Critical Mass 2023 Top 50

Colorado Photographic Arts Center
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© Francesca Mills | Last Day of Summer

Is alone-ness essential to the practice of making photographs? Curator Daniel Boetker-Smith explores the Top 50 Critical Mass finalists' relationship to solitude in a new exhibition at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.

Opening February 24th at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center in Denver, Alone Together highlights 50 images by the Top 50 finalists of the 2023 Critical Mass international photography competition.

Curator Daniel Boetker-Smith of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Photography was tasked with selecting one image from each of the Top 50 finalists' portfolios to exhibit. While subjects and styles vary, he identified a common theme of “alone-ness” – not to be confused with loneliness, he said.

“For most photographers, the act of making an image, the moment itself, is one of ‘happy solitude’ (to borrow from Raymond Depardon). Photography gives us the opportunity to embrace alone-ness, in that moment a split second of silence, a decision, an intake of breath and the release of the shutter. Simultaneously photographs always exist in a state of flux, they do not exist in isolation, they oscillate through space and time being read, re-read and interpreted. The photographer, the subject, and the photograph itself are all alone together or somewhere in-between.

Each photograph in this exhibition provides space for you to ponder, to observe and to be alone in your thoughts. In doing so I ask you to occupy a spot in front of each image, pause, and consider the space each image provides, what does it mean to you? Where does your mind go when you consider the alone-ness presented here?”

Organized by Photolucida, Critical Mass invites photographers at any level, from anywhere in the world, to submit a portfolio of 10 images. Thousands of artists submit their best work. From this massive pool of entries, 200 portfolios are selected – and then voted on by 200 leading curators, gallerists, publishers, and other art-world superstars who select the Top 50.

“For years I’ve wanted to bring Critical Mass to Denver,” said Samantha Johnston, CPAC Executive Director & Curator who also served as one of the 2023 Critical Mass jurors. The show is special for two reasons, she says.

“First, the photography is world-class. Every artist in the Critical Mass Top 50 deserves a solo exhibition,” she said. “Second, the Critical Mass exhibition is an opportunity to see – up close and in person – a selection of photographs that 200 influential art-world professionals think is worth exhibiting, publishing, and collecting.”

The public is invited to a free Opening Reception on Saturday, February 24 at 5 pm, and the show will be on view through April 13, 2024.

Colorado Photographic Arts Center
February 23, 2024
April 13, 2024
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