Roy DeCarava: Light Break and the sound i saw | David Zwirner, New York
September 5 - October 26, 2019
Curated by Sherry Turner DeCarava
The gallery’s first presentation of Roy DeCarava’s work in concurrent exhibitions titled Light Break and the sound i saw shows the artist’s powerful, atmospheric practice both broadly, in his many photographs that “capture a moment of life,” and specifically in an extensive project focused on jazz musicians.
DeCarava was born in New York’s Harlem neighborhood in 1919. He first used a camera to gather images for paintings, but by the mid-1940s, he had switched exclusively to photography. The artist describes having been being drawn to jazz as part of “a kind of total consciousness,” of his daily life in Harlem.
Compiling images he had been taking for more than twenty years, DeCarava designed, wrote, and put together the sound i saw as an artist book in the early 1960s. Unpublished for almost half a century, the project records his photographic exploration of the relationship between the visual and aural through his gaze on legendary musicians Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, among many others.
Image: Roy DeCarava, Curved branch, 1994.