Another Happy Day: Found Photographs Collected By Jonah Samson

Curated by: Helga Pakasaar

The photographs in this exhibition and book, selected from the collection of Canadian artist and art collector Jonah Samson, reveal the passions that drive personal art collections. It is an idiosyncratic assembly of snapshots, studio portraits and press photographs that reflects a dark sense of humour and attraction to the absurd.

Primarily figurative, Samson’s collection reveals his interest in gesture, voyeurism and situations of conflict. Many of the images are unsettling and evoke a sense of tension or immanent violence. Samson attentively scans eBay in search of such images, sifting through a stream of millions of castoffs. He has developed clairvoyance for finding extraordinary moments buried within the prosaic, and is drawn to oddities captured in casual snapshots and in studio portraits that reveal more than their subjects realize or can control. The physical imperfections of the prints are amplified by camera mistakes, chemical imperfections and lens flares.

Taken singly or together, the photographs in Another Happy Day reflect Samson’s fascination with the uncanny mysteries to be found in the commonplace. In the artist words: “the perfect picture for me is one that combines the magical, the disturbing, and the absurd.”

Jonah Samson has been making art, writing and collecting for over a decade and currently lives on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. His writing on photography has been published across North America. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Otherworldy at the Musée Eugène Leroy, Lille, France (2012) and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2011), The Archives of Pleasantville Historical Society at G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle (2011) and Aqua Art Fair, Miami (2010). In the same month as Another Happy Day, Samson presented Our Lady of the Flowers of Evil at Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver, an exhibition of photographs created using original crime scene negatives from the 1950s, and released an artist publication titled Dead Man's Hand, based on early 20th century crime photography and Film Noir.

Events:

Saturday, September 14, 7 PM | Opening reception and book launch, with an introduction by Jonah Samson at 7:30.

 

Gallery Press Release

 

Another Happy Day, Jonah Samson exhibition publication, oop
Another Happy Day, Jonah Samson exhibition publication, oop
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 16.5 x 21.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 16.5 x 21.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
The Flying Concellos, photographer unknown, 1949, silver gelatin print, 19 x 16.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
The Flying Concellos, photographer unknown, 1949, silver gelatin print, 19 x 16.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 10 x 20cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 10 x 20cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 16.5 x 11.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
untitled, photographer unknown, silver gelatin print, 16.5 x 11.5 cm, courtesy Jonah Samson collection
Another Happy Day installation view 4
Another Happy Day installation view 4
Another Happy Day installation view 3
Another Happy Day installation view 3
Another Happy Day installation view 2
Another Happy Day installation view 2
Another Happy Day installation view 1
Another Happy Day installation view 1

Jonah Samson: Another Happy Day

Presentation House Gallery’s exhibition and book, selected from the collection of Canadian artist and art collector Jonah Samson, reveal the passions that drive personal art collections. It is an idiosyncratic assembly of snapshots, studio portraits and press photographs that reflects a dark sense of humour and attraction to the absurd. Primarily figurative, Samson’s collection reveals his interest in gesture, voyeurism and situations of conflict. Many of the images are unsettling and evoke a sense of tension or immanent violence. Samson attentively scans eBay in search of such images, sifting through a stream of millions of castoffs. He finds extraordinary moments buried within the prosaic, and is drawn to oddities captured in casual snapshots and in studio portraits that reveal more than their subjects realize or can control. The physical imperfections of the prints are amplified by camera mistakes, chemical imperfections and lens flares. Taken singly or together, the photographs in Another Happy Day reflect Samson’s fascination with the uncanny mysteries to be found in the commonplace. In the artist words: “the perfect picture for me is one that combines the magical, the disturbing, and the absurd.” Jonah Samson has been making art, writing and collecting for over a decade and currently lives on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Selected as the Top 12 Books at the New York Art Bookfair by New Yorker Magazine.

Selected as Book of the Week on PhotoEye: A Pick by Michael Ikoff of Daylight Magazine, April 2014

Out of Print

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