Daniel Aubry studied history in college and worked as a field archeologist in Peru. It is this interest in the past which informs his fine art photography. “ I consider myself a documentarian “. Aubry claims. “ Time and again I have focused my camera on subjects which fascinated me because of their evanescence. Billboards are by their very nature ephemeral. Here today, gone tomorrow. Which is true of everything and everybody, I suppose. But a Rembrandt self portrait has a better chance at survival than a Calvin Klein underwear ad on the side of a building. Which is why I shoot the latter rather than the former. Rembrandt can look after himself.”
WINDOWS ( 1986 ) Foster Goldstrom Gallery, NY , Daniel Aubry’s most successful show to date, documented surrealistic store front windows, again mostly in New York City , where Aubry lives. The show subsequently traveled to the the Tavelli Gallery in Aspen Colorado and to the Quo Quo gallery in Hong Kong.
Previous Aubry shows such as REQUIEM FOR A CERTAIN MADRID followed similar themes. REQUIEM, shown at the American Cultural Center in Madrid , documented store front signs backpainted on glass. A craft and a tradition which has by now largely been lost.
FURTHER EAST ( 1996 The Sanctuary Gallery , Soho ) dealt with Aubry’s nostalgia for a romanticized “ Far East “ that only ever existed in his mind. By using exotic filters and techniques, his images of India, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia became wholly atemporal- literally outside of the time stream .
A total departure from Daniel Aubry’s obsession with documenting ephemera was PROJECTIONS ( 2000 ), again at the Goldstrom gallery in Soho, NY. This critically acclaimed show consisted entirely of projections on the human body. BURGER QUEEN was an image of a naked three hundred pound lady on whom Aubry projected cheeseburgers! A literal interpretation of the old saying: “ You are what you eat “! In a “ bow “ to Madonna , Aubry projected hundred dollar bills onto a nude model and called it “ Material Girl “. Another nude model sported a “ bar code “ bustier.
BILLBOARDS 1980-2011 , Daniel Aubry’s current show, is a return to his earlier concerns. This exhibit has been thirty years in the making. Interestingly, a thin slice of the Barclay’s cigarette ad from 1980 which is on the invitation for the show, can still be glimpsed on 8th Avenue in New York, behind the building which now largely obscures it.
Most billboards aren’t so lucky. After a month or so they get painted over or replaced. A major frustration for Aubry was spotting a great billboard, and returning a few days later to photograph it, only to discover that it had already been obliterated or covered over with another image. Inevitably, one not as great!