American, b. 1971
Lives and works in San Francisco, California
Using cameras he has designed and built himself, Chiara’s inventive techniques, such as printing directly onto positive color photographic paper, leave behind visible traces of his process. The resulting works of art invite us to contemplate their content while pointing to the chemical aspects of their creation. The subtle streaking, overexposure and sharpening of detail Chiara achieves in his work amplify a sense of disassociation.
Chiara has recently photographed the facades of houses throughout San Francisco’s Excelsior and Sunset districts, producing portraits of mid-century architectural styles distinctive to the neighborhoods. These buildings often fill the image with a monumentality that belies their unusual eccentricities and aged appearances. Rather than wax nostalgic about a bygone era, these photographs draw our attention to fading elements of the landscape and tell a thoughtful, complex story about the changing San Francisco terrain.
John Chiara was an artist-in-residence at Art Factory Budapest, Hungary (2017); Crown Point Press, San Francisco (2016, 2006) and the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts (2010). His work has been widely exhibited in group and solo exhibitions at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; San Francisco City Hall, CA (2013); Museum Bürengasse, Zurich, Switzerland (2013); Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA (2013, 2011); San Jose Museum of Art, CA (2014); and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2015). His work has been collected by institutions that include the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Pilara Foundation Collection, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; and San Jose Museum of Art, CA. His work is the subject of a forthcoming monograph to be published by Aperture.