Just a few steps from NYC’s chaotic Canal street, up a flight of stairs and through a rather classy tattoo parlor, lies a room with something unexpected inside. Hanging on the walls of this battleship gray room are photos of watches. Well, not just photos of watches, rather well crafted digital collages and macro shots of pieces ranging from the highest end luxury to Seikos you might have in your collection right now. The space is the Sacred Gallery and the photos are the Watch Portraits of Atom Moore (@atommoore), photographer at large as well as with our friends over at analog/shift and Redbar.
The pieces in the show are broken into two categories: mashups and macros. Coming in at 30″ x 30″, the mashups are a playful experiments with the images of iconic vintage watches. Some consist of a single watch with a manipulated component, others consists of several watches spliced together for near psychedelic effects, and a few take iconic pieces of a watch and arrange them in patterns and layouts to create something altogether abstract. For those who enter the show know what watches they are looking at, it’s a fun departure from the often sterile depictions of watches we are used to. For those who enter not knowing about watches, it’s fun and visually sumptuous pop art.
Of the lot, two really stood out to me. The first was a simple straight-on photograph of a vintage military watch (turned out to be an Omega 6B Fat Arrow). Instead of the normal dial, however, the numbers had been cleared off and an array of seemingly randomly placed “broad arrows” filled the space. The hands were still in tact, hovering over as though this were the real dial. It’s almost a believable piece, as though some artist took the original watch and hand painted it, taking a military symbol and using it as a decorative motif.
The other was a far more abstracted piece, where Moore took the hands and bezels of a variety of Tudor Snowflakes and stripped away the watch form all together. Instead, the elements were rearranged and, scaled and stretched to create a flag-like design. Because of the patinas of the Tudor source pieces, the piece has a beautiful palette of creams, grays and blues. Seeing the Snowflake so disassembled, so far from it original form, lets you appreciate the individual components more.
The other works are smaller, 24″ x 24″ prints of Moore’s macro shots. The watches here are generally newer and representative of the work he has done over the last year at Redbar events and visiting brands and manufacturers. It’s hard not to like a macro shot especially at this scale. Seeing, for example, the crusty aged lume of a Tornek-Rayville minute hand so large you can see grains of cracked lume or the inner workings of an A. Lange & Sohne big enough to push with your hands is amazing.
Open for the month of September, Moore’s show demonstrates how far watch culture has come in the last few years. From the scene in NYC being a smattering of dudes who would get together for drinks and watch chat, to full on gallery shows dedicated to watches, attended by the public and watch enthusiasts alike. It’s signs of an exciting time for watch collectors.
All of the prints are for sale. The 30×30 and 24×24’s are available in limited quantities, while smaller 16×16 and 12×12 prints will be available as open editions, which will be available at analog/shift once the show closes or at the show now. There is also a book of the work for sale, which just became available here.
So, if you’re in NYC be sure to head over to Sacred Gallery, 424 Broadway, Floor 2 for some watch eye candy. The show will be open through Wednesday the 30th, hours are 12 – 7pm.
There will also be a closing party this Saturday, the 27th, 2015 from 7 – 9pm. This will be a fun chance to see the work with a group of like minded watch enthusiasts.