The agenda is quiet in Okay Mountain's summer group show 'Active Disappearance,' with four photographers focusing their lenses on differing subjects but all recording change
Reviewed by Salvador Castillo, Fri., July 28, 2006
Okay Mountain, through July 29
Four large photographs by Adam Schreiber hang on one wall. The first looks like splatters of a milky substance on a glass surface with a dark background. The next features a cream-colored control panel sitting on a similarly hued surface. The third image echoes the first: A pair of shoes seems to float above black flooring with blips of white receding in an even pattern. The final image consists of a group of silicon wafers lying at the end of a machine that can be confused with a metal detector.
The back wall features six photos from Anna Krachey. Three focus on landscape in which the real estate either is developing or has been abandoned midconstruction. The other three suggest some unknown narrative as they include female figures in snippets of differing scenarios. Andy Mattern has four large photos, each one capturing a nighttime portrait of a lonely building. The lights are central and suggest an interior glow. In a niche created by the movable wall hang the works of Bryan De La Garza. Numerous Polaroid photos flank the projection of a video. Both mediums have a similar appearance. They are gritty and colorless like documentaries. They have immediacy to their image but also capture a moment in a reminiscent gaze.
The agenda is quiet in this summer group show. The portraiture and the landscape are easily recognizable, but just beneath the surface lies the title of the exhibition, "Active Disappearance." In Schreiber's work, the focus of the camera pops from the picture plane in a 3-D optical trick. The main constellation of splatters, the control panel, the shoes, and the wafers appear to hover just slightly over their backgrounds. Krachey points her camera at scenes devoid of explicit action. The elements of construction reveal periods of transition. Mattern captures the personality of a location during the most inconspicuous time. At night, with its lighting and the absence of activity, the building's personality is illuminated. De La Garza provides snapshots of random people in unglamorous situations. They present authentic, very real portraits but also elevate these common, maybe lowly moments into a historical record.
The four artists focus their attention onto differing subject matter, but they all present change. Obsolete technology, encroachment, real estate development, and individual histories all look back at a moment that is passing. It's not nostalgic, but matter-of-fact. A memory that fades is a memory forgotten. Frozen in time, the memory sits silently on the surface.