Sunday, November 29, 2009

Romanoke tops Image/Project

The Arlington Arts Center is currently featuring an exhibit entitled Image/Project.  According to the exhibition description, it's "a national survey of photography and video."  Guggenheim Fellow Taryn Simon, represented by Gagosian gallery in New York, selected 17 projects from a list of qualified photographic and video art.  The Arlington Arts Center website explains:
The show reflects the ways in which contemporary artists tend to approach photography and video. Many of the artists presented here use photography as either a means for documenting or presenting cross-disciplinary projects, or as a tool for inquiry into the way we perceive and live in the world.
Arlington Arts Center has hosted fantastic exhibitions of original, creative art. Image/Project, unfortunately, seems to me about as insipid as the above description of it.  Fine art like Sun Xun's Shock of Time -- this show has none of it.

But a trip to the Arlington Arts Center some time before Jan. 16, 2010, would be a worthwhile and enjoyable excursion.  First, play awhile on the play ship.  Then check out Image/Project.  You might enjoy it much more than I did.  Go downstairs and see This is My City / Esta Es Mi Ciudad, an exhibition of photographs by students from Arlington and Suchitoto, El Salvador.  These photographs seem to me to provide a more wide-ranging perspective on the world that do the works in Image/Project.  Most rewarding of all, go upstairs and gaze upon Jill Romanoke's luminous charts.

Jill Romanoke's charts conceptually connect ancient Chinese oracle bones to modern bureaucratic artists such as Hanne Darboven.  Romanoke's charts consist of five piece of paper pressed together.  Each piece of paper Romanoke associates with a different place, and each has a different design.  By stacking the papers, Romanoke makes the designs interact virtually, but also accentuates the physicality of the paper.  All the paper she uses is hand-crafted.  She mentioned that some of her paper includes ground clam shells, while other paper was placed in a snow bank for weeks as part of the process of making it.  Beautifully hung and lit in the Arlington Arts Center, the charts radiate oracularly, but they also insistently, materially trace a specific history.

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This is My City / Esta Es Mi Ciudad, Image/Project, and works by Evan Reed & Jill Romanoke are on exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center from Nov. 20, 2009 to Jan. 16, 2010.  As always, admission is free.

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