"Conspiracy of Vitrines"
Small-scale mixed-media works
Conspiracy of Vitrines examines the reification of an experience,
fragmented from its surroundings, into a complete miniaturized world.
Each artist creates with their work a portal, an aperture through
which one can gain access to it, however limited or controlled the
perspective may be. The images in a way become proof of their own
relevance, in the same way an object in a museum's vitrine takes
on the authoritative quality of evidence.
Lisa Garfield's color photographs are rich collages. Where
and when is irrelevant creating a pastiche of time and place. This
series of settings are a journey inspired by her own compulsive
tendency to wander. Each image presents the possibility of intrigue,
mystery, and conspiracy in an ambiguous moment. These large, grainy
and saturated photographs full of darkness and void, transform familiar
and banal spaces into the tunnels, pathways that will lead to a
place of discovery.
Mary Cahill's color photographs are haunted places. Each
is a story without a subject, forcing the object to take center
stage in humorous yet tragic tableaux. Cahill describes these images
when viewed as a whole, as a "strip mall of experience,"
a destination where the commonplace is reframed into a muted melodrama
of dislocation, longing and aspiration. This visual landscape explores
the presence and hold of the familiar, while also questioning ideas
of convention and social expectation.
Jayme McLellan's hand sewn felt quilts and tapestries overlap
familiar cultural iconography and her own personal symbols of representation.
In simultaneously representing Washington, DC as both Our Nation's
Capital and McLellan's hometown there is a sense of detachment and
nostalgia. She describes this project as "a transformation
of split second to permanence and reality to dreaming" through
two perspectives of a single place.
Mica Scalin's photographic installation represents the convergence
of her preconceived notions and actual experiences as a visitor
in Japan. The Japanese aesthetic is so intentionally evolved and
fully integrated into all aspects of life, that the temptation to
make familiar images based on these ideas is difficult to avoid.
With this installation, she confronts the parallels that align contemporary
cultures and the divergences that keep them from intersecting.
In his essays about small museums of America, Ralph Rugoff writes
on the psychology of display: "you are not required to suspend
your disbelief, you are asked to surrender your comfort of certainty
as well as the idea that history and fiction can be neatly separated."
Whether he is referring to the personal or cultural experience is
irrelevant as all experience is now subject to "the hyper realities
and inflated expectations of entertainment." Working from an
awareness of the ever-shifting nature of perception, the artists
included in Conspiracy of Vitrines are confronting the way
in which this effects an individuals frame of reference. Let these
images serve as a guide the way, as a tourist, you have once used
a map to direct your gaze. For in this time of blurred boundaries
who is not a disoriented traveler?
We are indebted to the writings of art critic Ralph Rugoff frorn
his book Circus Americanus (Verso 1995, London, New York)
on picture for