Emptiness revisited 

"Ginny Taylor Rosner: Hothouse
Indianapolis Art Center
Through Feb. 10

Ginny Taylor Rosner is known for the special attention she pays to abandoned spaces: houses, barns, schools, churches and the like. When Market Square Arena was about to be demolished, for instance, she captured the empty corridors and vacant seats on film as a sort of honoring of our collective memory. Now, years later, she’s still at it, this time turning her viewfinder on to abandoned greenhouses, photographing non-abandoned ones by way of contrast.

As it turns out, the difference between the two isn’t as stark as one might imagine. An empty space, regardless of its function, embodies loneliness in a way only empty spaces can — an idea that seems to be central to Rosner’s interests as an artist. At the same time, she recognizes spaces that are no longer tended to by humans become at once derelict and reclaimed — plants and animals often make a home there.

A series of 10 of Rosner’s photographs encompassing the series Hothouse, now on view at the Indianapolis Art Center in the east corridor gallery space, is at first glance a kind of matter-of-fact examination of greenhouses. But it also offers a metaphysical examination of time through those things that remind us of its transitory nature — much as Rosner’s photographs of other abandoned structures have done. The welcoming, light-filled space of “Schlegel Greenhouses #2, Sprague Road, Indianapolis, IN” feels like an entryway to the greenhouse itself, while “Lanhorst Greenhouse #1, Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN” is also light-filled but devoid of life, overgrown with dead branches, as if the business closed and no one took care to remove the plants.

Rosner takes us inside but maintains a curious outsider’s posture: Even the lighted pictures have a dark, almost lifeless texture, reinforcing the lack of human presence, almost as if even Rosner were not present — just her camera and its lone, cold eye. As Rosner explains, the images are exposed on film (rather than being digital) and were printed in a traditional darkroom with the aid of a color enlarger, adding another element of solitariness as one imagines the artist’s process of developing the images.

Rosner, born in Chicago and living in Indianapolis, has just been awarded the 2007-2008 Stutz Studio Residency — a highly sought-after award for local artists. One imagines the Stutz perhaps becoming her next subject, its long stretches of interior concrete comprising a different sort of lure: its tomblike quiet interrupted two or three times a year by studio open houses.

Also on view at the Art Center, in the main lobby, Kyle Crossland’s landscape-like abstractions on slabs of clay are almost Zen-like in their simplicity. All exhibitions are on view daily through Feb. 10. Free admission. Call 317-255-2464 or visit www.indplsartcenter.org for information.


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