Since Jack and Joan Green of the Photography Gallery invited two young artists — soon to be graduates — to run the space and make a go of it recently, the gallery has afforded the opportunity for more experimental work. Recent works by J. Andrew Salyer, Laura Titzer and Langue in The Americans Are Coming are surprising and at the same time predictable expressions of what it means to make art in a media-saturated culture while nodding to the traditions of academically taught, visual expression, and its contemporary multiplicity of mediums. The exhibition is small, as the Photography Gallery space dictates; but much is attempted in the display of installations, videos and framed photographs, all conceptual in nature.  The artist Langue offers the installations. The first, “The barrier, the habit, the silence” includes a series of found notes affixed to the wall at eye level, faded scraps of paper with seemingly inconsequential writing — artifacts, you might say, of personal Americana. Below the wall display, two cans are suspended but rest on the floor pulled taut by a string; the sound of writing emanates from one while the sound of erasing comes from the other. It’s communication at its most primitive, perhaps, a feeble attempt or a noble one to communicate through a child’s toy. We write, we erase; or we write, and time erases what we write, renders it meaningless as a discarded grocery list. Or maybe what we say is never truly heard. Langue’s “Civ.” also explores the past as medium. A ceiling-high grid of vintage photographs is tacked to the wall, each stuck through with clusters of red-balled map pins concealing the faces in each photograph. This, too, can be viewed as a reflection of memory, the mutability of the past.  Laura Titzer’s video, “Plastic Soldier,” depicts a sequence of film cuts in which a soldier is brutally killed, interspersed with the occasional cut of a plastic toy soldier. The banality of violence, an uncensored product of our media culture, is explored here. J. Andrew Salyer’s video, “1-2-3, 1-2-3 (tap),” is a repetitive sequence from one of the famous tap dance scenes in the film Singin’ in the Rain, an odd juxtaposition — but perhaps an intentional one — to the “tap tap tap” of killing rifles in Titzer’s video. (Salyer also offers a tentatively humorous but banal series of unfocused photographs depicting the artist constructing a rocketship out of cardboard and duct tape.) The surprise here is the borrowing from the past, the device of child’s playthings as means to reflect on culture. There’s an innocent aspect to nostalgia, one that doesn’t recognize — or chooses to look away from — the reality that things never really change.  The Americans Are Coming is on view through May 29 at the Photography Gallery and Studio, 884 Massachusetts Ave. Call 423-9237.

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