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Before you get too agitated, may I remind you that not all fetishes are sexual? In this group show at Gallery Kayafas in Boston’s South End through August 29, 2015, guest curator Greer Muldowney informs us, “to fetishize is to mold an object of desire into an imagined state of perfection.” Rather than discovering pastoral scenes, the seven artists in this show provoke us to look at landscape through their unique filters and design, in ways that are humorous, poignant and abstract.
Of his “The Last Snow in Brattleboro Map” (feature image), Jonathan Gitelson says, “like much of my work, this piece deals with my doomed efforts to exert control over circumstances inherently uncontrollable.” No Bostonian will miss the desperate humor in Gitelson’s hand-drawn map with pop-out photos of all the piles of snow he tracked around Brattleboro, Vermont, “stalking winter” in a year of record snowfall there. Christine Collins reflects on an altogether different form of reclamation in her pensive photographs of cultivated land, focusing on the ways in which people attempt to sustain and regain the fruits of the earth.
In photographs from his series, Wild and Precious”, Jesse Burke explores the “fragile, complicated relationships humans share with nature” over the course of several road trips with his daughter, forged in “an attempt to strengthen those bonds.” His sensitive images highlight our delicate balance with and vulnerabilities to the natural world. Timothy Briner’s richly executed B&W gelatin silver prints cast a sociological view across America by presenting images from six towns from different States that are all named “Boonville”. Although each one has it’s own character, when seen as a whole, “they embody a stark perspective of the typical American small town.” In contrast, Angela Mittiga delves deeply into an exploration of “psychological interiority” both through photographic “glimpses of frozen spaces” and her mesmerizing nighttime video installations, in which the expansion of moments and details invite viewers to experience “the isolated nature of seeing that permeates solitude.”
Anastasia Samoylova’s complex geometric abstractions from the series “Landscape Sublime” focus on a single feature, such as waves, lightning or rainbows. Printing stock photos found online, she crafts three-dimensional constructions using props like mirrors and iridescent wrapping paper, then photographs them. The resulting images feature juxtapositions of color, form and scale that create unnatural naturescapes singing with joyful spontaneity and splendor. On the gallery’s opposite wall, Mark Dorf’s images from the series “//_PATH” offer an intriguing contrast in abstraction and playfully interact with Samoylova’s. Examining the ways in which digital technology permeates and affects our perception of the world, Dorf composes his abstractions using digital photography, collage, 3D rendering and primitive 3D scanning technology. His integration of geometric forms into natural landscapes offer elegant and subtle comparisons of these natural and digital symbols, while seeming to create secret doors into a mysterious domain beyond the frame.
In “Landscape As Fetish”, Greer Muldowney gathers a youthful stable of artists with refreshing interpretations of landscape: real and imagined, constructed and deconstructed, raucous and meditative, all reflecting the human craving for a more perfect harmony with nature.
For directions, hours and more information about this exhibit, go to: http://www.gallerykayafas.com/
Feature Image: “The Last Snow in Brattleboro Map” by Jonathan Gitelson (courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafas, Boston)