Art Criticism


New Futures: Examining a Pictured Past
Art New England, Volume 40, Issue 6

Excerpt: In a disconnected and increasingly digital world, the material objects of the past - books, papers, photographs - can create nostalgia for a narrative that maybe never existed. Paper photographs and written texts fill archives that become the physical manifestations of stories left behind. The 21st century’s explosion of digital communication has further splintered these previously held visions of American life. Disparate stories and new narratives emerge, evident in the work of three New England artists who are involved in interrogations of these archives and narratives.


The Shifting Meaning of Pictures
Art New EnglandVolume 37, Issue 1

Excerpt: Photographs surround us. They live inside our handheld telephones and tablets; they are disseminated in perpetuity across social media; they demand our attention in advertisements. In our contemporary world, photography is at an apex where its sheer ubiquity has rendered it invisible. Paper snapshots of the past are shuttled into shoeboxes in favor of digital codes that represent images on screens, which likewise get shuffled past us into file folders and our computer’s caches. Today, digital reigns.


Stereotypes
Art New EnglandVolume 36, Issue 5

Excerpt: Deriving from the artist’s commercially trained background at the New England School of Photography, the text references the glowing neon of advertising signs and the flickering of television ads. In each instance, the language traces both contemporary and historical discriminatory thought patterns, setting up an uncomfortable dichotomy between the anonymity of the portrait sitters, whom look just like anyone you might meet on the street, and the perniciousness of language that most of us do not pause long enough to consider....

Landing at Zero 
Big, Red & Shiny, Volume 2, Issue 10

Excerpt: Bruce Myren’s The Fortieth Parallel is a project of western depiction. Rooted in history, it takes cues from historic survey projects and their subsequent rephotographic cousins, Ed Ruscha’s explorations of buildings on Sunset Strip and the New Topographers’ unromantic views of the west. It is an exploration of how to picture the land when the land has already been pictured: a conversation with the past designed to teach us about our present….


"El Anatsui: New Worlds" at the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art 
Big, Red & Shiny, Volume 2, Issue 19

Excerpt: By using detritus that alludes to this history, the artist is in dialogue with a past riddled with slave trade and abuse. The cultural tensions that arise from colonialism express themselves in the sculptures through competing graphic shapes that are folded into and on top of each other. Sometimes, they are woven directly together Each aluminum scrap is bound to another aluminum scrap. Flattened and twisted, their shapes and meanings have been transformed, but not erased ….


1914: Magnus Plessen at the Rose Art Museum
Big, Red & Shiny, December, 9, 2014

Excerpt: Portraiture has always sought to represent its subjects as lifelike as possible, here purposely subverting itself to cover political wounds and return faces to a static representation of what they 'ought' to be. Moreover, our identities are as much constructed by invisible lines, drawn by our societies to delineate what we will and will not look at, as by the images we actually see. 


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