The Glendale College Art Gallery show “‘Scapes” showcases the works of five Los Angeles artists and their personal translations of landscapes that range from lighthearted to macabre. The artists’ use of photography connects the pieces to one another, but each offers up the artist’s unique vision.
“The media and aesthetics of my work reach beyond the conventional territories of galleries and museums both physically and psychologically,” said Hillary Mushkin. Mushkin’s piece is a short video reel of the sky from a camera set on a moving bicycle. The video offers the perspective of looking up from the sun roof of a moving vehicle and seeing tree-lined skies with electrical and light posts. It is occasionally interrupted by animation that gives the effect of miniscule explosions. “This Land is My Land” by Woody Guthrie is heard through the course of the reel. The urban sky scene combined with the folk song may initially puzzle the viewer, but given more thought, the two effects give the viewer a sense of the artist’s reality.
Holly Topping creates her own reality through photography by painting over it. The viewer is presented with generic landscape scenes at first glance, but oil painting becomes its playful and almost sneaky accessory. Topping expresses her own interpretation of the landscapes by painting over or adding appendages to the objects in her photographs.
The most emotional of the pieces of the exhibit are those of James Fee, the “Peleliu Project.” Fee used snapshots taken in the Pacific by his father, Russell Fee, when he served in the marines during WWII. Fee’s use of exposure and other photographic manipulations effectively gives the feel of the weathered look of old photographs, while the subject matter gives the viewer the guilty feeling of reading someone’s diary.
The viewer has to look very closely to decipher the subject matter in Ken Gonzales-Day’s photographs. From afar, they almost look like maps, but upon closer inspection, the subject matter is actually that of human skin. The text that accompanies the exhibit at the front desk describes the subject matter as human cadaver skin. Although macabre, the composition of the photographs is orderly and in its own way, does depict landscapes.
Lastly, Stephanie Allespach features photographs of urbanscapes illuminated by natural and artificial lighting.
The “‘Scapes” exhibit runs through March 9. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call Ext. 5545.