Tuesday, September 6, 2011

James Luckett's "Suginami"

Wednesday I am driving to Springfield, Ohio to see James's exhibition and gallery talk on his recent series Suginami. He asked me to write something about my experience viewing the book and so it follows:

I am looking up and I am looking down peering in with very few horizon lines to separate me from the objects close at hand: a halo of clothespins, branches stacked upward poised to fall, a cat (feral?) staring back – the only living creature that acknowledges my shared presence in this still neighborhood.

The image above (one of my favorites in the series) juxtaposes the clean, smooth cement walls with a pile of detritus – functional objects abandoned and slowly integrated back into the earth but the ground is also concrete where these plants grow. The weeds that overtake the bicycle look like they are in turn, choked by their surroundings.

Other photographs depict plants arranged carefully in pots and I am drawn to how they are displayed and yet their spaces are also contained and claustrophobic. Is it the trash or is it the plants that become the barrier between me and the private spaces on the other side? There is a struggle to control nature yet nothing appears to be winning in Suginami.

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If you are in the area, check out his exhibition (he's also coming to Ball State in October):
Ann Miller Gallery
Wit­ten­berg Uni­ver­sity, Spring­field, Ohio
August 23 — Sep­tem­ber 24
Lec­ture Sep­tem­ber 8 at 5pm
recep­tion to follow

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