Strange Passages, 2005
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Kansas City, MO
July 15 - October 9, 2005
interview with Elizabeth Dunbar
Toomey Tourell Fine Art
San Francisco, CA
December 16 - January 28, 2006
Strange Passages combines images from Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969) with photographs of landscapes from media and my own travels. Peckinpah's cowboys, confronted by the end of the frontier West in the wake of industrialization, are shown against contemporary landscapes to examine issues of agency and presence through an installation that plays upon the idea of duration as a conjunction of simultaneities. A wave breaking over a rock, a river flowing through a canyon, or cumulous clouds drifting over a gorge juxtaposed against the conspicuousness of a lone palm tree against a seascape or a car bomb flashing in the distance extend these temporalities into consequences.
The idea of the frontier is no longer tied to the notion of space, but to the possibilities of events, and the way these events define and locate the particular space. The images of war, most recently of Iraq, are poignant illustrations of how events materialize the space in which they occur. How can seemingly foreign places reside in our psychic landscape without being sites of war or occupation?
In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the narrator Marlow says, "There was a sense of extreme disappointment, as though I had found out that I had been striving after something altogether without substance." Technology, like imperialism, uncovers human vice hidden under the guise of civility. In the end, what is progress without the production and retention of meaning?