From Carrie Miller…
In a digitally networked culture, we experience the visual world as fragmentation: we move between multiple screens, we view snapshots of information from multiple sources. We are also at a convergence between new media and old media, which still affects the way we engage with visual culture.
The Big Picture brings together artists working with photo-media and video in new ways in order to explore the sublime and of nature against the backdrop of this new visual culture as well as imagery from the old media archive.
A number of the works involve multiples of images – suggesting the way you can now Google an image and find thousands and thousands of the same thing. US artist Penelope Umbrico, for example, discovered on the photo-sharing site Flickr that the most popular uploaded image is sunsets. Umbrico creates a huge wall installation of these suns – reminding the viewer that ordinary people aim to capture a sublime moment and yet despite this desire the result is a cliché which doesn’t stop us from trying to capture it.
The work of Messih is a series of convincing installations that contain photo-media and a performative aspect as well. The images are picture post-card style, for example a sunset horizon mounted to a large scale wooden bracket. The artist has then jumped through the image, puncturing the picture and creating a double sense of us wanting to inhabit these spaces of nature that we can never possess and simultaneously the way in which the sublime is a destructive force.
Until May 18
Stills Gallery, Paddington
Pic: Gemma Messih, I’ve only just realised how important you are (to me), 2012. C-type print, blue metal rail ballast, Dimensions variable, Edition of 3 + AP. Photography: Sarah Mosca.