Grant Mudford, Los Angeles, 1976/printed 1980 Gelatin silver print, 13 1/8 x 19 1/4 inches, ed. 31 of 75 Courtesy of Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

“Street Sight” at Armory Center

 

Grant Mudford, Los Angeles, 1976/printed 1980 Gelatin silver print, 13 1/8 x 19 1/4 inches, ed. 31 of 75 Courtesy of Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

Street Sight is a collection of works by important artists like Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper, Robert Flick and many more.  This exhibition portrays street photography from the 60’s and 70’s in the most literal sense.  The common frills of humanity and life are stripped away and all that is left are the “bones” of our society.

Ruscha does a series of thirty aerial views of empty parking lots that in such volume and sequence, resemble a bone yard of sorts.  Robert Flick’s depiction of parking garages demands attention with its moody composition while being creepy and cold.  This collection of images seems to act as a reminder that humanity and life are merely pieces in a puzzle that make up our existence.  Without the bones and structures that are so easily taken for granted, life, as we know it would be unrecognizably different.

Robbert Flick, 77159-21, 1977 From the Arena series Gelatin silver print, 12 1/2 x 18 5/8 inches Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art Gift of Robbert Flick and Susan Rankaitis

While focusing on structure and form this exhibit also explores the co-dependent relationship between people and cars, specifically in Southern California.  The automobile has become a tool of survival and an absolute necessity in this region but the artists seem to be questioning how this codependency effects life, as we knew it in a simpler time.

This show is a clear shift from the typical sense of street photography as well as topographic images from the time.  It strives to unveil unexpected beauty in urban environments while serving a higher purpose of exploring the ideals that make up our surroundings.   The concept behind this collection is what allows it to be successful because the individual artworks are highly formal and lack much overt substance.  Room after room and image after image of empty parking lots and lifeless buildings tends to be monotonous at best.  The images are underwhelming but the overall idea is very moving and should be pushed further.   Street Sight is the catalyst of a notion that began over thirty years ago and continues to be analyzed.

Street Sight, June 26-September 11, is on view in t he Susan and John Caldwell Gallery at the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 North Raymond Avenue.  Gallery Hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 12-5pm.  A donation is appreciated.

Lindsy Barquist

Graham Howe, Interstate 14, California, 1978 From the American Freeway series Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches Courtesy of the artist
Ed Ruscha, Residential from the series Rooftops, 1961/printed 2004 Silver gelatin print, 25 1⁄4 x 25 1⁄4 inches, ed. 19 of 35 Courtesy of Patrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica, CA
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