ATLANTA –Hagedorn Foundation Gallery is pleased to present Traces of Myth, a group exhibition of works by five artists that reflects on the effect of history and the lure of narrative in our understanding and valuation of physical space. The show includes pieces by Chris Buck, Paul Hagedorn, Lisa Kereszi, Laura Noel and Landon Nordeman and will be on view from December 4, 2012 through January 26, 2013. Myth –– literally “a traditional story, which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual” –– here refers to how each of these artist’s individual images are, respectively, traces of larger cultural identities. The paragraphs below explain how this notion is traced through these five artists' practices.
Chris Buck is a Canadian-born photographer living in New York. The images from his series Presence* are celebrity portraits in which the celebrity is hidden from view in the photograph’s frame. Tucked behind various objects that are visible to the viewer, it is important for Buck that the celebrity is in the space captured in the photograph’s frame, yet invisible to the eye, insisting on the layers of narrative depicted in a given space and a photograph’s capacity to determine which of those layers are imaged. Nonetheless, titling the works with the celebrity’s name creates an instant fetishization of the space, as it is coded with the presence of valued cultural icons; such as Chuck Close, Robert DeNiro, NAS. The work expands one’s understanding of subjectivity to encompass the environment one occupies in relation to the individual.
Paul Hagedorn lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. The series Buckhead Lives documents the destruction of a certain era of Buckhead’s nightlife that alludes to the cyclical character of a city: one community wanes––socially or economically–– and another is built in it’s place, choices mutually determined by the state and it’s citizens. In this case Hagedorn documented the demolition of bars like Tongue & Groove, Fado, Lulu’s Bait Shack and Village Grill. These establishments were removed in order to erect new developments in their place, a new era and new aesthetic both of which the images point to in a series that can be read alternately as promise, hope and opportunity or, alternatively, death and destruction.
Lisa Kereszi, born in Pennsylvania and raised in suburban Philadelphia now lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Photographs from her Fantasies*series scale between large (40 x 50 inches) and small (20 x 24 inches) format prints in the densely saturated chromatic spaces that construe contemporary strip clubs, movie theaters and disco bars. This piecemeal understanding of fantastical space deconstructs the immersive environment while maintaining a mix of chintz––cheap, scratched mirrors and trim; cracked paint–– and visual pleasure–glowing neon greens against deep black tones; blood red walls ornately embellished with slender gold painted lines. Simultaneously, the work is showing and unpacking what one may not see or have the intuition to focus on in the fetished space of entertainment centers where, more often than not viewers are told––uncritically–– how and where to look.
Laura Noel lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. Her images, from the series Fictions, show the memetic relationship between people and spaces through shared color palettes in clothing and the built environment; as well as constructed architectural space and imported, exotic flora. Amongst the nearly twenty images which comprise the series Coaster, Big Chief and Dryer are exemplary of the fact that these photographs are not produced as a reflection on a single iconic subject: rather Noel’s photographs reflect on the way in which our identities and spaces are mutually forming across a broad range of social strata.
Landon Nordeman was born and currently works in New York City. His images shed a journalistic eye on spectacular events and spaces that amplify our experience of these moments: freezing them in time for a shared experience that asserts recognizable, universal myths in contemporary culture. The images in his Time Square Now series are snapshots of everyday moments at “The Crossroads of the World” an amalgamated mash up of clashing pedestrian cultures and events that Nordeman’s keen eye has framed in a series of eight beautifully composed snapshots, capitalizing on the iconicity of Times Squares’ visual appearance to hold together this incoherent whole.