Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things to Come, Part One -- Susan Harbage Page at Flanders Gallery

Yes, the days are getting shorter, temperatures have moderated a bit, and there is a hint of autumn cool in the early morning air. That must mean that the fall exhibition season will soon be upon us. Indeed, the announcements of upcoming shows are beginning to to appear and include a number of photographers familiar to readers of this blog.

Susan Harbage Page will have a show of work from her Border Project portfolio opening October 1st at the Flanders Gallery in Raleigh, NC, including the image above. Page records traces in her work, traces of the Great Northward Migration of people from Central and South America into the United States. These images document small events but evoke powerfully the larger events that leave behind these traces.

The space of exhibition is often important in our experience of art. Page showed some of this work earlier this year in the large atrium of a university building, in which the images themselves served as reminders that central North Carolina is one of the major destinations for people crossing the Mexico-USA border.

One could look at Page's image of a shirt, a shoe, an ID bracelet end then look through the building's windows at a landscape in which much of the manual labor maintaining that landscape was itself a sign, or a trace, of the movement of people Page is following.

I'm going to be interested in seeing this work again inside a more conventional exhibition space, a gallery of gracious and generous spaces, but one without windows, one that is part of the commercial world of art, a world whose patrons are supported in their affluence by the labor of the people who left behind the traces that Page records in her work. There is potential here for transformative encounters.

Flanders Gallery actually has up another photography show, right now, a really interesting show of contemporary landscape photography, but the shooters are not, as we say, from around here. Though they are fine shooters, and are Alberto Borea, LaToya Ruby Frazier
, Greg Lindquist
, Mary Mattingly
, Cameron Martin, Ellen Phelan,and Xaviera Simmons.

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