Photo-Architecture: Diurnal/Nocturnalby Tomassio Longhi
Organized by Joseph Masheck
As one would expect, an eccentric curatorial effort by Joe Masheck is an extension of his impassioned interest in modern photography and architecture. Gathered here is a good synthesis of both—a modest, but nifty exhibit of four younger photographers: Norbert Artner, Johannes Wegerbauer, Tyko Lewis, and Toki Ozaki.
The show encapsulates the grouping of urban buildings in each of their personal responses to the light of day and night, without human presence, except for one silhouette of a diving figure, part of the triptych by Wegerbauer which I felt was out of context. What the artists all have in common in their idiosyncratic depiction of light is the incidental, casual and ephemeral stillness—because architecture is a concrete, man-made object—yet unanimously the chosen images resonate a sense of disparity.
Masheck insists that his fascination for twilight is not for its natural effect but for its uncanny unnaturalness. In Artner’s and Wegerbauer’s pictures of both Austrian and New York sites, however different in their presentations—Artner’s images of a factory tower placed quite frontally in a blurred and tonal surrounding in contrast with Wedgerbauer’s arising building with strange angles—both demonstrate their incisive and formal intelligence of industrial motifs of post-Modernist awareness of architecture.
Toki Ozaki’s cityscapes of the Lower East Side and Tyko Lewis’s Brooklyn Environment evoke a circuitous and subtle intimacy. Ozaki’s work embraces a strong sense of personal nostalgia and mystery. Her marvelous small picture "Untitled" is of constructed two-by-fours propping-up or supporting a side of a nearly collapsing building. In "Tenth Avenue #5" early evening light falls upon a moving car in the foreground. Lewis’s work, on the other hand, captures the moisture of the night and its desolation, especially in "Knickerbocker Avenue" and "Wythe Street."
In the end, with all of the robust frontality of forms, cropping and shooting in daylight, and the glowing variables, the works of Artner and Wegerbauer correspond with Ozaki’s and Lewis’s pictorial depth in their interpretations of nighttime. In between, in a few of their pictures, the light is indeterminate, which one could readily yield to the overwhelmingly poetic beauty of twilight.
TOMASSIO LONGHI is a contributor to the Rail.