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Mountain. Desert. Mirror.

mountaindesertmirror

Mountain. Desert. Mirror
Cinematheque Lobby

September 12 - November 16, 2014

In each of the twelve diptychs a pairing of passive and active images are presented. Erin Azouz’s photos always appear to the left, and depict a place, action or person. Ja Soon Kim’s photographs (always to the right) are compositions of meticulously arranged organic material. Although the image style differs for each photographer, the images tell the same story. The story is of ephemeral moments and explorations into the world of natural beauty. Both artists attempt to grasp and hold onto these fleeting moments by taking an artifact home. Azouz returns with her iphone imagery and Kim with her collection of organic material. The photographers’ original intention was to share the photographic representations of their finds on the mobile phone app Instagram.

Instagram is a virtual space where an image can instantly be shared with friends and the public to archive moments, experiences, and just about anything else that can be photographed. In many ways Instagram functions as a virtual ‘show and tell’ for one’s souvenirs. The images in this exhibition were sourced from Instagram, yet they no longer fit into the ‘show and tell’ context of social media. By presenting pairs of images the viewer is prompted to consider the connection between the images rather than using them as a lens into someone else’s experience. As one is freed of the need to associate an image with a particular person or moment, the relationships formed in the pairings begin to emphasize the underlying themes present in their individual works.

Beyond questions of the role social media plays in art, and of experience and artifact, what ultimately ties the two sets of images together is region. Both artists reside in Santa Fe, NM and have a deep connection to the landscape here. The overlap of content and form in their photographs is inevitable as they document daily life in Northern New Mexico.

A backdrop of chamisa shrubs, aspen forests and brushy landscapes can be seen in Azouz’s images, and an up-close examination of that same foliage in Kim’s. One single message is clearly communicated in their different methods, and that is a love for the landscape.