Morgan Fisher, Kate Wall, Tenesh Webber

25 April–15 June 2008
Opening Friday 25 April 7-9pm

In what ways does light affect the experience of our surroundings? In what manner do things exist if they are not experienced directly through the senses but are displaced or abstracted in a representation? What happens to things at night, when the lights are out, or when we close our eyes?

To Square Light presents some examples that touch upon the nature of our surroundings and the role that light plays in terms of how we experience the things around us. A common denominator in the work on view is that it all relates to the ways in which the mechanisms of photography function as a system that renders reality. An attempt at reproducing a monochromatic scene showing a ping-pong ball balancing on a column of air, fails inexhaustibly. The sun burns an echo of a castle on the other side of the earth. Folded pieces of paper prove unable to express their original three-dimensionality. Things exist only as traces of themselves.

Kate Wall’s piece Perception of Pavia (2008) questions the status of our perceptive faculties being the origin of representation: What does a reproduction mean if our access to the original is absent? Can a reproduction take place without an actual sensory experience of the origin? In a drawn-out, distilled photographic process (cyanotype), Wall has the San Diego sun create a reproduction of an Italian castle she has never visited.

With the photogram Broken II (2007) Tenesh Webber witnesses an actual step in the darkroom. The piece presents paper sculptures against a jet-black surface: a transparent three-dimensionality dissolving into positive-negative representation. Webber’s work explores the ways in which photography and the photogram abstract objects through the use of light, and in doing so she questions our understanding of the very nature of the objects themselves.

Color Balance (1980) by Morgan Fisher is a film installation with three 16mm projectors that recapitulate in part the first photographic reproduction of color. The colors red, green and blue (RGB) are first separated and then superimpiosed to produce the actual color photograph. Fisher deliberately displaces this process. In Color Balance a red, green, and blue circle fail to overlap in order to reproduce the scene of a white ping-pong ball balancing on a column of air. The perfect color balance is never achieved, and in failing to reproduce the original scene, the colors are thus freed from their original purpose.