Rik Garrett’s “transcendent manifestations” and the combined efforts of Sally Egan and Amy Bystedt’s “reconstructed snapshots” make up the exhibition Frequencies, “Concepts in Reality” at the Space Gallery in Pomona, CA. The presentation was exhibited in coarse if not organic fashion – prints without frames hung from stainless steel bulldog clips which were push-pinned into the walls of the gallery. But the presentation worked in a fashion that lends itself to the pure observation of the work rather than a critique of how its accruements supported the images.
Initially, it did not seem appropriate to view the work in such an academic type of presentation but their statement tied the preparation together nicely. The body of work seems designed to take you from what is being seen there in the gallery to a place in our thoughts that is only in our minds eye. Rik Garrett’s blurred and non-descript images were challenging at first. Some of the images came across as a type of Rorschach test but further study revealed that there were faces and limbs. They had been manipulated in such a way as to reveal a trace of what once was. This left the viewer to fill in with their own experiences and thoughts. In this way, the work was very engaging.
Sally Egan and Amy Bystedt’s images of a bygone time were equally as captivating. Especially being staged reconstructions of photos from what looked to be from the late 1960s to early 1970s. They masterfully recreated snapshots that the majority of us have seen in old photo albums many times over. The images brought the viewer back to a time many remember fondly but hinted to it all being an illusion. The illusion of the past being a time that was so much better than the now. That illusion built on things we choose to remember and those things we choose to forget and is what creates “the good old days” nostalgia. And the snapshots that were taken and displayed in all of those photo albums were always of the good times – captured memories of our choosing.
The exhibition was an ingenious exercise that engaged the viewer in a ways that most exhibitions cannot. It asked the viewer to take a look inside, not just at was being displayed in front of them. It is a good direction for art to be heading in.
Edward Lance Montgomery