Upon entering the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art in San Bernardino, viewers are met with Sant Khalsa’s series “Intimate Landscapes”, featuring untitled black and white photos set in large frames, and surrounded by white matte. The images are described as memories of her “…first romance with our extraordinary California landscape.” One definitely feels this excitement and enchantment when examining her collection. The small photo size encourages viewers to get close and personal with the images, which are reminiscent of scenes one might see out their car window when on a drive. Khalsa captures images that are easy to overlook in the business of the California lifestyle, yet so distinct to the state that almost any citizen will feel a connection when looking at them. She chooses scenes that are mostly nature, with a subtle human factor. Elements such as an abandoned metal gate, a brick wall that is falling apart, or an exposed pipe, all show the human destruction we put on our natural environment. This combination of past nostalgia and current reality leaves the viewer falling in love with their state again, while pondering the consequences of our existence within it.
The “C.ASH_4_GOLD” series by Tim Portlock includes stark cityscapes of San Bernardino that have been manipulated using image and video game software to create a surreal effect. The scenes in Portlock’s images bring feelings of longing for the past, and the amendments he makes express an uncertainty for the future. One piece, Memorial, 2015, shows an abandoned and spray painted gas station, with a small memorial at the sidewalk in the foreground. The image looks completely static, except for a long streamer the spans almost the entire composition, and appears to be moving wildly in the wind. This sense of movement paired with the stillness of the rest of the image creates an unsettling feeling. Elements such as signage for goldbuyers and pawn appear in a several works, further voicing the anxiety many citizens feel for the future.
Lewis DeSoto’s series, “Empire” features large panoramic photos of various cities in the Inland Empire. The method of composing these images involves meticulously combining many smaller images, creating a very detailed and visually interesting piece. The captions next to each photo add a depth and perspective to each city and photo. DeSoto tells a bit of history as well as the present state of the scene depicted. The locations photographed are nostalgic for the artist, and looking at each piece in context of his development as an artist, and his return to the Inland Empire gives perspective on DeSoto’s point-of-view as an artist. One piece that was especially compelling is Desert Shores, 2014, which features a panoramic view of the Salton Sea. The caption for this piece told the history of the Salton Sea, how the saline content is obliterating all life in the sea, as well as the man-made errors that created the problem. DeSoto then considers that the sea is an example of creation and destruction, and how it exists both in man and nature.