A Small Analysis of an ArtworkPosted: September 9, 2011
Inside an art gallery in New York’s Lower Eastside, buried in a side room, was a small black and white image of a barren dessert landscape on a bright day with slight traces of human presence – the kind of scene that would capably backdrop a cowboy movie. It looked like Utah, though I’ve never been there before. Further detail about the picture escapes me, but what stood out was a flat white, rectangular building with a cross at the end of it barging into the picture on the left. This modest church at first looked like a printing error amidst the coarse expansiveness of America’s nature. The dimensionless whiteness hovered irrelevantly over the modulated gray of sky and earth, both of which seemed to be made out of sand. But the cross gave it away as architecture within a landscape. This little picture read like a subtle affront to religion, casting a house of god as a pictorial error, a rigid two-dimensional block devoid of substance and grace. A space for worship disconnected from the real world around it.
Note: This photograph by Seher Shah is included in her solo show, Object Anxiety, at Scaramouche, New York.