Tracy Williams, Ltd; through Dec 23.
Thu Dec 1 2005
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
This solo exhibition by the Los Angeles--based photographer Cindy Bernard combines three different-yet-complementary series to convey the artist's interest in the private space of memory and the social space of culture, even though the images are almost entirely devoid of people.
Bernard is the founder of several organizations that support music and sound art as tools for social change. Her commitment is clearly signalled by the series-in- progress "Band Shells," for which she is documenting one public bandstand in each of the 50 states. Oceanside Pier Amphitheater (Oceanside, California, 1950) (2003) depicts an Art Deco--style structure flanked by palm trees, surrounded by a vacant expanse of rain-soaked stucco tiles. Lacking both performers and audience, the band shell nonetheless stands in for the community that built it.
The photos in "The Grandfather" similarly consist of cross-country images—back roads, tourist stops, sweeping vistas—all taken by Bernard's own grandfather during his vacations from 1950 to 1979. (The color photographs are printed from his original transparencies.) For the related series "Ask the Dust," Bernard rephotographed locations from famous films, replicating shots in their exact aspect ratios. The Godfather (1972/1990) overlooks Manhattan from New Jersey, with lush grass leading up to the Hudson River shoreline and the Statue of Liberty looming in the distance. Drained of its original drama, the landscape prompts viewers to project their own recollections—both cinematic and personal—onto the abandoned field. Resembling "The Grandfather" in both format and framing, these images underscore the power of Hollywood movies to shape one's experiences.—Lauren Cornell