Jackson Fine Art announces upcoming exhibitions with Roger Ballen and Angela West . In their featured collections, Boarding House and Trigger , Ballen and West investigate notions of stasis, offering up collections that transform the inanimate into the dynamic.
With Boarding House, Roger Ballen accentuates the peripatetic nature of consciousness, anchoring it in a Dickensian world and focusing on a string of non-sequiturs that are at once grotesque and comfortable. His small, square, black-and-white format photographs conflate various planes of the human psyche into a single image, subverting any individual desire to partition dreaming and waking life. When creating the work collected in Boarding House, Ballen collaborated with the residents of a Johannesburg warehouse. The result is a series reflecting both an exaggerated theatricality and precision of composition and echoes of his subjects’ lived experiences.
Utilizing these labyrinthine living quarters, where rooms open into other spaces with only a scrawled-upon rug or an oxidized scrap of metal to distinguish them, Ballen composes images of boundless depth and complexity. Subjects and objects, often functioning identically, emerge within each frame almost silently. In Boarding House , the assumed center of each tableau only signals that there is more to explore, entreating the viewer to work toward gleaning some wisdom from the interrogation of apparent darkness.
Angela West’s new collection, Trigger , continues the ongoing theme of memory and loss, which haunts much of West’s work. These austere photographs in Trigger submit isolated artifacts upon a background of negative space, resulting in a vacuum that demands the viewer to absorb and internalize the meaning of the spartan subject. West who has long made use of the familiar - photographing her own family members as well as creating romantic landscapes based in her hometown of Dahlonega, GA - has peeled back the layers and deduced the image to an abstract “mark” of what is left behind.
Trigger is comprised of a quieter palette of photographs that are dusted with color and intentionally titled from songs meaningful to West’s own history; Love is Love, When you were Mine, and My Aim is True. Music transforms us in time, in place, and notes our own impermanence. The stark mundane takes on new meaning when removed from all context and its result a sense of the ephemeral, and through the beauty of her forms, we mourn the loss of the familiar. Angela states “My photographs, I hope, record the particularities of a specific place and moment in time, and that way in which memory and gilt tie together to create loyalty-‐which is sometimes confused as love.” Do not let each photograph’s simplicity belie its intent: the confrontation of ordinary life desolatmakes for a surrender to the incomprehensible, a re-evaluation of meaning.