Sunday, 28 March 2010

Will Rogan | Remant World

Will Rogan Life Removed 1, 2008 erased magazine page. 12 x 10 inches

The camera — as the artist’s tool, as a physical object, and as a metaphor for mortality – is at the heart of these recent works. Aligned around a tension between absence and presence, Rogan seeks to identify the vanishing point that haunts the instantaneous present. As in earlier bodies of work, these pieces address a series of related, but tangential ideas expressed in different media.

In several works, visual information is obscured, diffused, refracted or omitted, complicating modes of perception and undermining conventions for image-making. In Collapse, a video depicts a woman on the back of driving through the streets of Tokyo holding a mirror so that the immediate past and the immediate future are visible on one plane. video is projected on a sculpture that mirrors the shape of light projector and rests on a piece of rubble from the gallery renovation. In another, a dangling bulb emits an intense light refracted through a chaotic cluster of glass prisms; the orb resembles a glowing celestial body, a sloppy chandelier that is captivating but blinding. And in a small group of works on paper, magazine pages are manipulated until all information except an image of a camera is erased or concealed.

Humor, and in particular the humor of everyday idiosyncrasy, is central to Rogan’s work. The title, Remnant World, is drawn from a series of small black and white photographs — Other Worlds —that plainly depict overly specialized but generic stores that assert themselves as comprehensive outlets for the consumer or connoisseur. These shops (Smoker’s World, Vacuum World, Popcorn World, etc) offer inelegant declarations of wholeness and suspect grandiosity. As an index, Remnant World registers certain limitations: the fragmented nature of perception and the impossibility of omniscient experience. Literally, it refers to a black and white image of a place to buy cheap carpets.

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