Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: 'This American Life' lies at the heart of Hera Gallery exhibition

Thursday, September 1, 2011 11:07 AM EDT

WAKEFIELD - Two artists take different paths as explorations of America's living spaces in the latest exhibition at Hera Gallery. "Alexandra Broches: Landscape" and "Michael Yefko: Shed," each occupying a separate room in the gallery, are wildly different in approach, technique and execution, yet complement one another as expressions of cultural identity and the impressions that we make upon a place.

Broches presents a new series of color photographs - eight in all - each 32 by 40 inches. Despite their large size, the photos act almost as subversive postcards, given their concentration on sense of place, distinctive detail and some ephemeral sense of nostalgia, longing or memory.

"Liberty, Delmarva Peninsula" is a striking image of an undersized replica of the iconic statue spied by commuters out the window of the Staten Island Ferry, strangely placed in a nondescript patch of land in the unique convergence of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia properties that make up the peninsula. The sky dominates, diminishing the statue, which, although centrally positioned, seems just another element in the landscape, equal to the surrounding cell tower, telephone poles and street lights.

"Horse Ride, Virginia Beach" is even more ambiguous. The title is derived from the lone sign on a stretch of sandy beach. The sign, propped up against an empty metal corral-like enclosure - the kind you see at carnivals - reads "Horse Ride" with blank space underneath, presumably to chart times for the ride. The emptiness of the scene - sand with a few footprints, ocean, sky and the missing horse ride - evoke a number of feelings, from mystery to nostalgia. Is the ride a relic, a remnant of tacky beach day fun gone by, or is it merely on winter hiatus until the crowds return?

>> Finish reading the article here.

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