Friday, July 21, 2017

Richard Misrach / Guillermo Galindo, Border Cantos @ Pace / MacGill Gallery

The first time I saw Misrach’s pictures of people floating in water, I thought he was ripping off the surfer pictures of Los Angeles-based photographer Mark Wyse. At the time, the word around the water cooler was that Wyse had printed at a lab Misrach used, so it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. My first thought when I walked into Border Cantos was that he had ripped off Victoria Sambunaris’s work, which is showing literally showing blocks away at Yancey Richardson. I am sure it is all coincidence, and he is either unaware of her earlier work or borrowing from it as all artists tend to do. But I still had a hard time walking through the show without thinking of Sambunaris’s earlier photographs. Fortunately for Misrach. his work holds up well. I’d even argue this is the best work he has done in some time. There are two pictures of mist, one rolling over a field of vegetables and one draping the border fence that are chilling. They suggest that the politics of these places are swallowing them up. Match them with the makeshift Xs with clothes on them in front of riverbeds, and you have some mysterious and jarring photographs that suggest in a very visceral way that something bad has happened in these places. The feeling is all but confirmed with a picture of a shooting range and its decimated targets. This is powerful work, maybe a little derivative of Sambunaris and maybe printed a little too dark and green, but strong pictures all the same. Now the work is paired with sculptures of found objects from the area that at times are turned into musical instruments. I wasn’t a fan of the sculptures. 


Post a Comment