Thursday, April 16, 2009

Professional Practices- Critical Art Review Assignment

Sarah H. Sachs' "Time Present & Time Past" show is a part of the MFA Thesis II Exhibition running from April 10-19 in the Meyerhoff Gallery. The works are photo montages of archived photos of Baltimore taken between 1920 and 1940 with her own recent photos taken in the same locations. In her words, the show is "more than a compilation of the past and present- it is a representation of a collapse of the time in between. My goal was to create images that show not only what has changed and remained over time, but to create photographic illustrations that explore the memory of the city itself and our place within it today."

Photography was the best way to approach the idea of representing this "collapse of time in between" the past and the present. Any other form of art would have merely been an artful representation. The photograph makes it feel real, something tangible. The images are combined so seemlessly that they really make the audience question what existed in the original archived photo and what's been added. Sarah's claim of representing the "collapse of time in between" was extremely successful. Take the image directly below: you forget about the 80 or 90 years that exists between these characters and they exist only together in this image.

Each image is so rich in detail that they keep the audience engaged. Your eye continually moves around, questioning what is old and what is new. It's quite playful in this way and very enjoyable. On top of everything, the quality of the prints are fantastic and everything is displayed beautifully. The old style of the frame with the contrast of being painted stark white is a perfect compliment to the images. The amount of images is perfect, too. There aren't too many that they become undervalued yet not too few that you wish there were more.

Overall, I found Sarah's show extremely successful in what she set out to do. Not only was the idea well carried out but the whole show was very technically accomplished.

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