The Artists "Review" Artists Project was launched on June 30, 2008. Below is a "review" of John Lucien Grillo's work, Drift Away, written by Joseph Barbaccia. John provided the second jpeg, an image of Euclidean, as well as a brief response to Joseph's "review."
John currently resides in Washington, D.C., and Joseph lives in Potomac Falls, VA.
If you would like to participate in this project, please email me at jtkirkland [at] gmail [dot] com.
Review. A critical evaluation. To see over. What this means to me is a subsequent expression of my initial thoughts and emotions in a more rational way, in order to share them with others. Another question that “reviewing” brings up is how the viewing and reviewing of an art object changes or completes it. From my point of view I bring many associations to the image; some of which I’m sure the artist never intended. The meaning and value of an object changes according to the lens of the
viewer’s experience and knowledge. This point would take much more space than allowed here, so let’s talk about his particular piece.
But first let me state that I haven’t seen the original photo. I’m reacting to a jpg on my computer screen. This would normally put me at a disadvantage; but since this review will be seen from a computer, I’m confident we’re all on the same page (pun intended).
This being said, all we know about the piece is that it measures 4” H x 6” W, was created this year, and that it’s a “cross-processed pinhole photograph.” Now, I must admit I had to look that up. Cross-processing, or Xpros, is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The resultant photos are often characterized by unnatural colors and high contrast; as in this photograph titled “Drift Away”. To assist me with envisioning the
actual print I used a color ink jet printer to output to the stated dimensions and taped it to my studio wall. This method is visually a further step away from the original, but closer to how I might actually view the photo. The smallish size of the print forces me to poke my nose nearer to the image than I ordinarily would. (I must admit, I’m terribly near-sighted) This does two things. It creates an intimacy with the piece that, if I were to view the actual item, I’m sure would accentuate the materials. Alas, no materials, just pixels. Also, the immediacy, by putting me physically off balance (nose past toes), causes a slight unease which is apropos given the subject.
No matter. We’ve been down this road before. The sentiment is familiar. Quasi-abstract forms in perspective lead the eye down an unclean city alley to the light at the right, only to be stopped by a dead-end dark brick wall. It’s an often used metaphor for an urban area. Is the image slightly out of focus? Hard to tell in the jpg. Ghoulish green further alienates the scene. The gritty grain is a metaphor for the grime and grit found in many back alley lives.
The title, “Drift Away”, is escapist.
I’m outta here.
I love the fact that Joseph used the word “escapist”. A few days after I first had “Drift Away” developed, I wrote a poem that accompanies the shot -
My reality slips into the divide,
Somewhere between forgotten and recall
Like electricity seeking ground.
Pathways of thought are barren.
The glyphs on the walls no longer recognizable
Though the paint still drips.
My unconsciousness wanders
In anticipation of the dawn
That promises to erase the details
And awaken the eye of perception.
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