Variations: A Gathering of Photographic Ideas

Bona Thompson Memorial Center
Indianapolis, Indiana

March 31 – May 16, 2010

Curated by Ginny Taylor Rosner

The suite of six photographs presented in this group exhibition, “Variations,” reflects the present day’s political and economic climate and the corresponding search for inner spirituality.

List of Photographs

High Treazon
2010, Indianapolis, Indiana

Over the last two years I’ve been watching this ever-changing spot in an Indianapolis alley. There were evolving political statements, advertisements, personal messages, territory marking, etc. Finally, late this winter, the time felt right to make a photograph.

The different layers of paint, stickers and postings on a translucent background along with the range of values (black, white and grays) give the photograph a three dimensional feeling.

Greater Faith House of Prayer
2009, Indianapolis, Indiana

On a gorgeous sunny winter afternoon, the white painted brick of the Greater Faith House of Prayer, and its sign, with the schedule of services, glowed. The building appeared to be a beacon within the neighborhood.

The simplicity of the scene belies the complicated and difficult tasks that are undertaken behind the white wall. The simple, humble doorway is the gateway to redemption.

American Dream I and American Dream II
2009 and 2010, Noblesville, Indiana

I first came across this scene late last fall. The hand painted sign, including a directional arrow, proclaimed, “Hiring.” As the recession was deepening, this was good news. Unfortunately the scene would soon change.

The second time I visited the scene, late this winter, the sign’s message had changed to “For Lease.” The business was gone but on the porch, the American flag still flew. This time I decided to examine and photograph the scene from several points of view.

Today the sign is gone, the flag is gone. This evolving scene clearly represents our ongoing economic decay and, for many, the loss of the American Dream.

Fool’s Paradise
2009, Somewhere in Michigan

The sun was straining to break through the clouds on a misty morning. Driving north along a Michigan highway, in the distance I caught sight of this towering gas sign. Approaching the sign I saw that the sign was standing guard over an abandoned truck stop.

The weathered sign, stripped bare of any advertising, was, in my mind, a metaphor for many things – the eroding economy, the world’s unsustainable dependence upon oil, dreams unfulfilled, abandonment. I chose to photograph only the sign and just a bit of the overgrowth that was reclaiming the site. The photograph was taken directly into the misty sun.

Wages of Sin
2009, Saugatuck, Michigan

I have been photographing this sign for at least seven years. Until I made this triptych, I have never been satisfied with any of the images.

This day the light was diffused through a misty, hazy Lake Michigan sky. The black letters appeared to float off of the white background.

For all of the years Satch and I have been visiting Saugatuck, this sign has been very well maintained. To this message, obviously someone is very committed.

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