August 4 – November 7, 2017
Closing Reception TBD
Anyone from a manufacturing background has a propensity for visual depictions of measurement, process and outcome. Whether it be an excel graph for tracking a trend, a work flow diagram following a widget through production or a fish bone chart to problem solve, it is easier to analyze with a pictorial rendering than a spread sheet of raw numbers or a written description of a procedure. This is the thread of the idea leading to “The Visual Metric” exhibition for the Griffin Museum of Photography.
What is a metric? Loosely put, a metric is a system for measuring the relationship between linked elements. Creating a metric involves unbiased observation over a period of time, mapping observations into numbers, and creating ratios that have a relationship to the outcome. The result of the ratio is the metric.
Metrics can also mean the measure of a meter. While the metric system never quite took hold in the United States as the daily norm for measure, we rely on conversion charts to understand the meaning when presented to us.
Recently a friend took me to the hospital due to an injury I incurred. The hospital set me in a chair to weigh me. When I realized what they were doing I told my friend to leave the room. The nurse told me not to worry as the scale reported in kilograms and nobody understands what that means. I asked my friend if she could convert kilograms to pounds. “Not even if my life depended on it,” she replied.
For the purpose of this exhibition I did not intend to actually hold fast to statistical principles but only suggest scientific measure. In the end I am more concerned with the poetry of the visual metric rather than in its veracity.
In finding candidates to exhibit, I looked for photographs that visually mapped, measured, analyzed, or implied a system of topological relationships albeit sometimes imprecisely. As the curator, I take great enjoyment from exercising curatorial license as in this exhibit. Photographers submitted selections for me based on a “call for entry.” Other photographers I invited from my recollection of their work. There are fifty photographs in this exhibition and forty-two photographers. Two of these photographers work collaboratively. The artists come from all over the United States and Canada. The artists included are:
Roger Archibald, Julie Anand and Damon Sauer, Rachel Barrett, Karen Bell, Meg Birnbaum, Joy Bush, Kim Campbell, Richard Alan Cohen, Charan Devereaux, Norm Diamond, Randi Ganulin, Karen Garrett de Luna, Steve Gentile, Mary Daniel Hobson, Carol Isaak, Andrew Janjigian, Frances Jakubek, Doug Johnson, Marky Kauffmann, Sant Khalsa, Tom Lamb, Susan Lapides, Ralph Mercer, Noritaka Minami, Adam Neese, Troy Paiva, Barry Rosenthal, Daryl-Ann Saunders, Nicolo Sertorio, Sara Silks, Jean Sousa, Jane Szabo, JP Terlizzi, Donna Tramontozzi, David Weinberg, Grace Weston, Julie Williams-Krishnan, Susan Wilson, DM Witman, Dianne Yudelson, and Charlyn Zlotnik.
Collaborators Julie Anand and Damon Sauer photographed “a system of 256 calibration targets that were created as part of a secret surveillance program in the mid-1960s in the Sonoran Desert.” In addition they mapped “specific satellites present in the sky at each site at the moment of photographing using a satellite tracking application.” (Anand and Sauer)
Noritaka Minami photographs the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo. Architect Kisho-Kurokawa, built the tower in 1972. “The …… aim was to formulate flexible designs that facilitate continual growth and renewal of architecture. Kurokawa attached the building with 140 removable capsules to promote modifications to the structure over time, theoretically improving its capacity to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions of the post-industrial society.” (Minami)
Dianne Yudelson sets up a scene of measuring tape and a pattern for making clothing. She says, “My image represents the process of how we use measurement to map our bodies.” Jane Szabo created a dress made out of maps, while JP Terlizzi stitched on a photograph of his mother. Karen Bell presents her stiches on her hand while Carol Isaak photographs a tracing of a hand.
“In today’s world, consumer goods are increasing in volume. At the same time their useful lives are shorter and shorter,” says Barry Rosenthal. He lines up and photographs in a manner as if to count all the objects that he’s pulled from the shores of New York Harbor. David Weinberg lays out pomegranate seeds in a similar way.
Several photographers measured time in different ways. Meg Birnbaum and Randi Ganulin used tree rings as a metric. Donna Tramontozzi photographed the marks on the wall of a familial home where a family watched all of the children grow. Susan Lapides makes a comparison of the time in different times zones. Jean Sousa presents a body turning to stone.
Mapping was presented in multiple ways by globes, aerial views and land and terrain maps. Roger Archibald photographed random snails’ trails. Geometry is also woven through the exhibition in architecture and the landscape. Kim Campbell maps a process while Norm Diamond charts the colors for a painting.
“The Visual Metric” has been organized to flow as a narrative from the beginning to end of the passageway. We hope our audience enjoys the exhibit and finds more interpretations of the visual metric within the show. Any questions regarding the artwork can be directed to the Griffin Museum at 781-729-1158 or via email to email@example.com. We open with the exhibit on August 4, 2017 and end in early November.
We want to thank the Downtown Boston Improvement District and Lafayette City Center for their continued support of the Griffin Museum of Photography. We have enjoyed every moment you have allowed us to exhibit here.