There’s something magical about searching for art amidst the flat files. As wall space gallery owner Crista Dix says, “Looking through the flat files at the gallery is like heading to a buffet and coming back for thirds and fourths. Every drawer is filled with unique work, unlike the drawer before it, and the one after unlocks even more visual desserts.”
Let’s take a peek inside the flat files.
Penny, Spring Fever, by Aline Smithson, courtesy of wall space gallery
This series, entitled “Spring Fever,” is a take on childhood, womanhood and the future. Inspired by Michael Apted’s ongoing “7-Up” documentary series—chronicling the lives of British children every seven years through adulthood—based on the Jesuit maxim, “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.”
Aline Smithson says, “In this case, I give you the girl. ‘Spring Fever’ explores the idea of childhood and beyond, capturing seven-year-old girls wearing 1950’s spring hats. Juxtaposing hats traditionally worn by women half a century older with the visual of a child on the threshold of knowledge and sophistication allows us a glimpse into the future, and possibly a reflection of a face that wore a head full of flowers long ago.”
Smithson has had solo exhibitions throughout the United States, China and Europe and her work is in a number of museum collections.
Outlet and Painting on Wall, by John Chervinsky, courtesy of wall space gallery
This work represents John Chervinsky’s photographic investigation into the nature of time, light, space and gravity. He creates these conceptual pieces by first composing and photographing a still life; cropping a subset of the image and sending it to a painting factory in China; waiting for an anonymous artist to complete an oil painting of the cropped section, and send it back in the mail; then reinserting the painting into the original setup and re-photographing the piece.
Chervinsky states, “ I’m interested in issues relating to perspective. I’m interested in the tensions expressed in the comparison between reality versus representation. I’m interested what happens when I collaborate with another artist that has no idea that they are involved in a collaboration, and I’m interested in seeing and expressing subtle changes over time that we might otherwise take for granted.”
Hot Wheels, by Bill Finger, courtesy of wall space gallery
With a background in photography and more than 20 years working on movie sets, Bill Finger creates photographs of miniature scenes that seem life-sized. Handcrafting each element, he builds miniature dioramas of narrative scenes that serve as the subject of his large-scale photographs.
“… I put the camera into the scenes as though it’s the viewer’s point of view, making the viewer a participant,” states Finger. “I also play with the idea of a filmic place that only exists to be photographed and then is destroyed after the photograph [is shot]. This happens in real life too. … I’m creating temporary places that are coming out of my imagination, but they exist in the real world as long as it takes me to photograph them.”
Space Oddity, featuring work by Bill Finger, John Chakeres, Charles Grogg and Ryan Zoghlin, will be on view from May 30 through June 28 at wall space gallery, 116 E. Yanonali St. C-1, 805/637-3898, wall-spacegallery.com.
Ryuijie: Color Ice Form No. 55, courtesy of wall space gallery
The subject matter in this series is botanicals frozen in blocks of ice. The ice is as important as the flowers it encases, providing an element of the unexpected and unpredictable. This element can be likened to the Japanese principle of wabi sabi—beauty in nature in all its imperfections.
“Taking spring flowers and stopping time, Ryuijie has managed to mix line, form and texture to brilliant effect,” says Crista Dix, owner of wall space gallery. Crafted by freezing the blooms, then illuminating them with light, these painterly images capture the eternal warmth of the season.
Ryuijie, who was born in Otaru, Japan, has steadfastly pursued his own photographic vision for more than 30 years. An exceptionally prolific artist, works by Ryuijie can be found in private and public collections worldwide.
“Photography is such a unique art form. Most think it’s about what image can be captured from a phone, like landscapes or selfies, but photography can be so much more,” says Dix. “It is fun for me to be involved in releasing someone’s creativity when they come in to look at work and see anything is possible.”
All photographs pictured can be found in the flat files at wall space gallery.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Spring 2015.