Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Dark Room: Saturday, 7 March 2015

Crime Scenes by Sarah-Marie Land, The Dark Room’s next photography exhibition is on display from March 7th through April 30th, and will celebrate its opening on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 with a reception held by Sarah Marie, the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, and curator Jason Gray from 6-9pm.

“Beginning with a collection of news articles, crimes specific to the city of St. Louis, I commenced the creation of a series of fragmented images and text. After having researched the selected crimes, articles, I traveled to each exact location and investigated the visual environment. I am extremely drawn to the manner in which objects, spaces and environments are organized – the way in which visual elements are connected (i.e. – natural and man-made). I also seek to better understand our psychological associations and experiences with physical spaces, structures.

I explored this project in an investigative manner similar to that of Sophie Calle, Thomas Demand, Weegee, Frances Glessener Lee and Corinne May Botz (The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death), and Anglea Strassheim.  In particular, Calle assumes the role of a detective in her project titled, “The Hotel”, where she documents the objects and belongings of hotel guests in a voyeuristic manner. Assuming the role of detective, I also approached and explored each crime scene in a voyeuristic, detective-like manner. In addition, I was fascinated with her project “The Blind”, as she incorporates images and texts, actual events and reimagined visualizations. I believe the photographs by Corinne May Botz (The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death) are also a great influence concerning the reconstruction of a crime scene. In my work, I deconstruct an environment while constructing an image.

The asymmetrical landscapes are visual and psychological dissections of a crime in a particular environment.  By creating diptychs, I seek to challenge and extend understandings of the actual and imagined.”

- Sarah-Marie Land

“Photography is easily one of the most elusive mediums in art.  This is because responses to the photographic are so varied; one can be enthralled by the subject depicted or the compositional design, just as easily as they can be struck with a sense of familiarity, even solidarity, or conversely, dismay.  An image made by a camera imparts all sorts of wisdom, about a person, place or thing, at the same moment as it conceals the full truth about that object.  

When one approaches Sarah-Marie Land's Crime Scenes for the first time, the possibilities are endless.  What are these places so curiously juxtaposed?  Does it matter that I recognize some of the locations, but not others?  What is the connection between all of these?  As I stood, staring into one of the diptychs, a memory linked to the location that I was viewing came to me.  Then I read the small caption beneath the photographs, and the experience that I was having vaporized in an instant.  The mystery was revealed, and suddenly all of the possibilities that had just existed became one.  This is not a trap, nor is it an accident.

That the artist should cite Sophie Calle and Thomas Demand as influences is not surprising.  For, like those artists, Land's work constructs an interplay between the artist, photograph and viewer that invites a dialogue between photographic truth and obfuscation.”

- Curator, Jason Gray

 Monday: closed. Tuesday-Thursday: 4pm-11pm. Friday-Saturday: 4pm-12am. Sunday: Open on some Sundays during high theater season. Check social media & website for updates.

615 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63013


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