Talia Chetrit - Readings on Renwick Gallery

Perception is often the source of many deceptions. Photography lends itself to this idea, as it is a means of recording phenomena with light that often results in an alteration of what we actually see. Presenting a series of photographs that seem to exist between the experimental and the abstract, Talia Chetrit’s first solo show at Renwick Gallery evokes readings on perception, space, color and light, where the process and act of photographing outweighs the final image produced.

In her most recent work, the subject serves the purpose of being merely an excuse for exploring and investigating the medium of photography and the ways of approaching optical space and time. An example is Vase/Grid, where a vase stands against a backdrop of a seemingly upward moving grid. A simple image that examines the relationship between the object, depth of field and our perception of space. The glass provides a distortion of the grid behind it, revealing how a rigid geometric form metamorphoses into a more maleable, softer structure. Here, Chetrit uses abstract vocabularies and basic photographic techniques to build compositions that take us back to the “moment” of interpretation, to reconfigure our mind to respond to visual stimuli.

In this selection of work, and much like her previous photographs, Chetrit paints compositions with light that explore the manipulative techniques intrinsic to photography. An image that draws attention for its composition is Vase with Color Corners, where the artist photographs a soiled vase in a simple white background. Similar to Vase/Grid, the object is of little importance. In fact, it seems to be floating in mid-air and flooded with light, for it has no reference that points to the space it occupies. Apart from the cloudiness of the vase and the carefully nuanced colored corners, the image might be a boring centered representation. However, and as the title suggests, the significance of the image relies on the corners and the ways the artist represents and experiments with light, color and spatial awareness.

In many ways, the exhibition challenges the limits of our perceptive abilites and the ways we see photography as a medium solely dedicated to representing objects and scenarios as a means for a deeper analysis of our surrounding realities. It is a photographic counterpart of what Maurice Merleau-Ponty describes as phenomenological, where “we know not through our intellect but through our experience.”

Originally published on ARTPULSE Magazine