Continuing through May 11, 2019
Matthew Porter’s “Skyline Vista” is, by turns, equally satisfying and frustrating. The hilltop cityscapes, in L.A. and San Francisco, are lovely portraits dripping with golden-hour sunlight, but their lead players-cum-punchline, vintage muscle cars from the 1960s and ‘70s caught in a moment of peak air above the crests of the hills, are fictions that are not easily forgiven. These aren’t re-created scenes from a Steve McQueen movie, or, to get more specific and at least as dated, the TV show “The Streets of San Francisco.” The obvious tip-off to the simulacrum is that each car is devoid of people; the inside dope on the source of the trick is that these are model cars that have been meticulously lit and photographed — and edited in post — to perfectly match their urban street pairings, in all their late-afternoon-sunkissed glory.
In some ways, it’s an old-school Hollywood trope: artifice, façade, mirage … but, to go by what’s experienced upon first encountering the press image of the show, in dimensions small enough to lead you to believe in this being an awesome stunt, it’s also a tease. Who wouldn’t want for these to be sky-flying feats that the artist somehow executed as a photographer-turned-set-director? Still, there’s significant play in how we, as viewers, reconcile ourselves to these fabrications. It at least offers a modicum of conversation, and in the meantime, we can savor some beautiful cityscapes in a new light (literally and figuratively), bathing in their afterglow … if indeed it’s a bath that’s all too brief.