Continuing through March 23, 2014
Integrating sound into an exhibition of narrative photographs might seem superfluous, but in the two-person exhibit “See Hear Feel” the recordings of oral histories and ambient sounds accompanying Christopher Churchill’s black-and-white portraits and Debra Bloomfield’s stark landscapes lend complementary mood and gravitas.
Churchill weighs in on faith, family and ethics with portraits of Black Muslims, an evangelical, a girl at her quinceañera, a Pentecostal service and other images connoting spirituality, many of which are next to small speakers that let us hear the subject tell his or her story over several minutes. Especially evocative is “Private Greg Melendez, Acoma, NM” (2007), with the visual being a uniformed man in an isolated desert locale and the audio revealing the subject’s inability to reconcile his Christian faith with the need to hate the enemy in order to be a good soldier.
Bloomfield is known for subdued and minimal views of remote places. Here she focuses on wilderness. She manages to extract beauty from austere views of wet trees in the snow, birds in flight, a lonely isthmus and other exemplars of the subject. The experience is heightened by a low-volume soundscape of cawing birds and rustling branches that fills the gallery.