An oblique exploration of the human figure, the works in Human Craters hint at the human form by placing it at the edge of the frame, removing its details, or presenting only its imprints. Approaching their subjects in manners ranging from the semi-reverent to the comical, the binding factor within the exhibition is an exploration of the remnants of a human presence.
Psychological themes drive works such as Manuela Paz's Suzi photographs: formally lyrical but highlighting the figure's emotional isolation. Looking at an image of a reflection, the viewer is two steps removed from the barely visible subject, emphasizing the distance and disappearance of the form. B.J. Vogt's compositions, based on family photographs of his mother before her brain aneurysm and prolonged death, specifically foreground the psychology of human loss. Attempting to define his mother's place within the photograph, he removes her, copies the image, replaces her, and removes her again while adding seemingly irrelevant pictorial information. This effort to alter the image continuously through multiple stages of reproduction serves to mimic the structures of human memory. Eugenie Tung directs her psychological investigations toward the sites of memories. Working from photographs of friends and family taken in the places she has lived, Tung paints out these loved ones and her belongings, returning the location to a barren state. However, the ghostly outlines of these lives linger in the images, like her memories of the site.
In several works, this disappearance of explicitly human forms is indicative of a transformation of state. Alex Dodge's Super Human Powers present us with gritty photographs of the apparent remnants of a body's spontaneous change of state, reminiscent of crime-scene documentation. Solidifying the negative spaces of the human sinuses, Recorder, by Robert De Saint Phalle, creates a skeletal structure from the cavities of our bodies that re-imagines the human form as pure potential for sound and reverberation. Moving on to sound actualized, Hillary Wiedemann's Conversation Pieces present the crystallized form of the human voice as an extension of the body, offering us representations of the spaces between human forms. This de-materialization of the physical and solidification of the insubstantial points to the tenuousness of the corporeal form that we so often take for granted.
Although ambivalence about the vaulted status of the human body runs through many of these pieces as an undercurrent, it surfaces most directly in Inanimate Dissection by Jason Ferguson. In this work a shoe, taking the place of a cadaver, undergoes a systematic dissection that effectively blurs the distinctions between body and mundane object. Vincent Como's 4.5 Cubic Inches (Volume of the Inside of My Head) grounds an abstraction of the human form in materiality, representing the seat of imagination - the volume inside one's head - as a geometrically-shaped mass formed of the basic element of life: carbon.
Reminders of the physicality and concurrent ephemerality of our bodies, combined with the absence of explicit human forms in these pieces, conjure thoughts of mortality. In this sense, the view of human presence offered in Human Craters is reflective of the political climate fostered in this country over the past eight years in which the normal condition of law is suspended by government at will. Thus human life becomes dependent on the capricious forces of political leadership resulting in a heightened awareness of our transient natures. Picking up on this atmosphere, the works in Human Craters present depictions of the human form in which the figure holds no weight or importance, but rather the temporal and contingent nature of the human body becomes the point of interest.
Due to this preoccupation with ephemerality, notes of mysticism and the supernatural emerge in Human Craters, but are generally grounded by earthy materials and mundane circumstances. However, one can sense throughout these works a desire that the mystery of the marks and remnants we leave behind remain inexplicable.