Artist Colin Snapp’s upbringing occurred beyond your typical urban, suburban or rural distinctions. “I grew up on a small island in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “It was a big deal to leave the island.” Perhaps it was his peculiar worldview, shared only by the 1000 other people sequestered on the Washington State island, that prompted him to focus his recent curatorial undertaking at Williamsburg’s The Journal Gallery on the grey area between rural and urban spaces.
Entitled City Limit, the show consists entirely of photographs (Snapp’s medium of preference). Populated with middle American malls, stagnant landscapes and cityscapes, the exhibit brings beauty to the mundane, drawing our focus from the foreground to the background. “It’s the idea of taking a train from the middle of a city out into the wilderness – that gradient,” Snapp says.
We met the artist at The Journal in Williamsburg (an urban landscape that has undergone some significant changes itself) where he gave us some insight on our favorite pieces.
Deana Lawson, Jouvert, 2013.
“I was looking for an energetic image to add some life to the show. This piece is very much on the periphery of Deana’s practice – for the most part she is a portrait photographer. I like the obscurity the smoke brings to this Jamaican crowd… with one smoke-obscured frat boy in the middle.”
Doug Rickard #104. 100061, Rosewell, NM (2008), 2011
“This image documents the outer regions of a city. The rainy weather and degraded image quality add to this. By using Google Street View, Doug taps into a form of surveillance, creating images that use distance to provide a certain truth that’s impossible to access from a closer proximity.”
Anne Collier, October, 1979.
“Here we see the muse itself making art – it’s a different approach to landscape when compared to the rest of the work, which adds a nice contrast. The show felt a bit cold and masculine and this image helps to break things up. It fit so well with the color gradient on that back wall; there’s a desaturated green happening. It reminds me of grass stains.”
Michael Galinsky Malls Across America #1, 1989
“This image was key to the show’s success. It show’s a grid of shoes in a mall – a very banal image – yet it becomes a form of architecture, reminiscent of a city grid. The way these teenagers are hypnotically staring at these shoes reveal it’s a very important landscape for them. The juxtaposition with the Thomas Struth work (below) allowed for a fresh angle on various ways of looking and experiencing.”
Thomas Struth Audience 13 (Galleria Dell’Accademia), Florenz, 2004
“There is almost too much to say about the juxtaposition between this image and Michael’s… I would rather leave it open-ended. These works speak for themselves.”