Coke Wisdom O'Neal
Please Mr. Bowie, Come to My Show
MAY–JULY 2007Mixed Greens is thrilled to present Coke Wisdom O’Neal’s newest body of photographs. Consistent with his last two exhibitions, O’Neal’s work seeks to fuse photography with sculptural concepts. For this series, he addresses the tension of a 2-dimensional art form striving to resolve itself in 3-dimensional space.
In film and video, the camera appears to record a full view of its subject. Inspired by this technology, yet committed to the mechanics of a traditional still-camera, O’Neal shoots the front and back of his subject without digital effects, Photoshop or retouching. The effect is uncanny and the viewer is tempted to test the accuracy of the synchronized views. Through very low-tech means, O’Neal captures a dual perspective and uncovers details normally hidden from a single lens.
In both the north and south galleries, O’Neal confronts the viewer with the “back” of each of his subjects. Whether it is a shot of a person or a tree, the viewer appears to be placed behind the action, out of the subject’s gaze. In order to view the photograph in its entirety, the visitor is required to walk around each of the dozens of pedestals or hanging devices. Rarely is photography so experiential.
O’Neal’s previous two bodies of work were unconventional portraits. In Medicine Cabinets, the viewer was able to imagine the lives connected to a series of open medicine cabinets by examining an accumulation of products. In the Box series, the viewer met a collection of subjects situated in a 22-foot-tall plywood box. In these most recent photographs, O’Neal is still a voyeur – but this time his synchronized method reveals a new perspective still-cameras rarely capture.
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