George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco
For VOLTA13, George Lawson Gallery is presenting two solo booths with work by Susan Mikula and Michael Voss.
New York and Massachusetts based photographer Susan Mikula will exhibit selections from her series Kilo, chromogenic prints from Polaroid originals. Historically, Mikula has employed an intentionally skewed focus along with the surface incident, constrained color, and serendipity that come from using long-expired Polaroid SX-70 film stock. The current series is shot on third-party reissue film from The Impossible Project in the Netherlands. Her psychologically charged imagery is open to interpretation, conjuring up archetypes from sources as disparate as American industry, stock car races, children’s toys and the faces of those in her immediate circle.
Mikula's previous groupings, American Bond, u.X, Thrill Show and Picture Book, each address the same over-arching concerns with a fresh motif. In the latest, Kilo, she records an afternoon spent with two young women in a textured but strangely vacant interior. The title stems from Mikula’s use the military alphabet code to title her work after a series develops. Kilo was next in the sequence, and appropriately it is the international navigation symbol code for “I wish to communicate with you.” Mikula explores tethers of identity and balances of power. A master of narrative sub-texts, she charts with a journalist’s empathy the big questions, ranging in tone from curiosity to terror, always with a view to the individual’s place in the larger cosmos.
Michael Voss will exhibit small-scale oils on linen. Voss was born in Brazil of German parentage and now lives and works in New York. Voss works a kind of plate tectonics of painting, setting up drifting continental shelves that collide, kick up along their fault zones, and form topologies in the process. He maps the congealed masses, showing the way around the horn and how far inland this tributary will take us. He shows who passed this way through the brush, and whether they were in a hurry or not. It is as if we were getting our news from tree bark. They seem low tech, as painting, except in as much as painting forms the perennial base condition technology addresses.
The weight of the mission Voss has undertaken can be measured against the value we place on our own sensate experience of the world, and by how much we still navigate with a visual acuity indelibly linked to our sense of touch.