Friday, November 02, 2007

Brian Oglesbee

So we have this new show up at the local gallery by Brian Oglesbee. His work is awesome, but walking through the first time I kept thinking of him as Man Ray the Second before I realized I wasn’t looking at crooked photographs – these are all unaltered. Where Man Ray showed us how photographs could be constructed and taught us that photographs are all lies, Oglesbee takes it a step further.

His Water Series is so dependent on context for meaning. Each one can – and does – say its own, but only through stringing them all together did I realize that each were telling different pieces of a whole. Just like his images are composed of different parts of an/the image, each image is a part/piece of his whole. He is taking the next step from Man Ray’s “photography is a lie so let us lie” and pointing out that what we see is a lie because of our preconceptions. Seeing them most people think “Oh that’s beautiful Photoshop,” or “He is a darkroom god.” But once the realization came that his photographs are unaltered I started to question what we see. I remembered different experiences where what I thought I saw turned out to be something else. Like in Paris I swore there was a gunman on the roof but it wasn’t, it was just scaffolding. So if what we see is not truthful – not even accurate – but we still take it to be such, what does that make us?

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