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“Gloam” is one of those alluring, mysterious words, a seeming conflation of “glow” and “loam”—iridescence and fertile soil joined in mystery, and magic. Visitor Welcome Center’s The Gloaming focuses in on the un-focusing mood and cadence of day fading into night (“gloaming,” it turns out, means “twilight”). The show’s works traffic in heaping, base ingredients of shadow and light. Twilight, aside its representation(s) in art, is its own show, cutting both towards the inarguably spectral and the tedium of a slow fade.
Spectral. Mystery. Aura. One’s experience of The Gloaming depends largely on one’s tolerance for uncertainty, or the merely vague. Photography, or photographic process, is the rule throughout the exhibition, both its allure and its weakness. Allure in the sense of photography’s capture and perpetuation of a specific light at a specific time; weakness in that some of the works here rely on material to do the heavy lifting of meaning.
Heaviest, and perhaps most meaningful, is Jenny Yurshansky’s Succession (2016), a tilted slab of granite faced with a laser-etched, wrap-around image of an eerily arcade-like forest. Succession is formidable where Yurshansky’s other pieces in the exhibition feel flimsy. Elsewhere, Karen Lee’s Other Days Eyes (diptych) (2016)—moody C-prints on thick cuts of beeswax—feeds off the inarguable beauty of their material, even as the subtlety of each print verges on dull.
In counterpoint to The Gloaming’s grayscale is the high graphic drama of Alexandra Pacheco Garcia’s saturated Kirlian (from the altar of Madeline de Jesus) (2016). A C-print derived from a process involving blood, oil, and holy water, its central figuration reads like a crater of rust. The Gloaming’s subtle, dark energies are here either reversed or pictured in the final achievement of some inchoate, pagan pinnacle.
The Gloaming runs April 23-May 28, 2016 at Visitor Welcome Center (3006 W 7th Street, Suite 200A, Los Angeles, CA 90005)