One of the missions of photography is to make us see the world around us through different eyes. We drive by a building every day on the way to work, or pass by a bridge, or a park, only rarely, if ever, stopping to see the shape and dynamic of things; how they define the personality of a community.
Architectural and contemporary landscape photographer Neal Johnson works in Louisville, Kentucky, and his deceptively simple images perform this function for the viewer, but occasionally they do much more. In “Lightening Rod”, a light fixture for a public space evokes mystery and the suggestion of an enigmatic presence representative of “the other” (think monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey). The light seems to have some intention beyond simply illuminating a dark place.
“Look Out” captures a human structure that echoes the verticality of the forest surrounding it, but it also seems to imply the limitations of human design; functional but never as prosaic as the tree it unknowingly emulates, it provides an approach that, could be argued, allows us to position ourselves as superior to nature. And “Space School” locates an arrangement of contrasting forms bisected by another strong vertical and reinforced by color and the placement of an oversize numeral character.
That idea of disruption doesn’t preclude harmony, as we see in “Invasive”. Here Johnson suggests that such an intrusive quality emanates from the natural world, so that we are made to question some of our assumptions about the imprint our species make on the earth. Once humans began using tools, we changed the world, but how much of our invasiveness fits into the organic equation, and at what point did we tip the balance?
Johnson will be exhibiting photographs from his 'Future Perfect' project at PART Studio, 815 South 6th Street, in the South of Broadway area of downtown Louisville, with a public reception April 26th from 6:30-9:30pm.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Associates degree in graphic design.
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.