Pursuing beauty in contemporary art feels off limits. A pretty picture is something that comes with the frame bought in a home decor store. But an artist can use pretty pictures and incorporate it into something else to tell a bigger story. And that’s what Letha Wilson in her exhibition Horizontal Eyes has done. She has expanded the intersection between photography and sculpture by giving a photograph sculpturelike qualities.
She uses landscape photography as the source and uses industrial materials like zinc, aluminum, and steel to turn it into a sculpture. With this merge of the photograph and monumental materials, she mirrors the duality between the natural landscape and our industrial, synthetic society.
For the works on view in the exhibition, Wilson has traveled to the Western United States, Hawaii, and Iceland. In her studio, she manipulates the pictures and works it into the materials that enable extra attention to it. The colorful pictures are folded, torn and broken up, in reference to the artist control of material and space.
In Iceland Utah Canyon Diamond Hole, you have to crawl underneath the artwork to see what’s depicted inside. The outside shows the corten steel, the inside reveals the landscape taken in Iceland and Utah if I had to guess. In Nevada Moon Hug, Wilson bent up the lower edges causing to reveal the interesting part of the landscape. One has to stand close and bend over it to see what’s inside. I loved these subtle forcing the visitor to engage in order to experience the work. Most importantly, Wilson has created abstract works that are testimony our complex relationship with the natural world.