America – in blue, white and a touch of red

Post by Cate Fallon

Zoe Strauss
Zoe Strauss sitting at Silverstein Gallery signing copies of her book America at the opening of her show.   Photos in this post by Cate Fallon.

The night of the opening was cold and windy, so it was good to see a supportive, warm turnout — with beer and pretzels in the “house” and the mood one of family celebration.  The feeling of Zoe Strauss‘s “America: We Love Having You Here” at Silverstein Gallery is of home and comfort – although some of the images are anything but comfortable.

Zoe Strauss

The landscape of the gallery requires that you enter, pass one threshold, a second chamber, and then a third: Each area is like a room in a house, although at times a house without walls. Perhaps it was the evening atmosphere, but the movement from front gallery to back was darker and darker with the darkest room in the rear devoted to the slide show.

Zoe Strauss

Hung as an installation, the show has several walls papered with large digitally-printed images. One wall is covered in clouds (the sky); the opposite wall is a field (the ground) with the hint of a tunnel below.

Zoe Strauss

The front of the gallery is set off with an image of a young girl sliding on a “Titanic” ride. This image is mounted on a wall papered with an image of clapboard siding – a disorienting juxtaposition that works.

Zoe Strauss installation at Silverstein

Once you pass this image (cross the threshold), the next space is divided into two halves – one fairly bright with a grouping of images on the wall. Two old fashioned easy chairs give the space the feeling of a living room, and the smaller and unframed images create a circle of faces and memories like a proper family room display. People sat in the chairs and some drifted around the images –- beer and pretzels in hand –- discussing the scenes as if at a family gathering.

Zoe Strauss

Zoe Strauss opening
Crowd at the opening.

Printed on matte paper and framed without glass, the works are rather delicate pieces which is ironic since many of the images themselves are indelicate.

–Photographer Cate Fallon teaches digital media at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Tagscate fallon, silverstein photography, zoe strauss
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