Beings seem to die out, seem to be extinguished, with such increasing rapidity that we wonder whether we'll ever witness the birth of something new again. We think that maybe we'll only ever see the death of things. We try to hold onto those dying moments. We try to record, to document, to taxidermy the final example of the species. We become aware of our damning connectedness with every thing that we inadvertently erase. We lack the words to describe or contemplate ecological totality. We are in thrall, therefore, to the images of destruction. Images that seduce or horrify us. It is all very much like art. It is all very much like this art in particular.
Installation view, from Dianne Tanzer Gallery Projects Facebook page
Betra Fraval's exhibition at Dianne Tanzer Gallery Projects makes you aware of your environment. According to the website, the exhibition is ecological in nature. Entitled "A Time of Disappearances", the exhibition is about catching the disappearances of moments and entities even as they fade into nonexistence.
The work is black. Black gouache on Arches paper and black branches, birds and other objects give the space a funereal quality. The black fields on which white constellation-like images are assembled seem to be a kind of nothingness. The white paint swims on the surface of the black, marking out birds and trees. They seem ghostly. They seem like they are the last residue of something that was once much more real and corporeal. They seem like you are just imagining them or hallucinating them. You think maybe you need to talk to a psychiatrist about this.
You are so aware of such a small array of things - black, white, rectangle, branches - that you hyperfocus on them until you seem to be a part of them. You pick your way across the floor of the gallery, trying not to step on any of the black detritus strewn across it. In doing so you become a part of the space of the exhibition. You engage explicitly and physically with the gallery environment. You become aware of the ecology of the gallery space itself.