In the January show at Perspective, the gallery’s 2024 Members Exhibition, member curators Susan Isaacson, Monica Kass Rogers and Bob Tanner chose well from among their colleagues’ photographs. Most of the images illustrate the title of the exhibition, demonstrating ways in which people connect with and disconnect from one another in the course of daily life.
In a very touching piece, Nelson Armour gives us a quartet of images printed in a grid showing people on his block during COVID lockdown. The didactic relates that Armour offered to take family portraits of any families that wanted them. He stood on the sidewalk, and they sat masked on their porches depicting that period of extreme isolation. The images confirm the human need for connection. Another exceptionally moving image is by Monica Kass Rogers of her elderly father, bent forward so we see only the top of his head and his hunched back. It is a lonely image, a sad one, portraying the disconnection of aging.
Member Suzanne Metzel has captured a secondary school student in a window of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium of old town Dubrovnik. The girl gazes directly at Metzel through the glass, her expression difficult to read, but there is clearly a connection, even if momentary. Chris Schneberger offers a large-scale image of two young women lying in a fallow field, staring and pointing at the sky, presumably lost in that age-old game of naming what the clouds look like. They are connected with one another, and connected to the earth on which they lie. It is a comforting, nostalgic image and evokes memories of childhood innocence and friendship.
Paula Shur presents a diptych showing one man—half of him in the left frame and the other half in the right frame. In each, he is linking arms or holding hands with different women. The image is cryptic but fascinating as the viewer’s mind decodes the body language of the subjects. There are no clues in facial expressions, as the images are cropped at the shoulders. One of the only brightly colored images, which is titled “Global Studies,” by Katsy Johnson, is of a teacher’s abandoned desk littered with mathematics flashcards and a globe showing South America prominently aimed toward the viewer. Johnson has added oil paint and encaustic wax to the photographic print, increasing its mystery. In the didactic, she says, “Imagine teaching world geography from a tiny rural schoolhouse about faraway places you would never see.”
Each artist has, in his or her own way, addressed the theme, some more succinctly than others. The fact is all of us should be able to relate, as we experience both connection and disconnection in our lives every day—that’s what it means to be alive and to be human.
“Connection/Disconnection” is on view at Perspective Gallery, 1310 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, through January 28.