John Divola

John Divola

Work from the exhibition Trees for the Forest.

““The works on view span the last four decades, and provide an expansive yet necessarily incomplete picture of John Divola’s practice – a canny yet understated  blend of documentary photography, conceptual art, performance and installation. The collection of works begins in 1971 with Divola’s images of women watering their lawns in the San Fernando Valley, and includes his landmark Vandalism and Zuma series from the same decade. While the San Fernando Valley work assumes a more deadpan, observational approach to image making, Divola’s Vandalism and Zuma Series invoke a theatrical tension that blurs the lines between authorship and documentation, sharing “a tradition with artists such as Bruce Nauman, whose photographs are considered to be performance or sculpture, and Robert Smithson, who used photography to investigate the built environment.”1 In these images, vacant, vandalized sites become the stage for Divola’s own observation, documentation, and artistic interventions: walls are spray painted, found piles of detritus become sculptures, and the site itself is a work in situ.

The sway between a structured, observational approach to image making and the free-form, improvisational gestures of his interventions is very much at the crux of Divola’s practice and can be traced from his earliest foundational work of the 1970’s to more recent bodies of work such as Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert (1996-2001), where Divola documents the dogs that chased his car while working in the Southern California desert; As Far as I Could Get (1996/1997), where Divola sets up a camera and runs away from it during a given exposure; and Dark Star (2008), where his melding of intervention and observation continues to be in the foreground in large-format, color work made during the last decade.” – Wallspace Gallery

via Zero 1

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