Contemporary artists Gus Foster, Carlos Silva Troncoso, and Roberto Vignoli approach the time-honored photographic panorama from different stances—traditional, fractured, overturned. Exploring how the format can offer new, relevant perspectives in today’s culture of image feeds and smartphone snapshots, the artists tease out the panorama’s ability to inspire awe in a current exhibition at 333 Montezuma Arts.
We’ve come a long way since the panorama was first used in the 18th century, when the term denoted an enterprising artist who would fill a circular room with a painting of a sweeping cityscape or an infinite countryside. Visitors would pay a shilling for the 360-degree experience. People swooned and the visual device spread to other formats and mediums, with creatives of all sorts making use of its capability to amaze. The panorama is no longer a new approach to image-making. Such is Foster, Silva, and Vignoli’s challenge—and advantage.
Foster maintains the integrity of the traditional wide-angle capture, offering vistas of the American West that still hold up as sublime, but with ominous implications. The lush Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Range, Colorado, 384 Degree Panoramic Photograph meets a less idyllic counterpart in Packerland, 360 Degree Panoramic Photograph, suggesting the possibility of an expiration date for the technicolor mountainscape.
Vignoli deconstructs the panorama by weaving together individual photographs in collage-like pastiches. In Piazza di Spagna - Il cielo di via Condotti, the seemingly spontaneous arrangement of images communicates the energy of a real-time experience of an urban street. The visceral quality of Vignoli’s images is further enhanced by the installation of a portion of the piece—the area representing the sky—on the ceiling of the gallery.
“Panorama” is on view at 333 Montezuma Arts Apr. 25th – Jun. 13th, 2014.