For Volta NY 2017, George Lawson Gallery is pleased to be presenting seven representative works from New York and Massachusetts based photographer Susan Mikula's new series, Kilo, large, framed, chromogenic prints on matte paper from Polaroid originals. Historically, Mikula's working method has exploited an intentionally skewed focus in conjunction with the surface incident, constrained color and serendipity that come from using long-expired Polaroid SX-70 film stock. The current series is shot on third party re-issue film from The Impossible Project in the Netherlands. In all her work, her psychologically charged imagery is open to interpretation, conjuring up contemporary archetypes from sources as disparate as American industry, stock car races, children’s toys and the faces of those in her immediate circle.
Mikula tends to work on serial projects. Her previous groupings, American Bond, u.X, Thrill Show and Picture Book, each address the same over-arching concerns with a fresh motif. In the latest, Kilo, she records an afternoon spent with two young women in a textured but strangely vacant interior. The title stems from Mikula's use the military alphabet code to title her work after a series develops. Kilo was next in the sequence, and appropriately it is the international navigation symbol code for "I wish to communicate with you."
With this simple device, Mikula explores tethers of identity and balances of power. A master of narrative sub-texts, she charts with a journalist's empathy the big questions, ranging in tone from curiosity to terror, and always with a view to the individual's place in the larger cosmos. Her imagery plays with an interchange between decadence and regeneration, casting the contemporary dilemma as a perennial condition, outside time. Kilo is Mikula’s most personal and intimate body of work to date, and seems an apt response to the vulnerabilities of the current climate.