The Lines Are Drawn
March 29th through April 25th, 2008
Opening Reception: March 29th, 6-8 pm
Tarryn Teresa Gallery is pleased to present The Lines Are Drawn, a site-specific installation inspired by the history of Bergamot Station. New York-based artist Ricky Sears employs sculpture and photography to examine issues surrounding Bergamot Station’s use as a former railway station.
Tarryn Teresa Gallery selected Ricky Sears to address this topic as his work is consistently driven by the examination of preservation and change. Continually examining urban and suburban architectural space through site-specific installation work, Sears endeavors to document the changes occurring among individuals living in communities affected by redevelopment. His work engages architecture in order to understand the effect an individual has on interior and exterior space. Sears is also concerned with preserving the history and memory of both natural and constructed environments as the inevitable redevelopment of urban space continues.
Bergamot Station was originally a stop on the Los Angeles & Independence Railroad/Pacific Electric Railway from 1875 – 1953. As a reference to “not in my backyard” opponents who see mass-transit as an encroachment to personal space by lower income residents, the show’s title, The Lines are Drawn, is taken from the phrase that is used to suggest boundaries. Historically, train tracks have come to serve as a physical and metaphorical border that serves as the basis for saying that people come from either the ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ side. In this exhibit, Sears constructs imagery of train tracks by outlining their form with pins on the gallery walls. The shapes are reminiscent not only of tracks, but also of fences, ladders and other shapes that are open to interpretation. These pins are connected to the floor using string to create a three-dimensional form. The installation is there to be moved around and ‘crossed’ - provoking the viewer into thinking about positioning and ‘taking sides’. Sears’ decision to use repetitive forms and materials could also been seen as a reference to the repetitive and sometimes cumbersome process involved in making bureaucratic decisions. We are compelled to pose questions about public transport in a city that is in desperate need of a more efficient system. Who makes the final decisions and for whom? What are the wider cultural implications? These are all possible questions that are presented by the work. The orientation of the shapes on the gallery floor is based on aerial photographs of Bergamot Station, effectively mapping the history and architecture of the complex and creating an abstraction of its blueprint. Through the use of string and thousands of manually bent pins, the lines are literally “drawn” from wall to floor suggesting how boundaries, real or imagined, can manipulate personal and private space.
In the gallery’s front room, Sears presents a unique collection of photo-emulsion works documenting his previously constructed site-specific installations. Being photo emulsions, they will change slightly over time due to their continued exposure to light. Although the photographs are an attempt to preserve temporary constructions, the pictures, like the installation subjects, are non-archival and will disintegrate over time. Therefore, these particular photographs reference the impermanent qualities intrinsic to both photography and site-specific installations.
Sears’ previous installations were all documented in a similar manner prior to their destruction. The images serve as an ongoing memory of the work and a historical reference to how photographs are used to document and preserve memory, both public and private. This documentation is part of an ongoing project and an integral part of Sears’ entire body of work. He uses it as a way to classify and record the history of architecture and the effect people’s decisions have on redevelopment and change. Sears has expanded his project to include residential houses that he photographs shortly before they are demolished. Similar to his installations, the photographs of these houses, next to memory, are nearly all that remain. Sears plans on photographing his installation at Tarryn Teresa Gallery to add to this ongoing project. So while his installation engages the history of Bergamot station and questions its current and possible future redevelopment, the photographs engage the installation itself as a separate architectural entity with its own history.
About the Artist
Ricky Sears earned his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. This is his first Solo Exhibit on the West Coast. He has previously exhibited at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, a MoMA affiliate. Most recently, Sears participated in EAF07: Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. He continues to work on the preservation of public and private space, including the creation of graphite on paper rubbings of interior floor surfaces in Harlem and Lower Manhattan, just prior to their destruction for redevelopment.