JTF (just the facts): A total of 40 works, framed in black and matted, hung against green walls in a small single room gallery located at the far rear of the lower level. The images are a mixture of gelatin silver prints, montage/collage, cliche-verre, solarization, negative prints, and offset lithography. The mixed-media prints were made between the 1960s and the 1990s. (Since no photography is allowed at the ICP, unfortunately there are no installation shots of this show. Rifle Bullets and Daisies, 1967, at right, via the ICP website.)
The images collected at the ICP all center of highly charged, often political subjects: the Vietnam War, nuclear waste/warfare, and environmental destruction/ecological catastrophe. There are cooling towers, dead eagles, guns and bullets, deforested pine stumps, and references to the Exxon Valdez and other oil spills. Unlike a documentary photograph which purports to tell some sort of truth, leaving it up to the viewer to draw his/her own conclusions, Wood’s works are obviously opinionated; there is no confusion about where he stands on these issues, given the dark, shadowy montages and juxtapositions that he has created. While not falling into the easy traps of propaganda, Wood mixes his imagery to create sometimes harsh, confrontational works that force us to see these important issues from his point of view. And while I can’t say these works are fun exactly, they are certainly a splash of cold water to wake you up and get you thinking.
- Main exhibition John Wood: On the Edge of Clear Meaning at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (here)
- Exhibition catalogue (here)
- NY Times review (here)
1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036