Marci Branagan on Civilian Art Projects

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Congratulations to Jayme McLellan, Brigitte Reyes, and all those working with Civilian Art Projects on their new great space! The new gallery is located on the third floor of 406 7 th Street N.W. in Washington, D.C.

The first show in their new permanent home includes the photographic works of two of Civilian’s artists, Jason Falchook and Jason Zimmerman. There is also work behind the wall of the main space by several of the gallery’s other artists. I will concentrate on the two Jasons.

Falchook’s five large photographs show his technical acuity while presenting images of exciting theater. His photograph, “Division Chief”, shows both the magic of the urban lightpost and a suspicion of its’ presumption. In all of the photographs, the industrial is presented with its sense of loneliness and yet the buildings and lots have a seeming lack of a need for populous. There is both a respect for the mechanical nature of urban spaces and a sense of its tragedies.

Zimmerman’s nine photographs are also without human population although the replacement he gives us is different. The photographs show the awkwardness of living space and human remnants that become trails of once-someone-was-here. The blue jay and the icing on aluminum foil, even the stickers, hover between the sweet and the onset of decay. The literal mention of decay is in “Untitled (blue jay)” which is well placed as punctuation in the midst of allusions to the fragile. (It is odd that for the most part, when we get to look at birds up close, it is because they are dead and now specimens for our curiosity.) Zimmerman’s concern with space is somehow in reference to a thingness of space, that the awkwardness of the our moderation of space and landscape is that we can’t help but leave our stuff behind. The image of the shallow-floating jellyfish is the least dependent on human interaction but it reads similarly to the tennis ball; somehow both are abandoned. Then further, this abandonnment becomes more marker than sentiment. There is not a request to feel something so much as a command to “follow me”. (Marci Branagan)

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