Sublime and unsentimental (so far)

Untitled 2, Alexander Solomon

Untitled 2, Alexander Solomon

What looks like a tremendous show opened Friday at Manifest, including this great landscape  from Alexander Solomon. I’m pretty sure we’re looking at a meticulously constructed diorama which the artist has then carefully lit and photographed. Hard to tell much more about it, and there’s very little information about the artist on the Web, but it looks superb on the invitational postcard I got from Manifest. Dioramas have become a fascinating branch of art, especially from people like James Casebere, Matthew Albanese, Amy Bennett and now, apparently, Alexander Solomon. (We had a photograph by Claudia Fainguersch, similar to some of Solomon’s, in a juried show at Viridian Artists not long ago.)

I must have done something wrong in a previous life, which brings with it a recurrent payback in this one every time I want to be in Cincinnati. It’s a city just barely too far away for me to get there more than once a year, if that. For me, it’s essentially as inaccessible as L.A., given the hours/cost required either on the road or in the air. Otherwise, I’d show up for every opening at Manifest, a little oasis of sanity and quality for artists around the world. Fallback position: I’m going to do some browser hunting of the artists in this landscape show to get a better look at their contributions to Vista.

On Mr. Solomon I could find only terse and/or cryptic comments he’s made about his own work. He appears to be a recent art school grad. What little I did find was interesting, especially his second observation below:

For any landscape, my goal is to make something sublime and unsentimental. To my mind, that combination tends to consist of pairing opposites.

I’m curious why I feel a compunction to coldly approach this kind of work and the fear of sentimentality that I’ve experienced throughout the contemporary art world.

For the viewer, I hope my work is like the cave in The Empire Strikes Back, “What’s in there?” “Only what you take with you.”

May the force be with you Alexander. Keep making scenes like Untitled 2.

There are impressive shots here, if you want a detail of this work (the scene is so amazingly rendered that I keep questioning whether or not I’m  looking at something he constructed rather than an actual scene, but I’m sticking to my story. The silvery car helps.) Plus  another similar scene, just as impressive, of a hill shorn of trees but ready for more depradation.

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