Baik Art proudly presents Natural Security at ADC, Bergamot Station, in Santa Monica, CA.
Natural Security will be on view from January 11 – 30, 2014, with an opening reception on January 11 at 6pm.
The Natural Security photography project evolved as a result of Manfred and Laura Menz’s fascination with the conflicts and complexities that exist in the interaction between natural landscapes and humanity, and the untenable belief that man can control everything — including nature itself.
The individual titles of the seven large-scale photographs in this series are geographical coordinates that can be entered into Google Earth. If one is inclined to do so, one can compare these digital images with the original images captured for this project. The ease with which geo-location tagging can be accomplished without the author’s knowledge, and the inevitably with which data becomes embedded into the digital image file, come part and parcel with the suspicious epiphany that prompted the series; it was simply the artists’ keen insights into human history and the shifting terrain of the global surveillance industry that first prompted them to wonder whether the trees might indeed be staring back.
Presenting an aesthetic juxtaposition of remote camera-based surveillance within the framework of traditional landscape photography creates more than a cognitive dissonance.
While absorbing these large-scale, borderline kitsch images of wild paradise, lush verdancy, majestic sunsets, and fairy tale romance, the viewer will eventually uncover the shocking presence of cameras. The works are finished using digital manipulation; meticulously conceived and crafted, they are rendered with convincing realism despite the occasional visual clue deliberately left in — an unfinished edge, a pixelated bit of atmosphere, or a tweaked shadow. Still, whether by a trick of the optic nerve or as by-product of news-cycle saturation, people often believe it’s possible that such an extensive and seemingly impossible camera network might actually exist.
Manfred and Laura first began this series in 2011. In the process of completing the project, an idea that formed as a gentle and presciently cautionary satire has become an unsettling reality. It is not unlike the collective gasp heard around the world when folks first received news about Edward Snowden’s revelations, and the same gasp that Snowden emitted when he first understood what lay before him. Based, as they are, on serene, conventional, and plainly beautiful concepts of landscape, the photographs that comprise Natural Security reveal a phenomenon analogous to the complicity our society perpetuates in our information-obsessed society.
Natural Security essay by art critic and curator Shana Nys Dambrot, Los Angeles 2013
Baik Art is founded by Susan Baik, Co-Director of AndrewShire Gallery from 2003 – 2013, with locations in Singapore, Seoul, and Los Angeles. Leveraging her own artistic background, and building on her extensive experience and contacts within the international art community, Baik Art will undoubtedly contribute its unique vision to the discourse in global and Los Angeles-based contemporary art.
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