January 14 - March 11, 2006
Gallery Luisotti is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, featuring photographs and paintings by Shirley Irons. Meadowland consists of recent work depicting the meadowlands of northeastern New Jersey. An area of delicate natural ecology infringed upon by human activity, the meadowlands is a site of continual erosion and degradation. Incorporating Irons’ emotive photography and painting, this exhibition continues her interests in topographical sites where the edge of human development converges with a place of devolving natural habitat.
In a statement on her recent work, Shirley Irons refers to both the historical and current ruin of the New Jersey meadowlands. This is a site overtaken by suburban sprawl and pollution, all of which has overrun a once diverse and delicate environment. Yet Irons’ work documents this place as a new ecology, one of man-made entrepreneurial overflow and excess. Such a place was made a site of topographical investigation by Robert Smithson’s noted essay and photographic project, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey” (1967). Shirley Irons continues in Smithson’s lineage, yet substitutes the written word for a personal style. There is an affect of authorial subjectivity in her photographs, one that places the viewer squarely in the site seen, rather than detached through the camera’s lens. This personal vision establishes a context for experience and self-reflection in a landscape noted for its impersonal and haunting objects: polluted fields, big-box superstores, and the probable location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body.
Shirley Irons work has continually blurred the boundaries of photographic representation. The digitally printed photographs in this new exhibition, often views of a landscape passing through the frame of a car’s window, have the appearance of fine drawings. Presented alongside a series of paintings made from photographs, the lines between these media are nearly absent. Through this approach, Irons’ recording of the meadowlands evokes a sense of emotion and memory that seems indelibly part of a landscape viewed through car windows, or forgotten behind the stark walls of commercialism.