Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present photographs from three recent bodies of work by J. JOHN PRIOLA. Conceptually related to those works around which Priola’s 1998 monograph Once Removed centers, these photographs chart the artist’s evolving sensibility.
The work bridges the space between literal and metaphorical, belonging at once to both one frame of reference and the other. Each of Priola’s compositions focus on a decisive, tangible and familiar object or place, each a precisely delineated world. But as Andy Grundberg describes in his introduction to Once Removed: “For what is traced in these photographs is not merely the object, or the sign of its residual physical presence avant the photograph, but the echo of its historical resonances and place in time.” This is true as well of the new work. Each object or site suggests its history of narratives.
These narratives center on a dialogue about what generally goes unseen; what, in contrast to its historical significance, now dissuades attention. The three bodies of work exhibited are white walls, numbers, and graves. One of the white walls, Nail, describes a place where a picture once hung but which is now defined by the lack of that object; without the object there, the stark site is often overlooked. Perhaps more explicit, the grave images focus on the absence of the people buried therein. It is Priola’s project to garner notice for these objects. Photography, for Priola, is a vehicle for making visible what is not visually attended to.