36 dreams…


In Ohio - 16" x 20" silver gelatin print

The America Project : utopia, by Noelle K. Tan is an expansive three-part photographic series depicting historical sites and cultural markers in America. The project includes the series utopia, being exhibited for the first time at Civilian Art Projects in Washington D.C. The work addresses the idealization of the past and the consequences of pursuing the idea of better.

Lesson / Koan : Failures produces more dreams than successes.

Drive-In Theater - 11" x 14" silver gelatin print

Part 1 of an ambitious black and white photography project includes 36 images documenting road trips taken by the artist across the country over the past several years. Images capture cultural markers of American history, documenting the highest and lowest of the collective American dream.

BTW,

Dealey Plaza - 16" x 20" silver gelatin print

Inspired by Robert Frank’s The Americans, Gerard Richter’s Atlas project, and Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition, the thirty-six black and white images comprising utopia include the Biosphere II in Oracle, Arizona; Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida; a duct tape “x” marking the spot of Kennedy’s assassination at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX; and images of snow storms, decaying houses, county fairs, nuclear reactors, backyard parties, crowd shots, walks in the woods, and more.

Employing a mixture of photographic styles from straight documentary to more contextually abstract images, The America Project involves complementary and opposing motifs. “If this project were being explored through text, I would equate it to incorporating both encyclopedic fact and ambiguous poetry in a few lines of verse,” says Tan.

Utopia is on display through November 27 at Civilian Art Projects, located at 1019 7th Street NW., Washington DC.

NOTE :

In the essay accompanying the exhibition, curator and writer Larissa Leclair states: “Rather than perpetuating iconic images rooted in popular culture to achieve this individual connective to a collective past, Tan presents images that serve as starting points for individual exploration into the fiction and non-fiction of personal and shared memory. Tan’s photographs do not stand as a document of visual memory or as photographic proofs but are a departure for a more personal read of the work. They evoke intrigue and nostalgia, sadness and hope. Memories are not seen in the photographs specifically but produced by them.

 

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