Artist: Em Rooney
Venue: Bodega, New York
Exhibition Title: Ordinary Time
Date: April 8 – May 13, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Bodega, New York
Ordinary time, within a Buddhist tradition, is the place in which nirvana is experienced. Here there is no self—no individual experience left to experience a sacred time—there is no apex, no climax, no plot, just time itself. Ordinary Time, as defined by the Catholic liturgical year, accounts for all the days between Christian holidays and their corresponding seasons (Christmas, Easter, Advent, and Lent) marking the major events in Christ’s life, death, and rebirth.
For her second show with the gallery, Em Rooney presents the Stations of the Cross as a series of sixteen photographs, framed in walnut and obscured by pewter numberforms. The Stations, here reimagined and out of order, turn the classic story of betrayal, pain, violence, sacrifice, and sorrow into a non-linear narrative, a visual poem: molten forms lean on and cling to the scaffold of this oft-depicted tale. The works in the show, using photographs as their center, ask what would happen if we reimagined the end of Christ’s first life (or of anybody’s life) through its adjacent moments—those seen or imagined in the crowds or community around a central figure—through gestures of love, through contact with things that support and guide us.
Iconic and art-historical moments from the Stations are referenced, invented, made prosaic—obscured and blurred by movement—within the circumstances of Rooney’s vernacular photography. Simon Shares the Burden (7) shows one ambiguous figure from behind, carrying another. Veronica Shares Her Veil (8) is repeated. In one image, two figures are wedged together on a sofa, the adult leans into the child, the child wraps her legs around the adult. In the second Veronica Shares Her Veil (8), a spill is toweled dry by a pair of socked feet. In Three Marys Meet Jesus (6), a group of marching women carry a banner reading, “Mothers working collectively for change. We call for accountability and transparency, stricter gun laws…” Christ’s Death (13), frequently depicted in paintings as a gash in Christ’s torso (picture Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas), is seen here instead as a solar eclipse.
Link: Em Rooney at Bodega