Time conventionally is visualized as a line moving forward, but viscerally we experience it as something messier and more richly complicated -- as a matter of coexisting planes, for instance, past and present, layered and interlaced. George Legrady's affecting new work at Edward Cella gallery hinges on that notion of simultaneity.
Legrady, born in Hungary and living in L.A. and Santa Barbara, makes lenticular prints. Each combines an old family photograph with one or two new pictures he has made. As we shift position in front of a lenticular print, different images within it prevail.
In "Day & Night," for instance, the show's titular piece, a photograph showing men and women enjoying a cookout in Eastern Europe of the '30s or '40s gives way to an image of the full moon and silhouetted foliage. You never can see just one of the images in its entirety without the other creeping in, ghost-like.
The lenticular technology, more commonly used for commercial displays and greeting cards, here becomes an apt analog for the workings of memory and the elusiveness of the past, how our sense of history changes according to our own changing perspective.
This malleability of visual information informs much of Legrady's work, and it's even more overtly in play in "Anamorphic Fluid." On two LED screens, photographic images familiar throughout the rest of the show float, spin and interpenetrate like loose shards in a kaleidoscope, their motion keyed to the amount of movement made by viewers standing or passing in front of the piece.
The result is mildly hypnotic but not as emotionally gripping as seeing the prewar figures in the lenticular prints continually erasing and reinscribing themselves.