Anthony Hernandez’s “Screened Pictures” exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery suggests that photographs do not so much capture reality as they make physical the distance between camera and subject. Paradoxical as that may seem, this leaves viewers front and center: drawing us into dramas and making us wonder what we’re missing.
Since 2017, Hernandez (born 1947) has been making photographs by visiting Los Angeles bus stops and shooting through the mesh screens that form the shelters’ side and rear walls.
Most of the time he shoots straight-on, aligning the brown metal screens with the lens of his camera. The images consist of hundreds if not thousands of coin-size dots — circular abstractions that add up to pixelated pictures that are ghostly and out of focus; the images are clearer from far away than from up close. The shelters’ mesh looks flat and graphic, more like a digitally transmitted image than a photograph of 3-D reality.
At other times he shoots at oblique angles, creating variously sized ellipses. The physicality of the metal mesh is revealed, its thickness indicated by the crescent-shaped highlights that surround each elongated dollop of luminosity.
In all of Hernandez’s 16 inkjet prints, the city’s streets and its street life seem to be no more tangible than mirages. Storefronts, apartments, plazas, stoplights, billboards, tents and pedestrians have the presence of apparitions. Ghostly and anonymous, they can’t be grasped, much less held onto or possessed.
That elusiveness gives Hernandez’s exhibition a melancholic atmosphere, a sense that the world as we have known it is disappearing, replaced by something we can sense but cannot capture. That’s exactly what his photographs present: a moment that can’t be grasped because it’s elusive and ever-changing, a piece of the future, not the past.
When: Tuesdays-Saturdays, through Aug. 31
Info: (310) 586-6886, kaynegriffincorcoran.com
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