132 Tenth Ave.
Jan. 28-Mar. 10, 2012
Willie Doherty (b. 1959) has been taking evocative photos of the battle-scarred terrain of Northern Ireland since the 1980s. Large 4 x 6 ft. black-and-white photographs of un-peopled suburbs, railroad tracks and alleyways, captioned with one or two words of text -- “undercover” or “unseen” -- poise on the threshold of meaning. A critique of nationality, borders, identity, violence? Where does the artist stand -- or should that be, where do you stand?
Some examples: a bramble-obscured view through a chain link-fence of a verdant field beyond reads “Invading.” “Last Bastion” -- of what? -- overlays an image of a stone barricade that divides us from some houses nearby. “Shifting Ground” describes a deserted path that leads between two fenced-in territories, one old and decrepit, the other new and modern.
Some photographs are exhibited in pairs, and their juxtaposition reinforces the ironic disjunction between what we see and what the words suggest. Doherty is currently preparing his contribution for dOCUMENTA (13); prices range from $26,000 for individual works to $40,000 for diptychs.