Light & Stone
James Luciana, Time Traveler
If these castle walls could talk, they'd speak in blank verse and repeat tales that we've heard since childhood - told and retold in literature and film - about a time when knighthood flowered and courtly love bloomed. In our mind's eye we behold Technicolor visions of the legendary world that's evoked by names like Ivanhoe and Camelot. What we actually see in James Luciana's large photographs is altogether different: muted colors and eroded, overgrown parapets that reveal the care of time. Both eras co-exist simultaneously, spanning centuries that his camera fuses together in a split second.
Backlit apertures in certain buildings resemble solid, symbolically charged objects such as glowing coffins and tall gravestones. When this happens, it's as if we witness a world of spirits flickering at the edge of consciousness - a visionary theme that's explicitly represented in a suite of doctored digital images accompanying Luciana's architectural photographs. In the pictures of stones that once became abbeys or fortresses that are now in the process of returning to stones, deconstruction isn't a buzzword in art criticism. It is a literal truth, and an invitation to ponder the cyclic nature of life.
- Gerard Haggerty
Gerard Haggerty writes for ARTnews and teaches at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. His work has won the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Ford Foundation.
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