Laurel Gitlen is pleased to announce New Problems, an exhibition of new work by San Francisco artist Will Rogan. Rogan’s second solo exhibition at the gallery will include new photographs, works on paper, video, and sculpture that consider the predicament of time as both a continuous present and as discrete moments suspended by the camera.
Rogan’s work is primarily concerned with the passage of time and the profound and mundane practices of seeing, believing and preserving images. This new body of work centers on the inextricable equation of filmic media with time and light in a series of black and white photographs taken over specific intervals. Two nearly identical images of prisms, Day and Night, were made twelve hours apart — one at noon, the other at midnight. Other paired photographs depict the same image of a book or a girl walking in the woods, taken just seconds apart. These doubled images foreground the inverse relationship of light and time as joined elements in the mechanics of the camera, while slowing movement to make visible the innumerable views that continuously unfold before us in the present.
Rogan’s photographs are both a depiction of something and the thing itself, simultaneously referencing their place in the world as objects and as images. Three photographs of H. G. Wells’ novel, The Time Machine, show a first-edition copy worn from years of library use. Nearly identical images of the cover are distinguished by a scratch in the negative, drawing attention to the physical process of producing the photographic print. Dappled light cuts diagonally across the book, its physical presence appearing as solid as the hardbound text. The repetition of these photographs and imagery within Rogan’s work is itself akin to poetry, where recurrence suggests both metaphors and language. Moreover, objects in the photographs — prisms, a jacket printed with an image of a world map, a printed clock on a t-shirt, a book — are simple things in the world but also devices for understanding space, light and time.
Also included in the exhibition are two works from an ongoing series of erased magazine pages. These works, made from the original pages of a 1970’s magicians’ trade magazine, MUM, initially elicit a sense of nostalgia. However, the materiality of the page is foregrounded; the act of disappearing an image is a physical removal of ink from the printed page. Mirroring the invisibility of the photographer, the magician becomes a stand-in for the artist who has the capacity to make things appear or to render them invisible. Here also, the camera and the photographic image become quiet reminders of mortality.
Will Rogan’s work is included in the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art and has been exhibited widely, including recent exhibitions at SFMoMA; the Berkeley Art Museum; BE-PART Platform voor Actuele Kunst, Waregem, Belgium; The Mercer Art Union, Toronto; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and solo gallery exhibitions at Altman Siegel, San Francisco, and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo. A new body of work made in collaboration with Lauren Mckeon will be exhibited in Present Future at the Artissima art fair in Turin, Italy, November 2010.