It is a realm of longing and reflection, of loss and recollection, of ruin and pensive restructuring that extracts the personal from the footprint of memory to leave a trail of now collective, now anonymous, now archival remembering. Bearing the fittingly omissive title Ellipsis, this intimate and immersive atmosphere is what Brooklyn-based artist Allison Somers has created for her second solo exhibition at Microscope Gallery (through December 17th).
Consisting of film and video pieces as well as a suite of black and white photographic objects—manually processed prints, unique in their embedded strata, whose reliquary-like allure deepens the drama of their scant intelligibility—Ellipsis begs pause by begging viewers, here better construed as visitors, to pause. Indeed, given the generally fixed points-of-view in the film and video works, Somers reverse-freezes passers-through in their spatial frame by planting them quite firmly, as it were, on their feet. In Nostalghia, Nostalghia, for instance, a large black and white projection that visually, conceptually and acoustically, if you so elect, coheres the entire exhibition, Somers stands you before a striking image of the roofless San Galgano Abbey in Italy, a gaping vessel exuding centuries of consecration and profanation whose sacrality persists, nonetheless, in its timelessness. Here you will be drawn into its redrawn depths as Somers herself was drawn; its reflective footing draws you to further reflect as Somers, and countless others, have done. When anonymous interlopers appear nearby and afar, you, too, will question their awareness as you re-question, perhaps, yours. You will do this again as you watch Blink, which might have you re-questioning the materiality of mirrors as well. In Your Ellipsis My River, then, Somers turns to forsaken ruins and arid rustlings, here envisioned with the elliptically stunted continuity of the mind, to invoke the force of image-bound temporality and presentness, engulfing you in a meta-present tense as it evades you.
Somers’ imagery and footage evidence journeys unto discovery, but Ellipsis is not her travelogue. She places viewers in her shoes, but the tales she recounts are not necessarily hers. The trappings of memory are what she means to display. Go. Gather. Make them yours.
Image courtesy the artist and Microscope Gallery.