Opening Reception: Sunday, March 18th, 2-5pm
The work of Substrata seeks investigations into the root (or rhizome) of identity and shares a philosophy of mimetic transfer through not only cultural phenomena but also direct and horizontal gene transfer in both a literal and metaphysical sense.
The work for this exhibition was not easy to make. The figures within the paintings have experienced at least a dozen incarnations. The depicted landscapes have been scraped and adjusted in a labored loop of destruction and reparation. The skies were black before they were pink or lavender, and the animals have been manipulated to a degree that would make Dr. Moreau blush. I am not certain, even now, if the images have found their final form or if I will ever understand what they mean.
Tyrus Lytton’s “Eight Contemporary Views of Omi” is a body of work that explores geology, human potential, and identity through place by revisiting the sites depicted by Hiroshige in his print series “The Eight Views of Omi” which were published 175 years before. The project behind the works was funded by 38 patrons through an online campaign. Shiga prefecture, the contemporary name for Omi, is home to Japan’s largest Lake, holds many of Japan’s national treasures, and is considered the birth place of the Shinto Pantheon and Japanese Buddhism.
When asked about his time spent during the project and how Omi had changed, Tyrus responded, “My hope was that by contrasting the contemporary views against those of the past we would begin to see how we affect the landscape on a human level in a comprehensible time frame of history. The photographs that I have included are as close that I could get to capture the view in a single shot. As I pilgrimaged from site to site I found that Hiroshige exaggerated the land masses; bringing mountains forward, skewing the rivers perspective, and smooshing in masses to fill his compositions to his satisfaction. I wanted to yell out, “Liar!” dissatisfied that Hiroshige would leave me in such a position never able to get the perfect documentation. In anticipation I had ravaged his prints wondering about the sounds, smells, and haptic quality of the places. I assumed my ideas about knowing the sites were his. My base assumption was incorrect. My frame of reference was gone. I began to see the landscape around me when I realized I had no idea what I was looking at anymore. I was in a land of extreme and dichotomous relationships trying to find grounding without any reference to what was going on except for an illusory past. That is one strata. Confusion is always the first layer for me. Why else investigate? I wasn’t expecting to find confusion as a self-discovery. I wouldn’t say this is what my work is about, but it does inform it.”