VACANCY: Daniela Groza, Ginny Mangrum, Matthew Soltesz
Included in VACANCY are photographic images of exterior and interior of spaces, constructing a visual dialogue through portraits of occupied spaces. Yet these rooms and structures lack the presence of a body, leaving the residue of perceived inhabitance to the voyeur's interpretation.
Images of empty rooms and exteriors emphasize the relationship we have to domestic spaces as they relate to their structures. These photographs illuminate the real or imagined experiences that transform these spaces into a home.
Daniela Groza’s Interiors evoke a sense of nostalgia; there is both an intimacy and an emptiness conveyed through her photographs. A dining room table, an altar of candles, an unmade bed; these signifiers haunt the viewer with a confrontation of our own recognitions. The domestic spaces and objects captured evoke personal, intimate memories, exposing the diversity of human experience encompassing the concept of home. The contrasting familiarity and distance conveyed through Groza’s photographs visually communicate an emotive quality, perhaps recalling the phrase "Je me souviens" or "I remember."
Ginny Mangrum’s Night Moves complement Groza’s exploration of interiors through haunting portraits of structures. Black and white film and dramatic lighting result in images with stark contrast. The stillness of night construct a palpable atmosphere of silence, coldness, distance. In dialogue with Groza’s Interiors, Mangrum’s photographs of these vessels are illuminated from inside, at nighttime. The images ask us to come closer. We want to understand what we are seeing. From Latrine to Dining Room to House, Mangrum’s lens provides a voyeuristic gaze, amplified through both her technique and subject matter.
Matthew Soltesz’s photographs of interiors AND exteriors draw connections between the narrative of Mangrum and Groza. There’s a saturated richness in dialogue with the nostalgic tonality to Groza’s works. Whereas in viewing Interiors, one feels the glimmer of a residual memory, Soltesz conveys a presence perhaps just removed, the void of a body embittered through a stack of towels, for example. Despite evidence of daylight, through curtains and windows, a darkness in mood permeates these works that first intrigue, then disturb. The affect of which is perhaps best understand through the concept of the un-Heimlich, the opposite of what’s familiar, Heimlich being an extension of the etymology of Heim or Home. Grainy black and white stills of homes illuminated from light sources external from the structure play on the masculine verses feminine gaze and are set in conversation with Night Moves, who’s structures are illuminated internally. The intimacy in Soltesz’s photographs is countered by the absence of something not quite articulated - something, perhaps, to come.
Concepts of connection and absence, the sexuality and semiotics of domestic spaces and the emotive and evocative relationship that we have with photography are all explored through the visual dialogue of VACANCY.