Marking artist Jacqueline Fraser’s first solo show at Downs & Ross in New York, The Making of Reflections in a Golden Eye marks a continuation of the artist’s fascination and exploration of the processes and mythos of filmmaking. Here turning her attention to the 1967 film Reflections in a Golden Eye, directed by John Huston, the artist interprets its subject matter and plot through a series of collaged materials and spaces, arranged costumes and various materials that trace a distinct sense of anxiety and exploration of the modern cultural and social landscape.
Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, the titular film tells the story of a murder at a southern US army base in the late 1940s. Lost meaning, desire and violence pervades the lives of the characters, and here, Fraser translates and transmutes that same concept into the works, subverting and repositioning advertisements, erotica and other printed materials, as well as clothing and other materials to create dense, totemic reflections of our culture at large.
The show is equally framed and expanded by the environment in which the works are presented. Fraser constructs a stage upon which viewers can project, complete with pink tinsel, their own assumptions and understandings of the work. These are built out in a manner that references the filmmaking process in its blocking and staging, then expanded with the works themselves. Fraser uses the language of film to restage subject matter as material, turning concept and image into physical arrangements, much in the same way that the filmmaker translates their material into the production. Interestingly enough, Fraser’s work in turn captures the correlation between filmic production and the production of a gallery show in the modern economy of the image.
Under the logic of the modern image, Fraser’s work seems to understand and emphasize that the gallery show ascribes to a similar logic as the filmic production, subject to the camera’s angles and the photographer’s impulses as much as the director’s own instructions, and, ultimately, both are presented to the world the same way. Even after the show closes, or the sett is dismantled, the work lives on in this reflection on-screen, in frame. Fraser seems to fundamentally understand that in the modern mode of work-making, the ideas are still big, it’s the pictures that got small.
The show closes January 28th.
– D. Creahan
Jacqueline Fraser: The Making of Reflections in a Golden Eye [Exhibition Site]