artmedia GALLERY has invited the artist Patricia Van Dalen to present a new solo show specially conceived and designed for its exhibition space. Ride the rail is the result of immersion the artist made into her personal experience of displacement as well as cultural and artistic issues related to landscape as both a concept and an artifact of representation.
For the current exhibit, Van Dalen has used several artistic media, including assemblage, painting on paper, photography and, for the first time in her career, video. She has made her works during the first semester of this year in connection with a short trip to Switzerland she took. In these proposals, Van Dalen has pushed the representational limits and possibilities of media technologies like photography and video. Intercity, a large scale installation, traces the hypothetical map of train routes with 160 photographs compiled from a snow landscape and displayed in the order they were taken. The second photography installation, Twenty-three shots, explores the transformation of photographs into photograms of a film sequence. The video Single shot presents multiple variations and alterations of one photography view in features like colors, intensities of light, etc., whereas the video Poles converts the photographs of a broken continuity in an illusionistic journey through the landscape. Thanks to the context created by the exhibition and its specific title, Setting, a constructivist-abstractionist assemblage, could be read as an interpretative stage. At the same time, Les Masses hold the abstract emotional gesture the artist displayed under the direct stimulus of the landscape. Consequently, Ride the rail seems an “artistic situation” where different artworks reveal strong relationships and ways of communication among them.
In these works, the persistence of the windows inside the train-cabinets is perhaps a citation of the pictorial tradition of looking at the landscape through a frame, particularly that one fed by pictures, movies, and the tourist industry. Indeed, many photographs resemble postcards in their capacity of memory devices —specially, but not only, in Intercity. The artist has placed the experience of displacement and travel between the remains of a fond memory and the references of this experience constructed in art and cultural practices.