Alexa Hoyer, Santa, 2015, Archival pigmented print on Dibond
Barrick G.A. Ed Fuentes (who blogs at Paint This Desert when he’s not helping visitors at our front desk) reviews Alexa Hoyer’s Targets photographs.
Santa had a rough summer at the Barrick.
Santa got mugged in the desert. The photograph by Alexa Hoyer, a German artist living in New York, is a highlight of Targets, a series featured in Tested Ground at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. Closing September 16, the exhibition surveys uses sculpture, drawing, photography, found objects, installation, and film to conduct “a meaningful investigation of our human civilization and the landscape that surrounds it,” according to the press release.
Santa stands tall, despite being 86’ed, his surface pocked by someone’s target practice, shells emptied on the seasonal iconography of festive celebration. Hoyer sought objects dragged to the desert for target practice and while level exposures and archival pigment print on Dibond are the photographer’s choice, this is also a collaboration between artist and the recreational gun enthusiasts who tote various and sundry items to be executed.
It’s a dis-assemblage by armed men and women, the object distorted and unceremoniously left behind in the desert, a sanctuary for that sport, an open range canvas of sorts. At times discovered pieces were propped up by the photographer, allowing Hoyer to make the final image less of a documentary and more of a collaboration between shooter and shooter.
It’s camera, firearm, and its aftermath, the image framed. It’s the shared point of view of camera or gun sight. The mounting, modest and functional, keep the photographs as delicate balance of light and subject. The harsh glare of the sun is tamed, leaving the severity of the image to be defined by what it is, an assemblage disassembled.