George Porcari at Shoshana Wayne Gallery

Charlene Roth
New Art Examiner, July/August 1999



The glass windows of buses, taxis, subways and automobiles screen and frame views during travel within a city. Interference abounds as viewers are stopped at traffic lights and rushed between reds. Views are cropped and dodged b y architecture, street corners, changes of direction, other vehicles and pedestrians, only to halt again, and again, across a range of ever-changing, consummately cropped information. It is a fragmented thought cumulative experience that encourages a self-written, non-traditional narrative to unfold psychically sutured bit by bit – a stuttering feed of sensually ingested particles that combine and point toward – like a splattered trace of black rubber on an asphalt ground – some story whose relative structure is the duration of a particular passage (time) and the place crossed over (space) of the traveler.

This is the interactive flick that is always on screen at street level in Chicago, Los Angeles, Lima, or any other urban center, and warrants (for those of us without a feasible mass transit system) shunning the freeways and bucking the lights on drives cross-town. It is profoundly entertaining – different from a Hollywood movie – because the consumed bits smack of reality and the watcher writes the interim script. Edgar Degas with his oil painting of 1875, Place de la Concorde, was one of the first to exploit the potential of the urban view. Truncated figures and architectural blockades within the painting present an aggressively clipped city scene. What is not shown stimulates the spectator to fill in the omissions with fictional data. In a series of photographs titles “Limenos” (also the title of the exhibition), George Porcari, like Degas, exploits an interrupted point of view and plays the narrative potential of the partially amputated sight. Porcari’s self-described “still space” poignantly suggests what Gilles Deleuze described as “a still that is conscious of montage”. The viewer is compelled to conceived an introspective succession of images and fulfill the promise of the “still space”.

Porcari’s pictures are luminous, intimately sized color photographs sandwiched between layers of Plexiglas. All are jewel-like, precisely crafted, meditative presentations, shot in the street; there is no digital manipulation despite their unusual formal relationships. The images: stilled by perspective, showing fragments of subjects, and encased within transparent shields; are fixed like ancient bugs in murky amber beads to act as elicitors of a big picture. These photographs of the urban landscape of Lima, Peru feature cropped bodies, chunks of buildings, and sections of city props. They are precariously stationed views, moments of stories about which we can surmise the before and after. They are like a paragraph outside a literary work or the still released from a film-strip. This precise depiction of the indecisive and ambiguous, and the tension that results from a hard-edged view of a blur allow Porcari’s photographs to refer to, and provide impetus for, an all-inclusive interactive movement. Each scene flickers – on subjective, perceptual plateaus – between a short and close standpoint and vast imaginary additions.


Charlene Roth is a writer and an artist living in Los Angeles.