Oct 29, 2022–Jan 14, 2023
Anna Garner (48), Mont Bleu in Descent
Lighthouse Works is pleased to announce The Order of Mont Bleu, the first New York solo exhibition by Anna Garner (48), presenting three separate but interrelated series of the artist’s recent work.
At times whimsical, at times disorienting, Garner's work challenge our understanding of beauty, the sublime, and the limits of physical laws acting through and upon our bodies. Through an interplay of shape, color, and physical contact, the images ask the viewer to reimagine scale, nature, gender roles, personal agency, and the risks and rewards of ambition.
Composed of large-scale framed photo works, The Order of Mont Bleu, presents a pair of abstracted mountains that frame the artist’s body in motion. These performative self-portraits parody hyper-masculine mythologies of mountain summiting, considering underlying ideologies of the mountain as a site of conquest (including of ego, nature, and others), while the work’s flat and unrealistic forms allude to the simulated facsimiles of theatrical sets. In these simplified gestures new relationships between the subject and the summit are formed and gendered narratives of dominance and triumph are reoriented.
The series Horizon as Sign examines landscape by way of a false horizon line that emphasizes the disconnections between mismatched forms and lighting. The invented compositions look at landscape not as a reproduction of physical reality but as a reflection of social fiction, built on desired control. Through clear fictionality, the landscape (as a genre of photography) is reoriented from innate structure to ideological/idealized construct, thus losing its neutrality. The images insert doubt to the stability of the photographic surface and the reliability of seeing.
The exhibition also features two performed videos, Just Below and Pratfall, in which Garner stages premeditated falls referencing rehearsed yet precarious slips of physical comedy. In a hat tip to Buster Keaton, Garner positions her body within a paradigm of contained and elective risk, and undertakes a spectacle of physical discipline latent with failure. While the disaster is staged, the artist is not entirely in control – chance, gravity, and the industrial fabrication of her materials dictate when and how the resulting “pratfall” will occur. As the artist writes of her work, “Inserting my own anxiety into this space, it can no longer exist as neutral or essential. Instead, it captures an intimate self-portrait of my body in physical uncertainty, acting out a fragile and false attempt at control.”
Anna Garner’s work examines landscape, architecture, and social patterns, considering how visual and behavioral standards form ideological constructs of spatial organization. In photographs and videos, she creates fictional spaces for the camera that challenge the truthfulness of these constructs through either spotlighting the fiction or performing to alter and deconstruct the space. Born in New York (1982) and raised in San Diego, Anna currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Mexico City. One person exhibitions of her work have been presented at ltd los angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2019); and Phoenix Center for the Arts, Phoenix, AZ (2015). Anna’s work has been included in thematic exhibitions at Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Belgium (2019); The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC (2019); and Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ (2016). In 2015 she was a recipient of The Phoenix Art Museum’s Contemporary Forum Artist Grant. Anna has also participated in artist residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and Art OMI.