Measured perspectives

Curated two-person exhibition

Perspective is a long-standing topic of interest for Dutch visual artist Katja Mater and American photographer Erin O’Keefe. It functions both as a playing field for practical experimentation and as a tool to raise questions about the supposedly indexical status of the photographic image. Yet more, perspective reveals itself to be a significantly malleable construct. Mater and O’Keefe employ the optical ambivalence intrinsic to photography to highlight that seemingly fixed viewpoints are carefully composed, rather than fluid and subjective.

Along with the ambivalence of spatial perception, Measured Perspectives also underlines the potential of a process-based approach in the context of today’s increasingly fast-paced and result-oriented work culture. Mater and O’Keefe embrace time consuming work habits that could be described as methodical, deliberate, even slow. Their practice, which stands in contrast to the quick project-based systems propagated by the market economy, restates the value of measured and process-based experimentation.

This is evident in Mater’s film Threefold (2018), which explores the process of making a drawing that repeats itself in 3 versions with a 30-second delay. Difference within repetition is also explored in the diptych series Dear Sides (2019). These double-sided works explicitly play with meaning, specifically its constructability and reversibility: the same image proposes a different interpretation depending on which side one views the work from.

Measured Perspectives also presents new and yet unexhibited works by Erin O’Keefe. Among them is a series of photographs made by the artist in her apartment’s narrow hallway while she was in lockdown. They seem slightly rougher around the edges than O’Keefe’s usual studio pieces, which are also on display in the exhibition. They reveal themselves to lean on a repetitive process and the spatial flattening offered by the camera lens more transparently. As with Mater’s work, it matters that these are photographs, which despite their tricky appearance are remarkably photographic.

Measured Perspectives
Riga Art Space, 2022 04 22 – 06 12
Artists: Katja Mater, Erin O’Keefe
Curator and text author: Paulius Petraitis
Architect: Pauls Rietums
Part of Riga Photography Biennial 2022

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