Selecting volumes of examples from that institution, and thereafter from the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Maisel used these x-rays as the basis of new color photographs that convey an ineffable force. Now Maisel's first exhibition of this work, History's Shadow, is on view at Haines Gallery in San Francisco.
The ambiguously affecting qualities of these images result from accretions of unique conditions. Technological and optical processes (x-rays, photography) penetrate hand-wrought objects from the distant past (sculptures, devotional figures, vessels), compressing their dimensionality, materiality, and history into one numinous field. Interior details such as armatures and nails vividly glow; darker voids maintain zones of tenebrous mystery.
"I view these x-rays as expressions of the artists and artisans who created the original objects, however many centuries ago; as vestiges and indicators of the societies that produced these works; and as communications from the past, expressing immutable qualities that somehow remain constant over time. What do these works of art from past cultures have to teach us about our current point in human history, or about our relationship to the past, largely formed through archaeology and transmission of cultural objects across national borders? The x-ray provides a filter and a means (much as perception itself is both filter and means) to read the intrinsic properties of these works, the trace elements with which these objects are imbued. They encourage an understanding—made through feeling and art, as well as science and reason—that both spans and collapses time."
The x-ray provides a filter and a means (much as perception itself is both filter and means) to read the intrinsic properties of these works, the trace elements with which these objects are imbued.
5:30–7:30 pm, discussion to begin at 6:00 pm
(please RSVP to 415.397.8114)
Through 4 June, 2011
Haines Gallery , 49 Geary Street, San Francisco