3 January 2024

Ground Level

A small-scale exhibition brings
landscape close-up


by Kate Mothes

Cropped so closely that in some cases they are nearly unrecognizable, fragments of printed and photographed landscapes combine in Ground Level in an exploration of abstraction and our surroundings. Pieces by four artists from the U.S. and the U.K. come together in an intimate presentation that reflects its own subject matter: the details of the land.

All of the artists employ some element of photography or image-capturing, whether using cameras or other documentary equipment. Los Angeles-based Megan Mueller uses a portable scanner that she takes with her around urban areas, recording ground patterns and merging them into abstract compositions. Close-up photographs of rocks and quarries by British artist Gin Rimmington Jones’s emphasize the natural patterns of surfaces millions of years in the making, highlighting cracks and lines in sharp contrast.

Carrie Pollack tiles manipulated photographs printed onto delicate rice paper, which places abstract textures in an interplay with the light, and Matthew Shelley focuses on minute details of the landscape around his suburban Greater New York home, alternating between photographic and drawing processes in images that play with notions of flatness in the picture plane.

“The result is simultaneously specific and open ended,” says a statement about the show. A universality pervades the presentation, as the locations could be just about anywhere. “The images here could be urban or rural, part of the human environment, or far removed from the populous…(suggesting) that our understanding of place begins with the details, and then moves out to form a more general understanding of place.”

Ground Level is currently on view in the Crown Gallery at Metro Art Studios and continues through January.

Megan Mueller. 727 N Broadway, 2022. Inkjet prints, 30 1⁄2 x 28 1⁄2 inches
Installation view
Carrie Pollack. Ground Layer 1, 2022. Collaged pigmented ink on rice paper, 36 x 44 inches
Megan Mueller. Corner of 7th and Olive Street, 2023. Inkjet prints, 26 x 18 inches
Matthew Shelley. Split Ridge, 2023. Inkjet print on Hahnemühle etching paper and collage
Installation view of Carrie Pollack (left) and Matthew Shelley (right) in 'Ground Level'

Header image: Matthew Shelley, Bending Tile Rocks, 2023. Inkjet print on Hahnemühle etching paper and collage

All images © the artists

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