Newman Popiashvili Gallery is pleased to present Show, a solo exhibition of recent photographic works by Mark Woods. These are pictures of dysfunctional signage: an almost empty display case, a nearly blank sign, a decorative stone frame for an absent plaque, and so on. Each of these things is conflicted between showing and not showing its own subject matter. The subject matter, in its own way, allegorizes that conflict, which in turn allegorizes the photograph depicting it and its conflicts.
For example, the peeled-off letters that read Quality is Only 2nd, To Honesty allegorize the tension between beauty and truth inherent in documentary photography. A padlock labeled Security, unable to secure a menu case blown off a restaurant at Ground Zero on September 11, reflects photography’s conflict between permanence and impermanence. The remains of a departed sign that spelled out Funeral Home evoke photography’s limbo between life and death. A tarred-over street-paint symbol for disabled parking symbolizes its own disabling.
The signage, as it appears in these photographs, shows more in its blanked or deteriorated state than when it was fully functional. The nuance of a display’s expired purpose and peculiarly imperfect blankness can be an invitation to projection of our identities, concerns, or issues. So the artist lets the “not showing” show. Martin Heidegger wrote “It shows itself only when it remains un-unconcealed and unexplained.” Diane Arbus said “a photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”
Woods explains: “I want to compare the conflicts of the signage with those of my photographs, and I’m drawn to photograph things that seem to be asking for that comparison. These photographs are, after all—like the things they show—visible objects conceived of invisible conflicted intentions and accidents.”
Mark Woods lives and works in New York. He received an A.B. in Philosophy from Harvard College and an M.F.A. in Photography from Arizona State University. Art museums owning his photographs in their permanent collections include: the Yale University Art Gallery; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.