Further increasing the element of chance, for his residency project Oliver Herring has left the studio and formed connections with people in their spaces. The artist conducted photo and video sessions with people he met in San Antonio, letting them determine where and what they would do for the camera. The interactions have yielded distinct pieces that meld aspects of performance with photography. Bridging Herring’s past performances, objects, and videos, the project pushes a static medium to become cinematic.
The centerpiece is Do Two Monologues Make a Dialogue?, a linear pair of snapshot sequences that intersect in on a gray wall. The images result from the trust Herring built with people in diverse worlds. One storyline features teenage girls hanging out after school; the other focuses on a young man who teases the camera with his body and his possessions. Like a movie unfolding, each image is a successive moment—until the two worlds collide in the center. For a single photograph, the girls replace the man in his living room, casting doubt on the idea that snapshots are truthful, and suggesting that these stories could be a fiction, with no actual beginning or end.
The Day I Persuaded Two Brothers To Turn Their Backyard Into A Mud Pool is constructed to mimic a newspaper. The editioned piece is filled with images of brothers horsing around in their muddy backyard. The format confounds expectations of an objective, linear story on the very pages of a medium that is assumed to be just that. In another work, a vitrine, strategically frosted, sits atop a long table. Windows have been left clear, framing photos taken backstage at the rodeo. The images are further filtered and fetishized with red and black marker, resulting in a multitude of slightly erotic narratives of cowboys stretching, dressing, and waiting.
With his residency project Oliver Herring has continued an investigation of intimacy while subverting a static medium. Here photography expresses the simultaneously fractured and cohesive nature of life.