I visited the Hathaway Gallery reception of their trio of openings, one of which was John Folsom’s solo show Framework and View. I pondered the gallery’s artist page once upon a time and discovering Folsom’s work in wonder because at the time–and arguably, still presently–I was obsessed with painting and photography and how they shared a space in the world of art. Oh how pleasing it was to see the work in person!
The photographic underpainting (as it seems appropriate to title) in his mixed media series have the same effect of trompe l’oeil paintings where the effect of reality falls apart as you get closer; however, in Folsom’s work [especially in Salt Marsh Redux #2], the reality falls apart all at once while still being held together all at once; like a loose tooth on it’s last root.
Some have a bit more reality, but then reveal the digital manipulations that Folsom put in place, and lose reality all over again. This is evident in College Park, 2016.
As you move through the works, you come to a point where it all falls apart: an unrealistic green colored brush stroke interrupts the landscape while washes of pink blend into the skies. Paint overcame photograph here.
It was also quite a nice surprise to see his Through the Ground Glass series of photographs of the ground glass of a large format camera. The idea feels solid, but the photographs lack the quality that the piece needs. It falls into a realm of photography wanting to be art rather than just being art.