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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Alyssa Salomon

In an age where technology is so accessible that the convenience of digital photography almost overshadows the darkroom process, Alyssa Salomon's work is refreshing and serves as a reminder for the beauty that patience can yield. “Seeing is the essence of processing… You can only see what you already know.” This philosophy has allowed her art to act as a direct reference to life rather than its reproduction. Saltwork was exhibited at the Page Bond Gallery between January and February of last year, providing separate arrangements of daguerreotypes and cyanotypes mounted throughout the cozy space towards the end of the room. During an artist talk at the gallery, she shared her understanding of salt as “the keeper of light and agent against time,” preserving collections of life and creating history. “Professor Lindauer’s Museum Studies Books” displays a towering pile of literature with miniature watchmen standing frozen in anticipation. Each daguerreotype was housed in a small black frame, and upon the walls, they appeared as a collection of tiny mirrors.

Her work reflects portraits of ideas and of human-ness rather than the figure itself, which is something I enjoy. The small scale of her pieces calls for much attention to the sharp details of where the salt has oxidized. It is a clever metaphor to how the responsibility of interpretation lies with the viewer, whose own image is instantly held in captivity by the frames that enclose her work.

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