Friday, April 11, 2008

Sunset Scavenger at Get This! Gallery

This review was originally written for False Magazine. It was created as part of about a dozen "short short" reviews. I misheard the review requirements when I began the piece, and ended up writing twice the hundred-word limit. The much shorter version of this review will appear in False Magazine's Summer issue.

In a recent Creative Loafing interview, Bill Daniel presented his newest project, Sunset Scavenger, as an exploration of “life on an angry planet.” The photography and found signage which cluttered Get This! Gallery’s small spaces on Friday, March 28 certainly reflected this worldview. Sun-bleached black and whites were prevalent even in Daniel’s houseboat and post-Katrina New Orleans photographs, giving these images a sense of being collectively set upon a massive shared desert. In Daniel’s study of voluntary and involuntary wanderers, habitats normally associated with humanity are displayed stripped entirely bare.

Daniel’s focus on emptiness plays interestingly with the signs scattered throughout the gallery. Some signs are handwritten, some are typed; some fight to protect homeless rights (“Don’t Kick Car Campers to the Curb!”), while others are placed to dissuade trespassers and vagrants. Though the signs are empty of any human faces, they represent a drive which is absent in Daniel’s stark houseboat, home, and train photographs.

Within Sunset Scavenger’s world, photographs and signs seem to mark a competition. Each type of abandoned signifier represents a positive or negative interpretation of absence, and Daniel’s most impressive accomplishment is leaving the outcome of this argument entirely undecided.