Leah Dyjak returns to Texas to introduce a new body of work, Force Majeure, at FLEX Space at Texas State University. The work in this exhibition is centered on the failures of trusted and know strata. The show features an installation of deconstructed photographs that speak to the ways in which familiar landscapes have been mangled and erased by the force of water.
A Force Majeure or superior force is a common clause for companies to add to a contact. It protects parties from liability, in the event of an act of God or bad global circumstance. These ‘events’ include war, strike, riot, crime, hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and things catastrophic, unforeseeable.
The works presented in the exhibition make use of a collapsed parking lot along the shoreline of coastal Massachusetts. The point of focus: the mutability of boundary, frame, and instability of surface. Asphalt and road lines are ubiquitous in function. These are the lines that are meant to guide and create order. Weather causes them to become futile in function and ultimately broken. This once steadfast surface becomes supple and mutable under the force of wind and water. Asphalt and concrete, elements of both naturally according to the earth, sprawl underfoot and overhead in the modern built environment. The crash of a wave can send a piece of asphalt the size of minivan ten feet into the air to have it land bent and broken like a piece of unfired clay.
The work represented in this exhibition literally fractures traditions. The edges of the photographs mimic the fracturing of the land's edge. The concrete and asphalt appear soft, fallible and defeated by the rains, winds, and tides. The jersey barrier is collapsed both into the sea and onto the walls of the gallery. Immovable objects that are tethered by gravity to the earth are flung above our heads. The barriers that divide us are felled in a single instant.
The works experientially resemble losing control of trusted and known spaces. The edges and surface of the photograph are distorted through cutting, scanning and reconstructing. The extension of lines with tape and paint confuse the familiar perception of formerly understood textures: photograph or photographed comes into question.The difference between photograph and gesture of the hand in these works is unclear. Tape is used as an extension of the formidable double yellow line. White tape is used to stitch broken fragments back together, aware of its inevitable failure in holding the material together.
This work portrays the limits of the photographic frame and camera lens to capture the visual negative space, the fault lines, the things we can not see but which erase boundaries and barriers. By reconstructing photographic imagery into new compositions, Dyjak exerts control over spaces where we have none.
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