Friday, January 14, 2011

Frederick Sommer, Constellation, Arizona, 1943

Frederick Sommer, Arizona Landscape, 1945

Two alternative solutions to the problem of representing a big space photographically.  Hockney's solution (Pearblossom Highway, below) comes from Picasso and Braque; he fractures the image plane into multiple, discontinuous planes that alternately expand and contract the space that is the real subject of his picture (as opposed to the signposts; the Joshua trees; the Castrol bottle; the box of beer cans and assorted roadside detritus).  Sommer's pictures nod at Cezanne; their irregular bubbles and pockets of space warp, but don't totally deform, the picture plane.  

Google Street View's imperfect synthesis of many simultaneous points of view is intrinsically "collagist" and "cubist."

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