Suture is the culmination of Michael Joo’s ongoing research about Cameron’s Line, the geological rift that straddles from Manhattan and the Bronx, through Ridgefield, Connecticut, and ultimately into Vermont. As in Joo’s recent exhibition at the Aldrich Museum, the artworks on display at the Bronx Museum are site specific and conceived specifically for its lobby space. Joo is interested in alternative ways of looking at and depicting the land, using a vast array of photography and media techniques to match each location’s unique physiognomy.
The work’s imagery depicts geologic features in the Upper Manhattan and Bronx neighborhoods photographed over the past four months. The photographs were digitally repeated and rotated to suggest a Rorschach-like image, and then transferred onto large canvases using a silk-screening process with a solution of silver nitrate—its ensuing mirror effect alluding to the development process in early photography. As such, Suture implies a merging of sculpture and photography, and a blurring of boundaries between media, time, and self.
The images have been organized and screened to form a silver and brown line that records the geologic outcropping and interaction with the urban environment, and taking cues for their forms from sound wave patterns. Furthermore, the resulting light-reflecting, metallic image stands in contrast to the dark traces of the chemical processes involved in making the works. Joo interprets this contrast as a meditation on the transformation, perspectives, and environments that are unique to the Bronx. As a tribute to the Bronx’s unique landscapes and perspectives, Suture expresses an ongoing concern for space and environment and our desire to work with or against them.