by Sarah Cortes
Photography show at Anthony Greany gallery, 460A Harrison Avenue, South End, Boston, Massachusetts, US, until May 16, 2009. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-6pm and by appointment. 617-482-0055.
Friday night finds us at the hip Anthony Greany Gallery opening reception for Carlin Wing's new show, "Hitting Walls (V.VII)." Located in the ultracool SOWA district (for SOuth of WAshington Street) in the South End of Boston, here in the US, we astonish ourselves by finding parking right across the street. This bodes well for the evening, as any Bostonian knows.
Michaela Larsen's upscale Rocca Restaurant a few doors away and Gaslight, an Alsatisn bistro, on a nearby sidestreet, give a feel for the experience-what could be more fun on a Friday evening?
For the four hundred or so people who filtered in and out of the two rooms, capacity 75, in the SOWA gallery complex between 6 and 10pm, apparently, nothing.
For those who don't live in Galaxy Squash, here's what the artist looks like:
Once inside, along with the wine, cheese, crackers and strawberries on offer, we are struck by the clean, white space and the bold placement of two enormous photographs, 57" x 70", about 6'x7'. To squash enthusiasts, the images are immediately unmistakable as one of the most prestigious and fun events on the circuit, with one of the most coveted titles among the pros, John Nimick's Tournament of Champions. Even non-squash players will recognize the stately proportions of New York's Grand Central Station, captured vividly in Wing's work.
Over and over again throughout the evening, we find our eyes drawn to the photographs and the little details. The distinct silhouettes of certain famous players and spectators, and characters in the insular squash world can be picked out of the crowd. Suddenly, one realizes, the players themselves are invisible on court. Wait a minute, we check the list of works, which clearly states, Willstrop vs. Abbas. The seats are full and the spectators fixated on invisible action apparently taking place between these two famous top ten players on the glass court before them. It's a kind of trompe l'oeil. One keeps looking back.
I had to check my own photos of the event to be sure there actually were players on court during that match. Yup, here's what they looked like by an ordinary photographer (not Wing's work, clearly):
Juxtaposed cleanly with the large photographs on exhibit are smaller ones, almost postcard-sized, and a video, around which visitors tended to cluster, from which emanated the familiar "whack..whack" sound of a squash ball against a wall. Only a former world-class professional squash player like Carlin, Harvard-pedigreed, could successfully capture the intersection of sport, art and event buzz. We can only hope these works find a home here in Boston, rather than, say, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where they would seem, curiously, equally at home.
copyright 2009 Sarah Cortes
You can read Sarah's other tech columns at IT Knowledge Exchange