MOCA Tucson’s exhibition Miranda Lichtenstein: Sound and Noise will feature a variety of distinct yet wholly intertwined works in photography the artist has produced in the last fifteen years. At the heart of this enterprise is a desire to make art that confronts the intangible: diverse states of mind, feelings, emotions, and thoughts, processed through an ever-shifting medium. This pursuit yields gorgeous, approachable pictures that at the same time display the artist’s complex relationship to their status as representations of the photographically impalpable. This is especially present in her series “The Searchers,” which depicts quests for mental states of utopian sanctuary—unknown, unreal, and utterly desirable—showing human subjects in or on voyages of secular enlightenment. Additional bodies of work depict haunting, barely-there images of singers mid-song, vocalizing with intense passion yet unheard, and a wall-sized print of a tornado siren shot off the television screen, a signal of alarm that causes panic but here is rendered mute. Each uses the act of negation to ask what it means for a visual artist to picture something she can’t see. Additionally, her ongoing collaboration with the artist Josh Blackwell further complicates this question by troubling the clarity of authorship. Her lush, large-scale prints of Blackwell’s abraded plastic bodega bags become defamiliarized stand-ins for the “disposable” culture we inhabit. Rounding out the exhibition are Lichtenstein’s most current explorations called “Grounds,” made of cut and layered accumulations of photo paper. The void we perpetually attempt to fill is alluded to, indicated, and perhaps even shown, while leaving open deeper questions about what we can see and what we think can’t be pictured through the act of photographing.
Didactic & Map
Images by Maya Heilman-Hall