Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Karl Baden: In and Out of the Car

Karl Baden: In and Out of the Car is now on view in the back room at the Howard Yezerski Gallery. These wacky photographs will pull you in and make you think - Which is flatter, a car window or a poster? What makes a camera turn an interior blue, but keeps the outside world true to reality? Come in and see for yourself.
2008 Lexus 350, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
Press Release:
Howard Yezerski Gallery is pleased to announce In and Out of the Car, an exhibition of five of Karl Baden's latest photographs. The series is an exploration of the signs, machines, and illusions of the world seen through his car window. The cockpit of an automobile is at the center of an increasingly complex and responsive sort of cell. The car is a membrane between inside and outside space. Normally static surfaces and textures of the interior compete fiercely for territory with the lumpy chaos of materials that make up life on the other side of the membrane.
Karl Baden, 2008 Lexus 350, Fresh Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
The window is a lens, a safe perimeter that frames and defines the limitless exterior world, flattening and reducing the spaces and places that we inhabit. Windows frame a landscape in continuous motion. People are everywhere, gesticulating, lugging shopping bags, pushing strollers, walking dogs, arguing, embracing; they make microsecond-long appearances in the windows of stores, cafes and other cars before they're sucked behind like exhaust. You drive on. Billboards and trucks cloaked in blinding ads fill your windows like cinemascope, then drop back to let the drama continue.
Karl Baden, 2010 Honda Accord, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010, archival inkjet print, 16" x 20"
Meanwhile, the radio plays, the CD pops out, the phone buzzes, the seat belt sign flashes, the directional blinks, the heat gauge goes up, the gas gauge goes down. The GPS slims down the landscape into information - "in 500 yards, turn left" - only the essential, in a crisp British accent. But just outside your bubble, the world descends. We see so much of the world through our metaphorical car windows - we access knowledge through the internet, and our friends through our iphones. Baden playfully addresses the impact of that glossy frame on our experience of the world around us.

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