My Anonymous Shadow is the intriguing name of an exhibition of work by Dixmix Source, owner and curator of DiXmiX Gallery, that opened on Saturday, January 19th, 2019. On display are 12 images focusing on – as the name implies – the photographer’s shadow, or in some cases the artist’s avatar presented as a shadow; hence the intriguing nature of the exhibition.
It’s an innovative approach to presenting what might be thought of as avatar studies; within each image we see an anonymous figure; a silhouette, sometimes cast by light across a floor or wall, and others, the shadowy outline of a figure expressing emotion or framed within a setting, or abstractly caught in what otherwise be the pages of a graphic novel. But in each and every one of them, the black figure is both the centre of the image, yet (literally) a dark unknown.
With a considered use of colour in some of the images (more blatant in the likes of Shadow 5 and Shadow 7; softer and more refined in the likes of Shadow 9 and Shadow 11), the use of abstract presentation (again, Shadow 9 together with Shadow 3 and its mirror twin, Shadow 12), and carefully composed character studies (such as Shadow 8 and Shadow 10), this is a fascinating series. There is a narrative within each piece, waiting to be told – and that narrative very much depends on how you approach this exhibition.
For example, they might be considered individually, and as they were formed: pieces depicting an actual shadow cast on a surface, or a figure shown in deliberate silhouette. Viewed in this way, the story each image tells tends to be one of composition, balance, tone, capture and presentation; the play of light and dark, the contrast of shadow and object, in which the shadow / silhouette is divorced from association with a person, but is simply a component part of the artist’s use of contrasting elements to complete the whole, even when as expressive as Shadow 8.
But if they are considered as a whole, and within the context of the title, the narrative becomes more involved and branched. On the one hand, they could be taken as imaginings on what our shadows might be doing whilst we are otherwise occupied: out in their own world, exploring, experiencing, searching. On the other, these pieces might be seen as reflections of thoughts and emotions; considerations on identity, place, relationships that are personal to the photographer; yet at the same time, the very anonymity of the figure within each renders them as reflections of moods, events, feels, that we, the observers have experienced and can instantly recall in viewing them.
Thus, My Anonymous Shadow becomes a fascinatingly layered exhibition, one which can be enjoyed purely from the artistic expression each piece presents, and / or for the more narratives and ideas that lie just below the surface – or should I say, within their shadows?
- DiXmiX Gallery (Bay Port, rated: Moderate)