We live in the information age, and for each of us that term has a different meaning. There are some who find technology and large flows of information unsettling, intimidating or threatening. And, there are those of us who revel in technology and the vast amount of information that now lies at our fingertips. Such a person may believe that information is a means of freeing ourselves from constraints – social, economic or otherwise. Others believe that information is a basis for getting a grip on our existence, a means of controlling and guiding the seemingly random dance of life. As a committed and accomplished technologist, Emtage rests in the latter camp. Continuously distinguishing aspects of his existence, Emtage examines details and patterns, always researching, synthesizing and sharing his extensive knowledge.
In his first solo exhibition, Emtage seems to be asking the question: “How much is enough information?” and the allied question: “How much is too much information?” The images in Repetition and Recollection reveal moments of his investigations. Some show detailed abstraction, which either yields more information or creates greater mystery, depending on one’s frame of reference. The flat angle, intense saturation and adept framing evident in Un(re)touched, yields a deep unknown as to the subject of the image as well as the degree of technological manipulation employed by the artist.
Not wanting to leave the viewer lost, Emtage uses his titles to provide clues. Each title includes the precise coordinates of the images location, down to the arc second, and the labels locate the place in time that the image was captured to the same degree of accuracy. Does this much information help? Whom does it speak to? How does it impact one’s appreciation of the image?
Other works examine visual alliterations which point to the analysis of shape, form and pattern that the mind engages in when comprehending the world at large. Provincetown Wharf employs an extreme depth of focus to create a shimmering image that challenges the eye to tell where the firm pilings end and the watery reflection begins. What is the line between reality and imagination, the solid and the fluid, and how much does the supplied information help in discerning?
Another area of concern for Emtage involves man’s understanding of his impact on nature and the environment. Some of the images in the exhibition were made in places that the artist documented as part of a mission to experience all the World Heritage sites before they are irredeemably altered. The only two works that include human form in them were made in such places and the figures are elusively small or shadowy, their mark on their surroundings greatly disproportionate to their stature. Go find them.
Sensitive to the human condition, images such as Eularia and Antalya Window capture a melancholy that comprehends the inevitability of change and decay while Junuary proclaims the vivid color of life. This contrast is extended in the selection of images – exotic and mundane, abstract and detailed, large format full bleed and smaller framed – which injects a dynamism into the exhibition. Together, the works invite the viewer to consider one’s frame of reference regarding the world about them and one’s role in structuring a future reality.