New York Photo Review
Volume 3 Issue 8 March 7 to 13, 2012

Lost in the Audience
Marshall Weber
Awedience
Ed Barnas
About a Girl’s Egyptian Grammar by Marshall Weber. Source: munchgallery.com
Marshall Weber, "About a Girl’s Egyptian Grammar" 2011

Music audiences today are far from sedate. With the preponderance of camera phones uploading still and video images to social networks, today’s popular music audience is more hyperactive than ever. Often the desire for display and participation makes them an integral part of the show –– and sometimes even more fun to watch than what is happening on stage!

Conceptual artist, activist and educator Marshall Weber seeks to evoke this new level of participation in Awedience, the photo-based installation on view at the Munch Gallery. A few pieces are straightforward photographs, framed in traditional fashion. But while the eleven pieces on display are based on ink-jet photographs of audience members at various music concerts, it is not a traditional photo exhibit.

Presentation is the essence of most pieces: a duet made of a couple’s front and back, the prints mounted back to back on a microphone stand just below eye level. On a short shelf at eye level, a large print of a woman crowd surfing on an air mattress sits, unframed. Several large silhouetted figures are directly mounted on one wall (reminiscent of full figure wheat paste street art or the life-size wallpaper celebrity images once sold for home decorating). These three pieces are separate works comprising four figures, none of which are really looking at the others (or the viewer), each appearing self-involved. Of differing sizes, and shadow less on the white expanse, these figures create an impression of bodies floating at varying distances in space. One, an oversized image of a young woman dancing, is mounted near a vertical pipe, as if referencing a stripper pole. Their lack of visual engagement with each other confers the sense of isolation one can feel when in a crowd. Adding a more sculptural feel to the exhibit are two short, wide cylinders. Raised on cubes to eye level, wrapped in near life-sized photos of the audience, and seamlessly merged together, they give the feeling of being immersed within the crowd.

Life on Mars by Marshall Weber. Source: munchgallery.com
Marshall Weber, "Life on Mars" 2011

This particular music audience is well served by Weber’s style of presentation. Whether it would work as well with other genres is another issue (e.g., the “hardcore” metal subculture documented in black and white in Meghan McInnis’ “Spiritus: our collected breath” at A.I.R. Gallery last year). While the medium may be the message, sometimes the music dictates the medium.

Marshall Weber
Awedience


Munch Gallery
245 Broome St.
Lower Manhattan - East         Map

212 228 1600
munchgallery.com

Thursday, February 16 to
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Hours: Wed-Sat 12 to 8, Sun 12 to 6
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