A recent solo exhibition at The Journal gallery, “National Charter” by Colin Snapp showcases a series of eighteen images, manifested as a subjective interpretation of America’s corporate landscape. Having grown up in rural Washington State, now living and working in Los Angeles, “National Charter” embodies the nostalgic progression of the artist from country to city.
Through the lens of suburban aesthetics, Colin pays attention to materiality as he uproots a logo from its context, shedding light onto its harmonious and arbitrary set of colors and shapes, while detaching it from its original association. The extreme zoom of these images abstracts the object completely, and the viewer notices the essence of the object instead of its meaning — their materiality (and in some cases, the deterioration from weather and the passing of time) comes before the brand associations represented.
The object of study only loses significance momentarily, before it is re-contextualized — as the photographs are shot through the lens of a pair of sunglasses, or a tinted car window. Colin purposely leaves in some scenic clues, such as the framing of leaves, or the shadow of his own thumb, which permits the re-framing of these objects to be placed within his own subjectivity, while staying true to their suburban provenance.
Further, Colin’s choice of scale is very important, as the severe zoom and the isolation of subject puts each of these objects on the same democratic plane. I particularly liked the pairing of E.S Phillips, 2013 and E.S Konica, 2013 — both of these images are of camera brand logos, rendering the pairing a self-conscious one. This democratic re-adjustment of branding strips the object of its original task and puts it back into its place— simple colors and shapes that are often seen by passersbys along a highway, or in this case, in an art gallery.