In her first exhibition The Burnt at Fort Delta, Zan Wimberley presents a wry meditation on human creation and demise. Over the past fours years her practice has traversed the photographic medium, focusing on still life photography, portraiture and hyper-real photographic works; her exhibitions operating through conceptual and documentary modes. Her new exhibition announces our awareness of dire political and scientific climates synchronized with an increasingly difficult zeitgeist to experience, history telling of such times as ages of endarkenment.
Though, Wimberley pushes our current endarkenment closer to a scenario of end game. Her political stoic for coercive terms such as ‘climate change’ employed by right-wing major powers for over half a century, and her position on the reluctance for accountability or major action from Governments in the wake of irreversible damage upon the earth is the seething here and now for humanity.
Sensitive, scathing and enigmatically luring in a darkened room, the conceptual equations Wimberley’s new works draw out and conclude are poetic as outlets and also operate as traps. Her new large suite of unique black and white photograms feature predominately in the show. Using fire as a medium to summon absolution, the works form images through a difficult and volatile employment of pyrotechnics, rolling flames and flash powder - scorching destruction as factual reality. Forged with risk and chance as unfathomable apparitions of sorcery - appearing hellish, celestial and meditative all at once – they mimic great powers of a destroyed world as ones who play with fire in the dark.
Starkly contrasting these impressions is a range of neon works. Driven by powerful semiotics, which in the context Wimberley has framed them in, take on frightful characteristics as myth-turned-realities. Using neon to communicate messages from the hype-space of the Internet and the dooms-day frenzy she has observed playing out there, Wimberley addresses a linkage between this superfluous and reduced form of spectacle and how it forms a twisted politics of apathy in the actual spaces of ourmworld, which are torn.
Scientific and phenomenological; one elegant, open triangle neon work, it’s axis positioned at 15 degrees, comes to recall the recent movement of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ‘Doomsday Clock’. Kept since 1947, the device was set to record the likelihood of a manmade catastrophe; it’s recent movement to two and a half minutes to midnight extremely alarming to scientists; circulating the Internet with a buzz and disconcerting sense of fodder. Perhaps Wimberley’s most sensitive ploy in The Burnt and for what she articulates to us through her art is also the exhibition’s most diabolical. A neon forming the ‘shrug’ emoticon; born from the stuff of the Internet and possibly nihilism’s definitive contemporary moment is installed at a height of religious piety. Appearing seemingly harmless and resigned, Wimberley’s context reveals it’s devout apathy – one that haunts long, long after you leave it’s presence – to carry deeper subtexts all too incomprehensible and incredibly close.