Review Maine Sunday Telegram December 11, 2022 Jorge S. Arango
Floating Urban Worlds
Bernard C. Meyers is a photographer based in Minot who, though Bachelard couldn’t be further from his mind achieves similar effect of altered reality through unconventionally constructed landscapes.
His methodology begins with a picture of a subject, usually architecture or streetscape. Using digital software, Meyers isolates individual elements of each shot and rearranges them, blowing up some into entire fields color, minimizing others, then applying them to the picture plane in ways that distort and/or erase the original image.
The aim, explains the gallery handout is to “rattle the bones of reality”. Meyers is interested in the interstices where photography and abstract expressionism meet. In the same statement, he explains that his goal is to “photograph something not for what it is but for what it can become”.
What these image “become” ends up referencing, intentionally or not, interesting points in art history. An image like”Salt Lake 2183, “for example appears to straddle European Neoclassical Architecture and the work of Dutch master graphic artist M.C. Escher. Close scrutiny of its visual content indicates the original image might have been of a jewelry store, perhaps Tiffany & Co.
The proportions of its elliptical staircase as well as a copper mansard and brick walkway all indicate neoclassicism. So does the way Meyers composes the image, which looks almost like an architectural rendering. But like Escher, the perspectives are multiple, skewing any logical understanding of it. What’s foreground and background? Up or Down? Inside or out?
The issue of perspective also harks back, in certain images, to 11th century Chinese painting, where landscapes actually contained multiple views— one from above, one from below, one straight on—in a single image. The impressions that these landscapes are floating in indeterminate space.
The floating quality is most apparent in “hong Kong 7714bc”. A scaffolded architecture seems to levitate in the middle of the picture within a cacophony of fuming colors—red, yellow, turquoise. Rather than an ethereal landscape of mountains and trees and waterfalls drifting among the clouds, this feels like a dense urban landscape suspended within the frenetic energy of the city. “Chicago 192,” “Hong Kong 8583a” “Salt Lake 1847” and others seem to transmit this quality, mainly what looks like elements that Meyers has manipulated to telegraph a sense of shifting blurriness or vapor.
Others such as “Boston 4272a” or “New York, Midtown Madness” seem fractured through a Cubist lens. Or they can appear like a Kurt Schwitters collage, as in “Hong Kong7596ac and “Miami 7383”.
Whether one makes these associations or not is irrelevant. The mesmerizing aspect is the way our mind tries to decipher the clash of colors and forms pulled out of any representational context—obviously a chief objective of abstract expressionism.
Interview with Geneyclee Gallery in Hong Kong https://www.geneycleegallery.com/post/bernard-meyers-q-a
Interview from the Solo exhibition at University Gallery Rochester Institute of Technology
This interview is from march of 2020. Regent Street a wonderful organization promoting Salt Lake City Arts