Thin Vertigo

by Patrick Callery

When I was in college, one morning, I was sitting on a step in a corridor with my back against a door that led to the roof of the building. My mind was not on anything in particular until I noticed a dot of light on the wall across from me. It was blurry around the edges and nondescript, but, nevertheless, moving, as if alive. It took me a moment to realize that a tiny gap between the door and its frame created a pin-hole lens. What I was seeing was an inverted image of the sky and clouds outside. That moment made an indelible mark on my vocabulary of perception.

The work of Julianne Swartz taps into and harnesses that same ineffable substance of what is around us at every moment. She is in tune with the feeling of revelation when we stumble across the obvious, or better yet, shake our heads to realize, "Oh my God, I guess I always knew that." She presents us with a simple analytic observation using the most understated materials and miraculously uncovers what is already under our noses.

One of the great signifiers of the birth of modernity is the Eiffel Tower. Its function is simply to view the world from really high up - a fixed vantage point of the city. After its creation, the tower not only made the City look different, but was a tool to look at the city differently. It was conceived as a mechanism to enable a viewing experience but with no intention to record it.

To make a macro-to-micro connection, Julianne Swartz's "viewing machines" transform the perspective of a room, the scene outside a window, the mess in a closet into a hazy, uncanny experience.She builds portals that project a reality that is no longer objective, impartial and evidential. A constructed image, like a photograph, but not frozen in time, a fictional and ambiguous event.

In combining her work with Piot Brehmer's, a painting is poetically altered by these quiet, unassuming interventions - adopting a subject, altering its context, but never absorbing its likeness.