For her fifth project with the press, Isca Greenfield-Sanders continues her rich dialogue between photography and painting. Her three new prints, Convertible, Pink Mountain, and Tree Tunnel, are all landscapes depicting roads below her signature horizon line. The road is a perfect means to explore her ongoing examination of photography and its relationship to the American mythos. When we engage with themes of the road, we are led to thoughts of the road west, the human drive to move to somewhere better, the promised land, leisure, escape, the past and the future.
It makes me think of Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” and its record-holding time at the top of the music charts. The collective nostalgia for that path or way “home” struck a chord with America. The song samples a piece of a dystopian composition by Trent Reznor titled “34 Ghosts IV,” and its uneasy, dark, and ambient feeling helps me describe a dynamic found in Isca’s work. It’s a tension, a vacillation between our present state of affairs and our collective American longing for some ideal or simple life that never actually existed. Always remaining is the disconnect between the stories we tell and the reality we face.
In the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik wrote, “…Greenfield-Sanders doesn’t pedantically preach on the weight of the ‘mediated’ image on our minds, critique the conspiracy of pleasure in American visual culture, or in any sense satirize the way that we create an imagery with which we enslave ourselves—the slides of the family holiday that never actually took place. Instead, her art critiques our experience by exemplifying it, by analyzing it, by taking a microscope to its nature. These are the emotional qualities that make her work so remarkable.”
Isca’s imagery prompts the viewer to reckon with these cultural narratives and continues to be an invitation, a consistent reminder, necessitating the audience to examine, ever more closely, the distinctions between our mythic perceptions of our own history and the actual truths and challenges that lie ahead on our American road.