Erlea Maneros Zabala's "Past Work" exhibition features… (Jeff McLane / Redling Fine…)
Since everything in it dates from 2008 or earlier, Erlea Maneros Zabala’s exhibition at Redling Fine Art is aptly titled “Past Work.” Contrasting with knee-jerk presentations of “New Work,” the title is also a reflection of the artist’s interest in fading technologies.
The centerpiece of the show is a wall of large photocopies, enlargements of the blown-out, black and white images produced by microfilm machines. Remember microfilm? Now largely obsolete, it has been used to preserve newspapers and other documents for more than a century. Many of these sources are now archived online instead.
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On the cusp of this transition, Zabala took microfilm images of Los Angeles Times pages and stripped them of everything that appeared in the online version. What was left is a grid of black rectangles, punctuated by ghostly, disconnected images.
These pictures speak to the impoverishment of online experience, but are also castoffs of a new information age. Zabala’s austere works are too taciturn to be sentimental — but they do feel like snapshots of a moment of loss.
Other works highlight the apparatus of the microfilm reader itself: empty screens full of scuffs and scratches from years of sliding and scraping. These images are ghostly too, impressions of a mechanical precursor to our disembodied electronic scrolling. Yet lest we get nostalgic, on the opposite wall are photos Zabala snapped off a computer monitor. They bear a different kind of evidence: dust on the screen, and the uniquely digital texture of pixelation. They already seem quaint.
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Redling Fine Art, 6757 Santa Monica Blvd., (323) 230-7415, through April 27. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.redlingfineart.com
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