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.
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.