Cade Tompkins Projects is pleased to present Victoria Crayhon's exhibition It Says We’re Not Real, an ongoing body of photographs and video entitled Thoughts on Romance from the Road 2001-2017. The images are a series of text interactions with historic and abandoned movie marquee and motel signs conceived while the artist traversed the roadways and interstates of New England, Michigan and other locales during long commutes and trips. These blank slates punctuated the path, causing her to recede into memory and ultimately display fragments of thoughts that might easily disappear but now exist purely as photographs.
The messages can read as intensely personal (In This Case the Closure Has Occurred Maybe), cautionary (Approaching Dangerous Point) or darkly humorous (Oh God I Love My Life), but all address the private self existing in public, as well as exposure to advertising media as entertainment while driving as its own unique form of existence and consumption within American culture. The proof of the performance in photographic evidence, however, is staged and stark, there are no vehicles, no passersby. Ed Ruscha’s intensely colorful paintings come to mind as a parallel of the meeting of the seemingly mundane: gas stations in the desert and flat purple plains overlaid with phrases and fragments that blur the conventions of language and art.
Crayhon’s most recent work in the series further complicates the scenario and enriches the experience. This time she interacts with digital theater signs, transferring her message, filming the playback and photographing it simultaneously. Here, a more complete thought reaches a captive audience in the gallery; the world is not stagnant now, cars whiz and jazz from a nearby club sings in the background.
Crayhon holds an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and an honors degree from New York University, BFA in Photography. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship (2011), the Aaron Siskind Fellowship in Photography (2010 and 2006) and a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Award in New Genres (2007). Her work is held in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, MA, among others.