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It is rare for a city to feel intimate, but Venice does. With waterways lacing around ancient buildings, palazzos and piazzas that bustle with modern life, it is a magical city of contrasts. Photographer Sarah Hadley finds its staccato pulse and languid intimacy in Lost Venice, her solo exhibit on view at the Griffin Museum satellite gallery in Boston’s SoWa Arts District through May 2nd, 2017.
Hadley embraces the paradoxes of Venice with images that float in morning fog and shimmer with reflections off its inky waters at night. Sharp focal points are poised within blurred surroundings and dark, vignetted edges, imbuing her photographs with a sense of both yearning and foreboding. The way in which she suggests the motion of boats, birds, and water lunges the viewer into scenes that feel personal and yet remain ambiguous. Hadley’s choice of small 5”x 8” prints further entreats our private contemplations.
The narrow streets and intertwining canals of Venice nestle a dense population that sustains its vibrant modern economy. But it is famously built on a crumbling infrastructure that threatens its survival. Hadley’s lengthy history with the city, coupled with the premature loss of the father who introduced her to Venice, has allowed her to harness the city’s tenuous condition with subtle intensity. Hadley’s dreamy, ethereal images in Lost Venice shiver with transience and emanate longing.
Hadley has captured the dichotomies of vitality and frailty, charm and grime in her elegant photographs. Her compositions imply motion, yet whisper with stillness. Hadley first used a Holga toy camera and later mimicked its vintage effects to evoke memories of love and bereavement. Poignant details like the encrusted face of a youthful sculpture and figures veiled by fog or night allude to the passage of time and melancholy of loss. In her eerily romantic images of Lost Venice, Hadley summons the mysteries of life.
For directions, hours and more information about this show, go to: http://griffinmuseum.org/show/lost-venice/
Feature Image: From the series Lost Venice by Sarah Hadley (courtesy of the artist).