A VARIENT OF THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
Now on view at the Patchogue-Medford Library is a series of black and white, site-specific photographs by Dan Lachacz. The series of work, collectively titled You Are Here, finds the artist using the exhibition venue as his subject matter, as he alters the space until it no longer looks familiar. The photographs are similar to site-specific installations in which an artist creates a new body of work specifically for a designated exhibition space. The exhibition is the fifth of its kind with the artist previously exhibiting his site-specific photography at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, Islip Art Museum, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, and the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery.
Each composition consists of multiple contrasting points that draw the viewer in as Lachacz juxtaposes light with dark, color with shadow, and space with closure. The distorted images of unreal qualities and obscure angles create a sense of intimacy for the viewer, igniting his or her desire to explore the composition and its many stimulating facets. With his photographs, Lachacz presents the exhibition space from unconventional angles, unique perspectives, and other, unconventional points of view. By distorting the perspective in which the venue is normally perceived, the artist challenges the viewer to re-evaluate his or her surroundings, making the viewer conscious of the space he or she occupies.
The settings of some of Lachacz’s photographs are easier to interpret than others. A passing glance at Site-Specific Photograph #6 reveals that the artist has situated himself within the biographical section of Patchogue-Medford Library. Two towering shelves, filled to the brim with books, recede deep within the compositional space to a point just to the left of the vertical axis. The strong orthogonal lines meet at a point well below the horizontal axis, allowing the stacks of book to loom large, well above the created point of view. On closer observation, the viewer can determine some of the Library’s extensive catalogue of biographies including books on Cy Young, Don Zimmer, and Emile Zola. Like many of Lachacz’s photographs, the work’s intriguing perspective pulls the viewer in, imbuing him or her with the desire to study the finer qualities that are hidden within.
Likewise, Site-Specific Photograph #4 is another photograph where the setting is instantly recognizable at a passing glance. The picture finds the artist situated at the top of a set of stairs, which leads the viewer to the lower level of the library. The photograph is symmetrically balanced with the vanishing point found in the center of the composition. The strong vertical line of the central banister divides the photograph into two equal halves. The work has a triangular motif as the walls close in on either side of the picture plane, which opens up a space that is wider at the bottom of the photograph and narrower at the top. Although the work’s setting is familiar, the point in which it is perceived is unique to the inquisitive mind of the artist.
In other works, however, Lachacz directly challenges the viewer to determine his settings and subject matter. One such example of this can be found in Site-Specific Photograph #5, which renders a section of a carved, wooden sculpture situated against a brick and mortar wall. The work is a stunning array of contrasts between smooth and rough surfaces, lights and shadows, and of curved and rigid shapes. The subject matter appears familiar, but unusual, as the artist has omitted some of its more recognizable features. The artist dares the viewer to be mindful of his or her surroundings, opening his or her eyes to the insignificant features of the exhibition space that have blended into the background.
Dan Lachacz is a fine arts photographer from Patchogue, NY. He is an Assistant Director of New York Contemporary Artists Symposium and Co-President of Criterion Contemporary. He is a 2010 alumnus of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ MARK program and has had his artwork exhibited nationally and internationally by the East End Arts Council in Riverhead, Patchogue Arts Gallery, Islip Art Museum, and the Museum of Satu Mare in Romania.
The Patchogue-Medford Library is a School District Public Library serving the residents of the Patchogue-Medford community. The Patchogue-Medford Library is committed to providing resources and opportunities that empower, educate and entertain the community. The library features 12 monthly exhibitions per year in their lower level lobby that highlight the artwork of local artists and various arts organizations. You Are Here, featuring the photography of Dan Lachacz, is on display at the Patchogue-Medford Library during the month of March 2017.
All images are courtesy of Dan Lachacz
© Dan Lachacz 2017