Earth Engines by Barry Underwood
The Johansson Projects gallery over in Oakland is hosting an exhibition of photographs by Barry Underwood, called Earth Engines.
On the one hand, Underwood’s photos document an obvious artistic intervention into the landscape, in the form of embedded and highly colorful light sources smuggled into unlikely situations; but, on the other, these images imply that Underwood has, in fact, captured a previously unrecorded natural phenomenon, an unidentified electrical presence in the trees. In other words, like some battery-powered variation on “Pickman’s Model” by H.P. Lovecraft, these earth enginescould, under the right circumstances, perhaps even be naturally occurring: glowing piles of uranium, say, or strange new bioluminescent creatures, unknown to science till now.