Martin McKellar | False Expectations

May 18, 2015 – June 29, 2015
Santa Fe College|President’s Hall Gallery
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The President’s Hall Gallery at Santa Fe college is proud to host False Expectations, a photographic exhibition by Martin McKellar. This unique exhibit creates a dialogue between the contemporary experience of the viewer at historical sites, and the highly idealized unpopulated imagery often publicized about these spaces.

McKellar’s exhibit statement below:

False Expectations records visits to four Japanese cultural attractions: the gardens of Ryoanji and Ginkakuji, the temple of Senkakuji and an exhibition of the folding screen “The Pines”. The gardens of Ryoanji and Ginkakuji are located on the grounds of Zen Buddhist temples in Kyoto, temple complexes that are classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Sengakuji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple in Tokyo, is famous for the graves of the 47 Loyal Retainers. “The Pines” is an Important National Treasure. It was painted in the 16th century by Hasegawa Tohaku, and was  displayed January, 2015, at the Tokyo National Museum.

Promotional photos of Ryoanji, the small Japanese rock and gravel garden, often show a tranquil space devoid of people. My first visit to Ryoanji demonstrated a disconnect between the media portrayal and the reality, and I quickly learned first hand that Ryoanji receives 300,000 visitors a year. The narrow viewing platform was crowded with tourists, both foreign and Japanese, and, like me, I have to assume that they all had anticipated the advertised serenity not the uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden reality of a tiny space cramped with people.

Given the popularity of important cultural environments and artifacts in Japan, it is reasonable to expect the contextual environment to include numerous visitors, ongoing maintenance operations, and unrelated activities that make use of the mutually shared space. Images in False Expectations include the contextual environment and posits this as the likely reality for visitors. These images present a startlingly different but accurate picture of the situation.

Please contact the Santa Fe College Gallery office at 352-395-5464 for any questions or concerns.

The sand mound at Ginkaku-ji