Esteeming the Pearls:Luis Gonzalez Palma & Linda Foard Roberts
The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, 2007. Exhibition catalogue.
We have fleeting moments in life when truth speaks to us without words, but in imagery. Art gives us those moments when words are insufficient and imagery alone brings understanding. From this place of luminance, the works of photographers Luis González Palma and Linda Foard Roberts transcend language.
Luis González Palma, born from the magical soil of Guatemala, is one of Latin America’s most significant contemporary photographers. He is known as an earnest keeper of the Mayan soul through his portraits of the indigenous Guatemalan people. His portraits are silver images laden with gold leaf and asphaltum (a dark tar like substance used as a masking device in printmaking) giving each photograph an extraordinary luminescent quality. The Loin Cloths, Palma’s newest works, are fabricated by the artist and hang weightlessly over an empty and dark space. The cloth, although constructed and staged, is reminiscent of the cloth worn by Jésus Cristo. These images offer the viewer much more than the cross, or a man with a crown of thorns: their rare beauty lifts these iconic images beyond the weight of religious dogma. Instead these images give reference to an ancient struggle still alive today: universal sacrifice and resurrection. The stains and wrinkles remind the viewer of the ancient Latino world – strongly reminiscent of its pagan roots – the Mayans, the earth, and the sacrifice of one people by another.
Like Palma, Linda Foard Roberts speaks less of dogmatic and specific absolutes but rather in fleeting revelations. Using only minimal iconography as directional signposts, her images pull from deeper pools of the subconscious. Roberts floats the images up to a surface where meaning is in constant flux, the freshness of youth transforming into age, and birth that one day becomes loss. Here we have symbols of polarities, hanging like a string of pearls, with the esteemed moments of life between them. Her imagery emerges from the fertile southern soil, in the generations of her family and nature, where growth and change are the only constants.
Both artists string together images that create that momentary experience, the temporal symbols that create our lives. The fire, the haunt, the revelations, and the “pearls” of life are presented here as gifts, but also temporal gifts, lasting only for a moment before they slip through your hand.
– Crista Cammaroto, Curator. Esteeming the Pearls: Luis Gonzalez Palma & Linda Foard Roberts. The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, 2007. Exhibition catalogue.