Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review in Art Ltd : Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg's exhibition "The Vermont Project" was recently reviewed in Art Ltd magazine's July/August issue.  This documentary photography exhibition was shown at dnj Gallery May 1- 31, 2014.  See below for full review.  For more information or images, please contact us.

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg: “The Vermont Project”
at dnj Gallery

It’s always interesting to see the world through the eyes of others,
especially if they’ve just arrived in a new place. Hence, Pamela
Mayers-Schoenberg’s new body of work “The Vermont Project” needs
to be understood as the perception of a Cincinnati native, for whom
“multi-culturalism” had only been a term and not a daily-lived experience,
before she moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s. Mayers-Schoenberg
started her 18-month-project in fall 1997 with an artist’s grant from the
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs that she received for
her previous project “The Boys.” The show is comprised of 50 blackand-
white photographs taken on Vermont Avenue, one of the longest
north/south streets in Los Angeles, with a length of about 23 miles. It
includes images of Los Feliz, Hollywood, Koreatown, South Central
and Harbor City. However, instead of concentrating on the major attractions
of these neighborhoods, such as the Greek Theater or the
Observatory (where the film “Rebel Without A Cause” with James
Dean was famously shot), Mayers-Schoenberg captured its ordinary
people and their everyday lives, either working, dancing, eating,
strolling, relaxing, or gathering on the streets. Her photos recall the
works of New York scene photographers Vivian Maier and Rebecca
Lebkoff, shot with the sentiment of Diane Arbus, who said that “the
camera is a license to enter the lives of others.” Her subjects are either
presented posing or otherwise engaged; sometimes slightly aware, at
other times completely unaware of the camera.
One image (21) displays a young man with a Kafiya scarf on his head,
who is buying incense from an African-American salesman on the
corner of 3rd Street and Vermont in Hollywood, both looking slightly
towards the camera. Another (43) shows a woman and a man with
sun hats, shot from behind, while she’s reading and he’s studying a
newspaper stand, which tellingly sells a gamut of multi-ethnic
publications, such as La Opinión, The Asia Times, and USA Today.
Image (7) depicts a gray-haired African American woman posing on a
porch swing in South Central, gazing directly into the camera. Although
these people share the same street, there is no sense of just one
community, and it is this striking fact that Mayers-Schoenberg’s project
tries to address. “Through my images, I want to build a collective vision
and create an interaction among the various neighborhoods,” she has
said. With this work, she does just that.

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