Laura Gail Tyler’s solo show at the Nicole Fiacco Gallery this month features photographs from her “Houses” and “Castles” series. Tyler builds models of familiar architectural structures with unconventional materials. Gingerbread houses lean and buckle like old barns. Sandcastles crumble, paper towers burn, and pumpkin apartment communities bruise and rot.
The images are devastating, but merely recreations of what’s on TV daily: fires, floods, decay. “If you just watch the news, it’s what news imagery centers on, these tragedies,” says Tyler, whose television is tuned to CNN around-the-clock in her Tivoli home.
Tyler studied photography and sculpture as an undergraduate student at Bard College. Even then she incorporated architecture into her work, sculpting windows, walls, and other structural details. “I try to pick simple motifs so that gives them a long life-span,” said Tyler. “There is a lot of potential within each sort of architectural type that I choose to work on.” In “Houses” and “Castles” Tyler combines the two disciplines to create lasting images of impermanent work.
Tyler constructs small-scale structures, carts them outdoors, and stages them against simple, continuous backgrounds: water, snow, and sand. Tyler then destroys her work, setting them ablaze, waiting for the tide, letting nature take its course and photographing the breakdown process. The images capture the ramparts, slanted roofs, and walls where now playing cards float, pumpkin parts lay limp and dripping, and piles of sand and ash catch wind.
“Laura Gail Tyler: Photographs,” will be exhibited November 3 through December 17 at the Nicole Fiacco Gallery. An opening reception will be held on November 3, from 6 to 8pm. Nicole Fiacco Gallery, Hudson. (518) 828-5090;www.modogallery.com.