February 09, 2004
The Eyes Have It: photographer John Goto's digitized galleries kept me happily occupied for hours. There is fascination after fascination here, from the pastoral landscapes portrayed in 'High Summer' to the urban setting of 'Gilt City'.
What a strange combination of styles. The classical landscapes with temples, lakes and shepherds, and the tv commercial images of stores in a mall - but neither type seemed very emotionally charged to me. (Except for the guy hanging by his heels.)
Goto's juxtaposing contemporary elements in 'High Summer' with neoclassical architecture under those troubled northern skies I experience as intensely ominous. Also disturbing is the frozen and often shadowless quality of the living figures, who are dwarfed by both trees and buildings. Many of the trees are dead or dying, many of the architectural features have a ruined air, while the light source(s) on everything is somewhat ambiguous. Just as Goto's more urban work to me seems ominously forboding, and has much the same stark atmosphere of human isolation found in Edward Hopper's 'The Nighthawks'.